NEW DELHI: India and Denmark announced the Green Strategic Partnership last year following the virtual summit between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Danish counterpart Mette Frederiksen.
Following the summit, a joint statement issued listed out the core sectors of cooperation in the Green Strategic Partnership and also mandated an Action Work Plan to be worked out for the next five years.
In accordance with the decisions, the Danish Embassy has stationed four sector experts in the capital to liaise with the Indian authorities and give shape to the Green Strategic Partnership.
Experts in the four core sectors - urbanization, water, energy and IPR - speak about how the partnership can be taken forward in their domains and how it would be beneficial for the two countries.
India and Denmark have an existing cooperation on Sustainable Urban Development in the form of city-to-city partnership between Aarhus and Udaipur, Aalborg and Tumakuru and an Urban Living Lab in Goa. Sector expert Anitha Kumari Sharma said that it is important to understand how smart cities are defined. "In an Indian context, the word smart cities is different compared to other countries like Denmark where infrastructure development has taken place for the past 50 years.
Sharma said that planning and integrated approach is an important part of Sustainable Urban Development. "Planning and integrated approach is very important and is missing here in India. What is happening in India now had happened in Denmark in 70s and 80s," she said. In the recent years, the effect of climate changes showed that putting concrete everywhere is not a sustainable way of urban development. Sustainable Urban Development involves taking into account all stakeholders including the natural surroundings. Nature-based solutions as a part of sustainable urban development is evolving. Sustainable Urban Development also requires that the future climate change effects are taken into account in the design, because the infrastructure has to sustain in future too. She added that the operational and maintenance costs along with the capital expenditure must be taken into account when selecting the best available technology.
The best available technology depends on many factors and It can't always happen that Danish technology is picked up and be put to use in India and vice-versa. She sees the Green Strategic Partnership as an ideal framework, where skills, scale, scope and speed along with planning are key in co-creating solutions for sustainable urban development and looking forward to the collaboration.
Denmark is known for its offshore wind energy and its expertise, as a part of the Green Strategic Partnership, is being used to support India make a roadmap for offshore wind projects.
"India and Denmark have good relations on energy. There are a couple of government-to-government programmes in progress for the next five years. The Danish DEA, MOP and MNRE in India are collaborating on the projects. Work plans and joint working groups are also in place," sector expert Michael Pedersen said.
"Regarding the area of offshore wind it is about sharing knowledge about maritime planning, tendering and everything in between. A virtual centre of excellence on offshore wind is one of the aims. Danish experts are supporting India to make a roadmap for offshore wind project. The economy of offshore wind is also very important. It is more expensive than solar energy. A financial model has been developed together with the Indian partners in order to support their decision process as regards to offshore wind. There needs to be an energy mix. We have zoomed in on two places - Gujarat and Tamil Nadu - to start the project," he said.
Pedersen said that energy planning and integration is important. "We are developing planning tools to simulate the energy system in India and using data and feeding it into the simulation tools to see results. In Denmark we have managed to integrate a lot of wind energy into system without any outage. INDEP will go on till 2024. This summer, a energy technology catalogue is being published. A workshop will be held for the same too," he said.
On the challenges that may be encountered, Pedersen said that one of the main challenges is to convince people that it is feasible and doable in India and also that it would be advantageous. "Setting up plants would create jobs and be good for the economy. In Denmark, 1 GW of power creates 14000 jobs. The number would probably be larger in India. Also relaying the power in a big country like India would be a challenge. A draft action plan has been submitted to the Indian officials. We are hoping to finalize it together shortly," he said.
IPR is another sector where the Green Strategic Partnership will look to develop ties between the two countries. Sector expert Trine Bargsteen said that it was important to understand the relation between IPR and innovation. "This aspect in GSP is important due to the focus on innovation. Denmark is most the innovative countries in the world. It has an advanced and well applied IPR system. When any new product is developed, protecting it in a way it is marketable is important. This is the essence of IPR. It is relevant to GSP. India as an economy, majority of production is agricultural. The government's approach to modernizing is through technical development. This is closely linked to GSP. Another important aspect is the IPRs role in FDI and new technology," she said.
Water, a core sector of the partnership, according to sector expert Simon Apelblat Thomsen is the new wind and plays a crucial role in the GSP along with energy. "Water for both India and Denmark is and will be a priority. Denmark is known for its wind energy and now we can say water is the new wind. We are trying to building on the work done on the water sector through the 1980s," he said.
According to Thomsen, it is clear that there is a need to work on water given the scarcity. Focusing on water and sustainable use of water resources and efficient distribution is key. Grey water and waste water management is effectively implemented. The cycle is duly followed.
"The work plan, which the prime ministers spoke about, looks at framework conditions, policies and implementation strategies to get the Jal Jeevan mission implemented through knowhow of Denmark's experts. We are jointly trying to create solutions for efficient approaches for the mission and also reaching the UN's SDG 6," he said.