Two delegates from the Italian city of Messina visited Kochi, a port city on the southwest coast of India, from the 24th to 27th of May 2022. Accompanied by Dr Panagiotis Karamanos, Country Coordinator India, IURC Asia & Australasia, the delegation included:
- Mr Dino Alessi, Coordinator, URBACT III Program Projects
- Ms Beatrice Briguglio, International Project Expert
Guided by Dr Rajan Chedambath, Director, and Ms Simmi S from the Centre for Heritage Environment and Development, Kochi Municipal Corporation, the delegation’s 1st meeting was with the Hon. Mayor of Kochi Municipal Corporation, Mr Anil Kumar, the standing committee of Kochi Municipal Corporation and its technical staff. At this meeting, the formal signing of the letter of intent took place, after which the delegation from Messina shared about their best practices on flood management including use of sensors, opening of canals and public awareness. The delegation had a range of meetings during these four days including those with:
• The Irrigation Department of the state of Kerala, where a presentation on the flood situation, tidal effect and climate change scenario of Kochi was presented;
• The Greater Cochin Development Authority, where they presented their success stories;
• Cochin Smart Mission Limited, where the design and operation of the Integrated Command and Control Communication Centre and its effective handling of COVID 19 challenges with regards to mobility were shared;
• The Department of Atmospheric Sciences of the Cochin University of Science and Technology, where they shared about their technology for weather forecasting, which is helping save lives, safeguard property and protect the city from the impacts of climate change;
• Hybrid meeting between the Cochin Port Trust and the Port Systems Authority of the Strait of Messina, where potential areas of best practices were exchanged.
A site visit to a flood prone area in Kochi was conducted and the core team also brainstormed on the finalisation of the urban cooperation action plan and the way forward. The following steps were recommended:
• Investigate with the University of Science & Technology, Dept. of Atmospheric Sciences, the availability of specific geographical, hydrological and digital data in order to determine the possibility of implementing a pilot project on flood management visualisation in cooperation with Hafen City University within the Toolkit for Open and Sustainable City Analysis and Planning (TOSCA) platform.
• Messina to investigate interest from academic institutions in the city to contribute/participate in this initiative. If that is not possible to consider the possibility of developing a concept or best practices regarding canals and lakes or early warning system based on sensors.
• In parallel, to facilitate the exchange information between the port authorities of the two cities regarding port activities and to bring into contact a private RoRo ferry operator from Messina with the port authority of Kochi to share information about RoRo operations.
Considering the strong interest in the cooperation within the IURC programme by Kochi Municipal Corporation and the various government organisations and academic institutions who have a role to play in flood management, this exchange visit brought in a much more global level knowledge and will be valuable towards the city’s efforts in flood management.
- Image 1 – Kochi and Messina join hands
- Image 2 – Kochi and Italian city of Messina cooperate on flood management sector: Letter of Intent signed
- Image 3 (The Hindu – 27th May 2022) – Also available on https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/kochi-corporation-signs-mou-with-messina-in-italy/article65464283.ece
- Image 4 – Agreement by Kochi Municipal Corporation to cooperate with European Union