Chilean cities tackle Climate Change

International Forum

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On April 19, representatives of municipalities of Chile, Colombia, Brazil and Mexico, politicians and specialists, met in Santiago de Chile to discuss about the challenges related to cities and climate change.

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Intendente de la Región Metropolitana, Cluadio Orrego, en panel "Cambio climático y calidad de vida: desafíos locales y desarrollo de políticas"

Mayor of the Metropolitan Region, Claudio Orrego, in panel discussion "Climate change and quality of life: local challenges and policy development"

The date on which the event took place could not be more accurate. While the forum was scheduled to dive us in policy development, public-private partnerships and funding opportunities of climate action for a day, the situation of heavy rain and flooding of the Mapocho river, increased the interest and commitment of the representatives of the municipalities to share their own progress and exchange best practices.

Christian Hübner, Director of EKLA KAS; Juliana Lopes, Director of CDP Cities Latin America and Guillermo Espinoza, Executive Director of CED, welcomed all attendees. Immediately after, the inaugural exhibition was in charge of the Minister of Environment of Chile, Pablo Badenier, who stressed the importance of cities in Latin America in terms of rates of consumption and pollution, especially if it is taken into account the growth trend of cities into an urbanized world. In this context, the major challenges before climatic variations need cities that know to manage these changes in order to affect as little as possible the quality of life of citizens.

To know Chilean experiences; Jordan Harris, Deputy Director of Adapt Chile, moderated the roundtable with the Chilean authorities. As the Mayor of the Metropolitan Region, Claudio Orrego, pointed out "Santiago is living climate change." This manifesto was not only circumstantial, but also based on the record of increasingly frequent and intense natural events in recent years. Facing this reality, it is required an integrated vision as a city where the communities need to work together. He also noted that this integration should be a priority for both local authorities and the private sector and civil society in general, because the actions of each of these parties also influence the reduction of GHG to reduce the impacts of climate change.

On the side of the local experiences, the municipality of Peñalolén highlighted the community inclusive recycling program, which includes the participation of 16,500 local families. Moreover, the mayor Carolina Leitao, highlighted the EcoPark as a space for education and research to enhance the areas of composting, ecological vegetable garden, recycling of inorganic waste, production of biodiesel, among others. For the implementation of the various programs that help reduce GHG emissions, Gonzalo Durand, Mayor of Independencia, stressed the importance of developing proposals in a participatory way. In the case of Independencia, thanks to this joint effort, programs as: using bicycles as transportation, recycling of domestic oils and biogas generation system for the utilization of the racecourse inputs have been developed.

Even though many of these initiatives are funded directly by municipalities, how would it be possible to increase the scale to generate greater impact? To achieve this, in other cities of Latin America financing cases with support from the private sector, specifically what it is known as public-private partnerships, happen. Thanks to the moderation of Guillermo Espinoza, Executive Director of the CED, in the panel it was possible to learn more about the practices of representatives of Brazil, Mexico and Colombia.

In this sense, Rogerio Menezes, Secretary of Environment of the Municipality of Campinas in Brazil, presented implemented experiences through this form of financing, which contribute to the adaptation and mitigation of the city before climate change. The installation of the solar plant of Tanquinho, with an investment of US $ 3.6 million, 1.6 gigawatts of generation per year and enough energy to supply 1,000 families; the circulation of 10 electric buses with a view to replace 25% of 1200 buses over the next 3 years; and the reuse of water in Viracopos airport thanks to the company Sanasa.

As for the Mexican experience, Samuel Martínez, Technical Secretary of the City Hall of Naucalpan, shared his case as to the need of creating a thermal recovery plant for the management and utilization of solid waste. Thus, the emission of 430 000 ton of CO2 (equivalent to 140000 compact cars stop circulating annually) would be avoid and 16 MW/h enough is to provide power to 70,000 average homes would be generated.

On the other hand, from the City Hall of Cali-Colombia, Gisela Arizabaleta shared the job of promoting the production of goods and services with the lowest possible carbon footprint. To do so, they submit a carbon neutral organizational certification, with which have achieved the participation of 30 companies from different areas and 10 more are coming to join. Through the measurement and training to these companies, the energy sector has been identified so far as the largest contributor of CO2eq with 87,535.26 tons. On the other hand, the advantage of having one or more certificates is that these are valid internationally and allows the company to have a differential competence to improve their competitiveness.

Facing diverse experiences and project opportunities for the adaptation and mitigation of climate change in cities, the concern of how to finance and which platforms and mechanisms exist for it arises. To clarify this question, Maria Fernanda Pineda, Project Coordinator of EKLA KAS, moderated the round table 3, which included various specialists from Latin America and Europe.

Heloisa Schneider, Researcher at the Sustainable Development and Human Settlements Division of ECLAC, said that, in 2014, initiatives related to climate change financing totaled $ 21.1 billion in Latin America and the Caribbean, the countries that most invested were Brazil (67.3%), Peru (7%) and Colombia (3.9%), respectively. Regarding the involved parties, he shared the progress of each: US $ 300 million approved from Climate Funds in 2014; in the same year, US$ 1,398 million investment approved by the World Bank; and 17% of funds for Multilateral Development Banks for Latin America and the Caribbean.

Within the range of mechanisms, the Green Bonds, or debenture bond (debt) issued by public or private institutions, present a major challenge in its operation. For a broader scope of the topic, Justine Leigh-Bell, Director of Development of Standards of Climate Bonds Initiative, said that the Green Bonds correspond that seek to carry out green projects and get funding from investors interested to eventually pay back the investment return. This Green Bonds market has tremendously grown in recent years; however, it still presents challenges as the lack of bankable green projects, lack of preparation for bond financing and the absence of commonly acceptable environmental standards.

Meanwhile, Sarah Dougherty, Associate of Environmental Innovation of the Natural Resources Defense Council, presented the Green Banks as financial institutions (public or semi-public) with the mission to accelerate the maturation of clean energy markets (financial innovation) and facilitate access to finance (better terms of credit and direct funding). Globally, the main green banks are the Clean Energy Finance Corporation of Australia, the GreenTech Malaysia, the Green Finance Organization of Japan, the Green Investment Bank in the UK, the Connecticut Green Bank in the United States and the New York Green Bank.

To close the round table, Martha Castillo, Chief Executive of the Climate Change Unit in the Andean Development Corporation (CAF), shared the different types of funding available from her institution to the region: studies of pre-investment in generation and knowledge management and mapping and identification of opportunities, technical cooperation to finance pilot projects, and resources for pre-investment in pre-feasibility and feasibility. The main challenge is to have a meeting point between project ideas and investors and move from sectoral interventions to territorial interventions with multisectoral co-benefits, in order to promote more inclusive, competitive, eco-efficient, intelligent and sustainable cities to improve the quality of life of the urban population.

In addition to the three sections of exposition, there was workshop space to share best environmental practices among the representatives of municipalities present. Andreia Banhe of CDP and Jordan Harris of Adapt Chile led this activity. The presentation of the initiative of CDP Cities Latin America and the development of a case served as a starting point to generate an exchange of ideas and debate on actions to take in local climate management. At the end of the day, the information exposed reinforced the knowledge of some attendees, was a first approach to others, but above all, let the message of urgency to work on developing more sustainable cities for a better quality of life citizens and that this is possible to achieve this objective.

Written by: María Fernanda Pineda (EKLA KAS)
Collaboration: Andreia Banhe (CDP), Patricia Castillo (CED)

To see more pictures of the event, please click on the following link.
Press note: Noticias Peñalolén