ECONOMIC RECOVERY | Latin America
LATIN AMERICAN CITIES’ EXPERIENCES WITH GREEN ECONOMIC RECOVERY BECOME CASE STUDIES
DIÁLOGOS brought together authorities and experts who envision solutions to the crisis generated by the COVID19 pandemic based on plans that also take climate into consideration.
The German Embassy and Instituto Clima e Sociedade (ICS), with the support of C40, Instituto Alziras and Fundación Avina, promoted on Monday, August 10, a new edition of its series Sustainable Future Dialogues - Climate Change and Economic Recovery. The event counted with Lucía Sosa, mayor of Esmeraldas (Ecuador); Carolina Leitao, mayor of Peñalolén (Chile); Teresa Surita, mayor of Boa Vista (Roraima), and Ilan Cuperstein, C40 Deputy Director for Latin America (C40 Large Cities Climate Leadership Group.)
"We must change our 'development route,' that is, rethink the pillars on which the economy of Latin American countries is based."
Deputy Director for Latin America, C40
In the international panel, the discussion revolved around challenges faced by cities in the environmental area and proposals for post-pandemic green economic recovery, without neglecting urban mobility and functionality for citizens.
Ilan explained that investment in urban mobility is essential. According to data presented in the latest C40 report, CO2 emissions dropped during the pandemic, the greatest drop recorded since World War II. “But this number must not be celebrated, after all, it was only due to the economic downturn in cities and countries. In other words, now we must understand how to resume our path of economic development without causing further damage to the environment.” And he adds, "It is important to guarantee support from national and regional governments, besides working together with international institutions, so that cities and city governments can tap funds for the projects proposed in their green economic recovery agenda."
“Here, we are bringing about a change in the city’s mindset by working on the issue of technology and taking innovation to our schools. Technology is essential for us to connect with the world and within Brazil itself."
Mayor of Boa Vista, Roraima
The seminar was based on best practices in sustainable policies, such as the city of Boa Vista, in Roraima, which has implemented a 40km bicycle lane, in addition to solar panels in strategic points throughout the city.
Surita delivered some results of prioritizing mobility in urban planning. “All regions are interconnected. With that, we improved quality of life, as well as culture in the city. We saw a 33% reduction in the number of traffic accidents involving cyclists. Along with the bicycle lane, we built 350km of urbanized sidewalks, with trees and green areas,” adds the mayor. According to her, 40km of bicycle lanes were built, rendering Boa Vista the sixth capital of the country with more bicycle lanes per inhabitant.
As for Mayor Carolina Leitao, from Peñalolén, Chile, she presented education-based proposals to bring about economic and sustainable recovery.
“Encouraging local services, speeding up national patents, boosting entrepreneurship and stimulating green businesses are important points in the economy to generate local wealth. With that, we are planning to implement capacity building through courses, specializations and digital literacy in order to start a new wave of jobs in this new environment.”
Mayor of Peñalolén, Chile
The example of Esmeraldas, in Ecuador, began with actions to encourage local businesses and to create a smart city.
“Here in Esmeraldas, we were working on developing green economy plans, and with the arrival of the pandemic we were forced to restructure them. We are a tourism-oriented province and we were greatly impacted. So, we began to look at our local strengths," said Mayor Lucía Sosa. "We decided to elaborate a climate change plan which is being implemented in our green agenda, without neglecting mobility and the functionality of a smart city, which is what we want for our population.”
Mayor of Esmeraldas, Ecuador
The event promoted a comparative reflection of initiatives that are being adopted in Latin American cities and in Brazil, in an attempt to ensure consistency between recovery measures and the fulfillment of the climate objectives.
"It is extremely relevant for countries in Latin America to commit to recovery packages that take the climate agenda into account, but, actually, it is at the local level that many of the implementation challenges are present. For this reason, it is essential that mayors participate in these discussions effectively, so that they can influence plans and propose possible solutions to be carried out and which may effectively improve the quality of life of the population"
Executive Director Instituto Clima e Sociedade
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