With the participation of over 20 national and international presenters, the “Towards circular cities in Latin America and the Caribbean” event was held at the ECLAC headquarters in Santiago. It was the first meeting for reflection organized within the framework of the Circular Cities Declaration of Latin America and the Caribbean, where participants debated the shortcomings of the current urban model and the opportunity offered by circular economy to holistically rethink challenges and accelerate the transition towards safer and more inclusive, resilient, and sustainable cities.
To date, the city governments of Bogota, Buenos Aires, Mexico City, Curridabat, Port-of-Prince, Puerto España, Santiago, and Sao Paulo have adhered to the Declaration. The objective for 2022 is to solidify different task forces in each signatory city and simultaneously perform an analysis of the current situation in terms of circular economy and the potential sectors to be developed, define the regulatory frameworks for the development of new commercial models, define impact metrics, and accelerate the application of circularity principles in urban planning.
“This is a public-private collaboration. ECLAC has always said that the private sector plays a crucial role in development. The State guides, directs, determines guidelines (...) Today's event is a very important milestone for us that reflects the centrality of association,” says Mario Cimoli, Interim Executive Secretary for ECLAC during his presentation.
The Circular Cities Declaration of Latin America and the Caribbean was introduced in October 2021 in the framework of the 10th Italy - Latin America - Caribbean Conference in Rome, promoted by the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, with the support of the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC), the Organizzazione Internazionale Italo-Latino Americana (IILA), and Enel, for the purpose of inviting representatives of cities around the region to adhere to a series of joint commitments to promote and accelerate the transition of cities to greater circularity along with public-private cooperation.
“Defining clear objectives and periodically measuring progress is a key element for carrying out a transition strategy towards a circular model. This is a fairly new topic that we want to continue to strengthen and develop, and which Latin America and the Caribbean have the chance to lead,” explains Maurizio Bezzeccheri, Enel Director for Latin America.
The event included the participation of the Minister of Housing and Urban Planning, Carlos Montes, the Minister of Transport and Telecommunications, Juan Carlos Muñoz, the Minister of Energy, Claudio Huepe, and governor of the Metropolitan Region, Claudio Orrego, as well as representatives of the Italian and UK government, the Region of Lombardía (Italy), cities such as Buenos Aires (Argentina), Bogota (Colombia), and Angra do Reis (Brazil), international organizations including ECLAC, IBD, and the UN, as well as ARUP and Enel, contributing experiences and proposals to move towards the fulfillment of the Declaration objectives.
“It is an enormous task that requires collaboration among governments, international organizations, the public and private sectors, at the regulatory and technological level. And this task extends beyond communication, requiring an increasing level of citizen awareness. To advance along the path of sustainability, we need to create adequate regulatory frameworks, standards, incentives for virtuous investments, and effective organization models at the local level,” adds Mauro Battocchi, Italian ambassador to Chile.
This initiative is inspired by a similar project launched two years ago in Europe for the purpose of accelerating the transition to circularity in cities by defining a shared vision, collaboration, and the development of synergies, where public-private alliances play a key role.
Within this framework, Enel, as the largest private energy company in Latin America, has ratified its commitment to the principles promoted by the Circular Cities Declaration of Latin America and the Caribbean, in line with the company's mission to promote sustainable development in the region through the decarbonization of its energy matrix and contribute to the electrification of energy consumption to replace fossil fuels.
See the full event here 👇🏼