AN EXPERT in conflict management has visited India as part of plans to develop cities in the country and help get people out of poverty.
Former army officer Felix Spender, of North Light Solutions, based in Bristol and Bath, met with politicians, university representatives and other business owners at the Innovation India conference in Mumbai.
The event, run by the British Chamber of Commerce in Denmark (BCCD), looked at the issue of ‘Smart Cities’ – creating cities with better facilities, which are able to provide their own water and power.
Felix, 57, who has worked on peace keeping missions with NATO in Kosovo and Iraq and is now resolving conflict in businesses and organisations, said: “If I can play a small part in helping to improve people’s lives through my involvement with smart cities, then that would be fantastic.”
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has promised to build 100 smart cities – with the first set to start in the state of Andhra Pradesh, on the south eastern coast of the country.
It includes plans for Amaravati, the new state capital being built from scratch.
Felix, from Warminster, was joined at the event by a delegation from Denmark and the Chief Minister of the state of Andhra Pradesh, Naru Chandrababu Naidu.
The married-father-of-two, who has an office in Colston Office Centre, was selected for his reputation for getting results with integrity.
He said: “I was surprised and delighted to be invited to such a momentous occasion. It is an amazing opportunity to play a role in creating a new city.
“India is a fascinating, colourful place with huge ambition But there is still a large gap between rich and poor. Smart cities will hopefully help to bridge this.”
"India wants to be a world leader in the 21stcentury and we are delighted to be able to support them."
Felix Spender, of North Light Solutions
The plan for smart cities looks at a range of approaches – technologies, urban planning, public-private partnership and policy change. Underlying this is a smart approach to people - starting during the planning stages.
Felix, who served in the army for over 30 years and is an accredited mediator, is set to help manage conflict during the ambitious work.
He said: “These are major projects and there will inevitably be disputes, be it internally or from stake-holders. North Light’s role would be to assist the project teams deal with conflict quickly and fairly, enabling work to continue.
“Constructive conflict management increases the probability of a project’s success and reduces cost. It’s about putting people at the centre of the solution to create a win-win for all involved.”
India is now one of the fastest growing large economies in the world.
Felix, who has also worked as a consultant for a global risk and investigation service, said: “It’s an exciting time, though not without its challenges. The hope is that smart cities will be environmentally friendly and improve the lives of people in that area.
“Technology driven by renewable energy will be available in these cities from the outset, as will clean drinking water and effective waste to energy management.
“India wants to be a world leader in the 21st century and we are delighted to be able to support them”.
For more information, visit northlightsolutions.com
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