World Bank team meets Kerala CM; expresses interest in state's carbon neutral initiatives

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Pinarayi Vijayan | Photo: PTI

Thiruvananthapuram: A World Bank team, led by Vice President for South Asia Region Martin Raiser, held discussions with Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan and expressed interest in projects that the state plans to implement to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050.

After the meeting, Raiser said Kerala was urbanising rapidly, and this will create more challenges in the future due to the rising level of carbon emissions, particularly from the transport sector.

"So, one of the areas in which Kerala wants to make further progress is to green its transport system," Raiser told PTI.

He said the state should tap renewable energy resources to meet its energy needs.

"It has a lot of potential for solar," the World Bank official said.

Raiser said during his meeting with the chief minister and some of his Cabinet colleagues, he emphasised the need for implementing e-mobility by adopting electric and fuel cell-based electric vehicles for developing a green eco-system in the state.

He, however, admitted that it was not an easy task.

Speaking about his team's meeting with Vijayan, the official said it was a "positive" one as the projects that the World Bank has undertaken in Kerala were being implemented well.

"I didn't have any major concerns to raise with the chief minister," he said.

Raiser said the World Bank's 'Resilient Kerala Programme' to support the state's preparedness against natural disasters, climate change impacts, disease outbreaks, and pandemics was progressing well.

"It clears a number of areas, including the development of forecasting models and translating those into local planning instruments to make sure that local communities can make use of the scientific information to reduce the risk exposure that they face," he said.

He expressed happiness over the progress the state has made in dealing with zoonotic diseases like Nipah.

"I am happy to tell you that Kerala is the most advanced state in India in terms of trying to really create a cross-sectoral local surveillance infrastructure so that new diseases when they arrive, can be very quickly detected," Raiser said.

The World Bank team also discussed with the chief minister the project under preparation to look at the impact that climate change has on agriculture production, and how farmers can adopt more climate-resilient agricultural practices while at the same time, use such opportunities to increase productivity and, as a result, create more jobs in the agribusiness sector.

According to Raiser, the ageing population is going to be one of the major concerns of the state's health sector.

"The population rate in Kerala is very low. The fertility rate is very low. It has a good health system. But the health system needs to adjust to the fact that people are getting older. This is something we talked about," he said.

Meanwhile, the Chief Minister's Office said the World Bank representatives expressed interest in the various projects that Kerala plans to implement to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050.

"In the meeting held today with the chief minister, the representatives of the World Bank assured that there will be possibilities of cooperation in various projects that Kerala intends to implement with a long-term vision", a CMO statement said.

It said the World Bank has expressed interest in six priority projects, including power generation through floating solar power plants, green hydrogen valleys at Kochi and Vizhinjam and a green hydrogen production-consumption-export centre at Kochi.

The team was in Kerala for the last three days to review various development programmes being implemented in the state as part of the 'Rebuild Kerala' initiative.


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