Established in 1974 as a focal point for environmental research in Japan, the National Institute for Environmental Studies (NIES) strives to contribute to society through research that fosters and protects a healthy environment for the present and future generations.

In recent times, NIES is looking to set benchmarks for future climate change mitigation and adaptation actions while assessing the urban sustainability indexes in several Asian cities. As a starting point, NIES initiated two studies in December 2012, both of which were awarded to AIT through Dr. Shobhakar Dhakal, Associate Professor, School of Environment, Resources and Development and the efforts of AIT Consulting.

The first study will analyze the existing plans and actions on urban climate change in Asia, in order to compare actions, identify gaps, and set benchmarks for future actions. It is essential to identify whether plans and actions addressing climate change exist in Asian cities and determine why such plans are not compulsory or fail to be implemented. Urban areas account for close to 70% of global energy related CO2 emission leaving the urban population at risk to the impacts of the climatic change be it at coastal, arid, and other vulnerable zones.

The second study will focus on developing a conceptual framework and related approaches to assess the urban sustainability indicators and index in relation to the carbon compatible urban development. The study is essential for comparing and analyzing the path towards climate compatible urban development, as many urban decision makers in recent years are looking for ways to address climate in urban development planning holistically to reduce the climate risks.