The EU-led Covenant of Mayors for Climate and Energy, with over 7,000 member cities from all over the world, will be expanding to India starting from 2017, a statement said.

This network of cities is one of the largest, with 7,100 member cities from all over the world, and most effective network for climate action with 23 per cent reduction of Green House Gas emissions by the signatories' cities. The Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate and Energy brings together the EU-led Covenants of Mayors and the UN Compact of Mayors initiatives for the largest and first-of-its-kind coalition of cities committed to fighting climate change, a European Union statement said.

The Covenant of Mayors Regional office for India will add to the already existing regional Covenant Offices in Europe, Mediterranean and Sub-Saharan Africa, as well as the further Regional Covenants offices which will be opening for Latin America and the Caribbean, East/South-East Asia and Japan, through the International Urban Cooperation Programme (IUC), recently launched by the European Union.

India's mega-cities (Delhi ; Mumbai, Kolkata, Bangalore, Chennai, and Hyderabad), and major cities are witnessing the fastest rates of urbanisation in the world. With fast growing suburbs and high population density, cities face challenges to enable residential and commercial development, adequate infrastructure services and sufficient connectivity. Furthermore, around 17.4 per cent of households in urban India live in a slum (2011 Census).

The European Union-funded International Urban Cooperation Programme aims at strengthening the EU-India policy dialogue on sustainable urban development and climate actions through cooperation between European and Indian cities. 

The IUC programme will coordinate and cooperate with other cities networks (C40, UCLG, ICLEI) and relevant Government led initiatives currently operating in the country, such as the AMRUT Mission as well as the 100 Smart Cities Mission, it said.