"Mega City Like Karachi Requires Whole-of-Society Approach", states Commissioner Karachi at IBA's Karachi Urban Resilience Roundtable Karachi

July 07, 2022: The Institute of Business Administration (IBA) Karachi in collaboration with K-Electric hosted the 'Karachi Urban Resilience Roundtable' discussion. The aim of the discussion was to encourage various perspectives from all relevant stakeholders, about the root causes of the city's challenges and recognize fruitful areas of collaborative interventions. The focus was to dive deeper into the academic and intellectual perspectives on the challenges to design real time solutions.

Dr. Nausheen Anwar, Director, Karachi Urban Lab (KUL), IBA Karachi welcomed everyone to the event followed by the keynote speech by Commissioner Karachi, Mr. Muhammad Iqbal Memon. His speech focused on the major urban challenges of Karachi as the population of the city continues to grow diminishing the green cover of the city. He emphasized on the need for a transformation of the way public places are designed and planned. Acknowledging the need for collaboration between stakeholders, he stated, "As a society, we need to change. We are shouldering a responsibility to work together. Let's hope a change can be made that can benefit our future generations." He suggested that plans for climate resilient infrastructure for the city would be the key for future success.

Ms. Noor Afshan, Head of Marketing, K-Electric debuted a book that captured the state of Karachi's infrastructure and challenges presented by the surrounding urban environment, to highlight the duality of megacities like the Karachi of today, and the Karachi we would like to see.

The first panel of the discussion focused on the challenges surrounding the mega city. Despite ranking amongst the top 10 most populous cities in the world, Karachi is ranked as the fifth least livable city in the world on the 2019 Global Livability Index. The panel on Karachi Urban Resilience Challenges was moderated by Mr. Farhan Anwar, Urban Planner, Assistant Professor of Practice, Habib University and consisted of the following panelists: Syed Jawad Muzaffar, Additional Commissioner Karachi; Ms. Naz Khan, Chief Strategy Officer, K-Electric; Ms. Ammara Durrani, Chief Development Policy Unit, UNDP; and Syed Salahuddin, Project Director, The Karachi Water Supply & Sewerage Services Improvement Project (KWSSIP).

KE's Chief Strategy Officer spoke at length about the utility's vision to incorporate renewable energy for Karachi, sharing that KE intends to add 1,100 MW of electricity from solar and wind sources by 2030. "Karachi is important to all of us, and as a coastal city it has more pressing issues. Urban flooding is a major challenge to provision of all utility services - in the last year, KE has spent over PKR 1.5 billion to protect our infrastructure against rising water levels. We are also increasingly evaluating the impact of climate change when we are planning our demand and supply outlooks. Higher temperatures, rapid changes to the weather, all of these have a major impact on the ability of utilities to serve their consumers effectively." "Physical space is of utmost importance and so is planning. Planning is about the future. Plans that are made for the citizens should provide them with opportunities to make a better living" stated Dr. Noman Ahmed, Professor and Dean, Faculty of Architecture and Management Sciences, NED University, who moderated the second panel discussion "Future of Karachi 's Urban Development- 2030". This panel consisted of Mr. Asif Siddiqui, Project Director, Click Project (Competitive and Livable city of Karachi); Dr. Nausheen Anwar, Director, KUL; and Ms. Mahim Maher, Editor for digital, Aaj News. Ms. Maher also highlighted the issue of electrocution due to the heavy rains in the city lamenting the loss of life due to lack of poor and inadequate infrastructure available to cope up with the heavy monsoon rains. The panel stressed on the need for collaboration between multiple stakeholders to remove the pressure from the already weak and poor infrastructure and services available to the residents.

Karachi's urban resilience, infrastructure and services management require coordinated master planning, disaster management capacity building and collective ownership. Rethinking of city's governance is crucial to mitigate the urban challenges faced by the residents of Karachi and to create sustainable cities for the future. Discussions like these add valuable insights from local government representatives, experts from academia and urban planners in designing proposals and recommendations that can build solutions towards a sustainable and resilient Karachi.