The mayor of Medellín, Daniel Quintero Calle, participated in the press conference for the launch of the Agenda for a green and just recovery, promoted by the prestigious city network C40. This document outlines bold steps to achieve an equitable and sustainable recovery subsequent to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The agenda includes specific measures that are already being taken in many cities around the world and should become the “new normal”, for the cities that wish to contain and be better prepared for future pandemics, resolve systematic injustice and maintain global warming under the 1,5 °C goal set by the Paris Agreement.
Mayor Quintero’s intervention was oriented towards the current strategy of Medellín for the creation of Jobs in industries associated with the digital revolution and businesses that promote environmental sustainability. Moreover, he highlighted the strategy to train people in science, technology and innovation with an emphasis in women, youth and senior citizens, to guarantee equity in the access to the labor market.
“Among the main challenges that the pandemic leaves us is to strengthen our voices and make it clear that our ambition is not to return to “normality”, but to build a better, more sustainable, more resilient and just society from the recovery from the COVID-19 crisis” the mayor told reporters and world leaders at the press conference.
The C40 mayors, all in all, request governments and leaders of the world “to guarantee that all the funds for economic recovery and stimulus packages promote a just and sustainable transition”. In their call to end all public investment in fossil fuels, C40 mayors are unequivocal: “Countries must seize this moment to decisively abandon investments in high-carbon, fossil-fuel-intensive industries and increase their investments in a low-carbon future”.
This document is led by 11 mayors from around the world that form the Global Mayors COVID-19 Recovery Task Force: Freetown, Hong Kong, Lisbon, Melbourne, Milan, Montreal, New Orleans, Rotterdam, Seattle, Seoul and Medellín. Additionally, it counts with the support of entrepreneurs, young environmental activists and unions. This Agenda includes both specific actions, which are already being carried out in many cities around the world, as well as strong calls to national governments, central banks and international financial institutions to carry out a just and ecological recovery.
The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development was launched in 2015 to end poverty and set the world on a path of peace, prosperity and opportunity for all on a healthy planet. The 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) demand nothing short of a transformation of the financial, economic and political systems that govern our societies today to guarantee the human rights of all.
They require immense political will and ambitious action by all stakeholders. But, as Member States recognized at the SDGs Summit held last September, global efforts to date have been insufficient to deliver the change we need, jeopardizing the Agenda’s promise to current and future generations.
The Sustainable Development Goals Report 2020brings together the latest data to show us that, before the COVID-19 pandemic, progress remained uneven and we were not on track to meet the Goals by 2030. Some gains were visible: the share of children and youth out of school had fallen; the incidence of many communicable diseases was in decline; access to safely managed drinking water had improved; and women’s representation in leadership roles was increasing. At the same time, the number of people suffering from food insecurity was on the rise, the natural environment continued to deteriorate at an alarming rate, and dramatic levels of inequality persisted in all regions. Change was still not happening at the speed or scale required.
Now, due to COVID-19, an unprecedented health, economic and social crisis is threatening lives and livelihoods, making the achievement of Goals even more challenging. As of the beginning of June, the death toll had surpassed 400,000 and was continuing to climb, with almost no country spared. Health systems in many countries have been driven to the brink of collapse. The livelihood of half the global workforce has been severely affected. More than 1.6 billion students are out of school and tens of millions of people are being pushed back into extreme poverty and hunger, erasing the modest progress made in recent years.
Although the Novel Coronavirus affects every person and community, it does not do so equally. Instead, it has exposed and exacerbated existing inequalities and injustices. In advanced economies, fatality rates have been highest among marginalized groups. In developing countries, the most vulnerable – including those employed in the informal economy, older people, children, persons with disabilities, indigenous people, migrants and refugees – risk being hit even harder. Across the globe, young people are being disproportionately affected, particularly in the world of work. Women and girls are facing new barriers and new threats, ranging from a shadow pandemic of violence to additional burdens of unpaid care work.
Far from undermining the case for the SDGs, the root causes and uneven impacts of COVID-19 demonstrate precisely why we need the 2030 Agenda, the Paris Agreement on Climate Change and the Addis Ababa Action Agenda, and underscore the urgency of their implementation. I have therefore consistently called for a coordinated and comprehensive international response and recovery effort, based on sound data and science and guided by the Sustainable Development Goals.
Health systems must be urgently strengthened in countries that are at greatest risk, with increased capacity for testing, tracing and treatment. Universal access to treatments and vaccines, when they become available, is essential. A large-scale multilateral response is needed to ensure that developing countries have the resources they need to protect households and businesses. Recovery packages must facilitate the shift to a low-carbon, climate-resilient economy and support universal access to quality public services. And leadership and support are needed to ensure statistical organizations have the tools and resources to facilitate timely and smart decision-making. To guide and support these actions, the United Nations system has mobilized at all levels, leveraging the recent reforms of the United Nations development system.
At the start of this Decade of Action to deliver the SDGs, I call for renewed ambition, mobilization, leadership and collective action, not just to beat COVID-19 but to recover better, together – winning the race against climate change, decisively tackling poverty and inequality, truly empowering all women and girls and creating more inclusive and equitable societies everywhere.
Reactivating the economy, creating new, green jobs in businesses that protect the environment, Medellin becoming a Software Valley for the world and focusing on STEM education (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics), were some of the main points highlighted by mayor Daniel Quintero a new encounter with the C40 network recovery task force, that gathered 96 leaders from around the world.
The C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group connects 96 of the biggest cities around the world to undertake bold climatic action, that will lead the way towards a healthy and sustainable future.
The Recovery Task Force mid-term report was presented during this meeting: “C40 Mayors’ Agenda on what a Green and Just Recovery means”, made by the 11 mayors that form the recovery board for COVID-19, C40’s “Global Mayors COVID-19 Recovery Task Force”.
The report is focused on three interest areas:
Jobs and an Inclusive Economy: The speedy creation of new jobs, supporting essential workers and allowing a just transition.
Resilience and Equity: providing municipal utilities for all, focusing on a just society and a strong economy, resilient to future shocks.
Health and Wellbeing: returning spaces to people and nature; rethinking and reclaiming our streets, cleaning our air and creating local and habitable communities.
“As C40 mayors, we must act as entrepreneurial governments, taking initiative in the creation of new and good green jobs, supporting and recognizing essential workers and ensuring that needed skills and training are available so that workers -in particular those in polluting industries- can pass on directly into employments opportunities in sectors of the future” said Quintero during the session.
For the executive director of ACI Medellin, Eleonora Betancur, “it is an honor that Medellin’s mayor was the representative for this meeting on inclusive employment, presenting the strategy implemented by the city before 96 mayors from around the world. In addition, the report that will delivered will become a guide for the momentum needed for Medellin’s recovery after the crisis caused by COVID-19”.
In April of 2020, the mayors that form part of C40 launched the Global Mayors COVID-19 Recovery Task Force, with the goal of achieving an economic and social recovery from COVID-19, that will allow people to go back to their jobs, preventing climate collapse from becoming an even greater crisis and stopping global economy.
The mid-term report displays the collective vision of mayors on behalf of a green and just recovery and the values shared to achieve this, including the measures taken by cities and that will continue to be taken, the actions from the whole C40 network and their calling to national and regional governments and financial institutions. This report will be available to the public as of July 15th.
Medellín has wagered on the modernization of the public transport system in order to motivate its use over private vehicles, reduce travel times and contribute to sustainable mobility and environmental care.
Every day, citizens of the world seek greater connectivity and information in real time to make good use of public transportation and, thus, plan their time better. In Medellín, the application of technology to improve mobility processes is already a reality. A clear example of this is found in the execution of the Collective Transport System (TPM, for its acronym in Spanish) reorganization project. Intelligent Bus Stops were implemented and have information panels with numbers, names, lines and route maps with authorized stops. They also include the most relevant points in the routes and their estimated arrival time at each one of the bus stops. Also, they have braille plaques for non-seeing travelers.
TPMED, the official smart device app for public transport and mobility in Medellín is another good use of technology so that citizens can depend on clear, precise and verified data and can plan and program their trips. Travelers can access maps of the city’s transport means with routes and stops, trajectories from one point to another, as well as amounts and times, in order to make decisions at the time of their move.
“To think of Medellín is to think about what is possible. It’s thinking about public transportation, in the Metrocable, in the Tram, in social inclusion. Is to think about challenges turned into opportunities.”.
President of the Inter-American Development Bank (Idb)
Like the Metro, Metrocable and the Tram, the totality of the integrated bus routes were added to the electronic payment system, another good example of the use of technology in mobility processes. Users can access all the transport services the Metro system offers by paying with their “tarjeta Cívica” and with no need for cash, saving users approximately COP 80,000 a month.
As part of its wager for more environmentally responsible mobility, the city has implemented modern technology on 4,426 traffic lights, which reduce energy consumption by 20%. A lesser caliber cable system of traffic lights that in no way affects the quality of the service was implemented. This new technology, in addition to being environmentally friendly, reduces maintenance costs and product waste. The challenge for 2020 is for all traffic lights of Medellín to be low-energy consumption.
In order to carry out this great strategy of placing technology at the service of mobility, a consensus effort among the key system actors is necessary: Área Metropolitana del Valle
de Aburrá, the Empresa de Seguridad Urbana (ESU), TIGO-EPM providing internet service
and connectivity, CAS Mobiliario – for bus stops and agent responsible for the installation, adaptation, maintenance and reposition of urban furniture – and, of course, the Medellín Secretariat of Mobility, as well as the collective public transportation companies.
Electric Mobility at the Service of Public Transportation
Today, Medellín enjoys the first mass transit system in Colombia with 30 natural gas vehicles, 65 electric buses and 47 gas fueled buses. The use of clean fuels allows for sustainable urban planning and a better air quality.
These vehicles run lines 1 and 2 of the BRT system and the new Avenida 80 line, from the La Palma station of the Metroplus, to the Caribe station of the Metro, one that will connect public and private universities in this corridor. The new fleet will contribute to the reduction of at least 7,000 tons of emissions of carbon dioxide in the air.
Also, the Medellín Mayor’s Office is promoting the acquisition of 1,500 public service vehicles with electric technology during the next three years. To reach this goal, city administration opened a registration platform, so that gasoline taxi owners register and receive a bonus to exchange their cabs for zero emission vehicles. Results are happening: the first electric taxis began traveling the city in September of 2019.
Technologies for improvement of mobility in Medellín
Physical and technological adaptation of 383 intelligent bus stops with user information
Public transportation systems for citizens through a mobile app for cell phones and intelligent bus stops
Platform for the Fleet Management and Control System to generate content directed toward information transmission that is projected on LED screens and apps in mobile devices
These new technologies benefit inhabitants and visitors in Medellín, as well as public transport companies
for the optimization of processes and routes.
Cooperation with South Korea
In June of 2018, the Korean Minister of Territory, Infrastructure and Transportation, Paek Seung Gun, and the Medellín Mayor, Federico Gutiérrez Zuluaga, signed a letter for the exchange of cooperation with the aim of carrying out a project of Urban Transport Improvement. As a result of this process, the city received the highest amount of cooperation resources ever given in its history, USD 12.5 million, in November of 2018.
For the implementation of this project, both the Medellín Mayor’s Office and the Korean Government have worked on three fronts:
Construction and improvement of an integrated traffic information center among the Metro system, the Empresa de Seguridad Urbana and the Mobility Secretariat.
Implementation of a pilot project for the management of regulated and systemized vehicular parking.
Development of intelligent transportation training program for employees of the Secretariat of Mobility.
Medellín has become a success story by overcoming challenges of uncontrolled urban expansion and years of violence due to social inequalities. Its transformation is remarkable: in just two decades it went from one of the most violent cities in the world to position itself as a model of urban innovation. Through bold leadership, long-term plans and social innovation, city mayors have addressed problems and improved the economy, employability and quality of life of their citizens.
With limited resources, Medellín devised alternative but sustainable means to finance its urban development, while implementing catalytic projects in strategic areas to achieve the greatest impact for its people. Projects focused on controlling the expansion of the city, improving the conditions of existing settlements, generating new public spaces and promoting the generation of jobs and education with a new multi modal transport infrastructure, have been developed, always caring for the environment, and for social sustainability.
In an increasingly urbanized and complex world, social integration has become a great challenge for many cities. Medellín seems to have found the key through social innovation. The city seeks to empower each member of society and give them a role within the city.And, in this process, the city won the trust of all citizens. For example, with the “Buen Comienzo” (Good Start) program, which focuses on early childhood education, it clearly articulates the commitment to invest in the future.
Prioritizing the needs of its citizens, Medellín proactively instills a culture of open dialogue and cooperation between government, private entities and individuals. A clear example is the management of Proantioquia and the Committee University Enterprise Government (CUEE, for its acronym in Spanish), which works together to formulate policies and execute initiatives based on the principles of social responsibility and equity.
By transforming underutilized sites into multipurpose spaces, a sustainable approach to urban development is given which, in turn, strengthens the identity of communities.
Although ecological sensitivity is undoubtedly important, interventions whose priorities were the needs of people and which focused on improving their quality of life also have great relevance in Medellín; there are unconventional transport systems, such as the Metrocable, which connects the outskirts of the mountains with the city’s downtown district. This is the result of a participatory society that gathers to formulate and implement long-term plans, thus contributing to the progress
The enthusiasm and positive spirit of the inhabitants of Medellín are palpable and
Guided by the Presidential Agency for Cooperation of Colombia – APC Colombia, and under Colombia’s South-South Cooperation strategy with Africa, a delegation made up of delegates from Kenya, Ghana, and Ethiopia visited Medellín.
A delegation made up of 3 officials from national and local governments of African countries visits Colombia to learn about best practices related to the use of bicycles as a means of urban transport.
The mission was interested in knowing the implementation process of bicycles as a means of transportation, and how Medellín managed to promote healthy lifestyle habits through this program. The delegation held meetings in which the EnCicla public bicycle system, the Metro System, and INDER’s Healthy and Active Roads strategy were the main focus.
“I want to see what happens here in Medellin and how the city managed to do it. Our purpose is to implement similar programs in our city, and make cycling a form of transport and healthy training,” said Kejela Mekonen, leader of the pedestrians and cyclists strategy in the Office of Transportation Administration of Addis Ababa, capital of Ethiopia.
ACI Medellín participated in the visit as the guarantor of the South-South cooperation exercise between the capital of Antioquia and the African cities.
Newsweek recognized Medellín as one of the 25 smartest cities in the world in a ceremony held on October 22 at the Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta -United States-..
According to the Newsweek publication, 25 cities are the smartest of the world. Among Latin Americans, Medellín shares this recognition with Quito (Ecuador)..
The American media recognized the capital of Antioquia during the event called Momentum Awards 2019 for its advances in mobility, urban design, and technology at the service of citizens. The publication highlighted the social and urban transformation of the city after its violent past, and how today, it tilts its efforts towards science, technology, and innovation from its government plans.
“These are the cities that take action, and whose ongoing projects represent a real change for their population. Whether they integrate sustainable infrastructure, adopt intelligent approaches to mobility or use big data analysis to manage their legislative policies by improving the reality of the territory. Each city is doing something bold and unique” stated Nancy Cooper, Global editor in chief of Newsweek.
Newsweek is one of the most recognized magazines in the world with more than eight decades of trajectory, in which it has focused its efforts on telling stories so that readers understand the world we currently.
After a busy day filled with exchanges and the participation of 650 attendees in the IV International Conference of Learning Cities UNESCO 2019, several challenges became evident in the implementation of practices that benefit the entire population, especially those at a disadvantage such as at-risk youth, immigrants, the elderly, the digitally excluded population and people with disabilities.
The Medellín Manifesto is a result of the IV International Conference on Learning Cities 2019 which seeks to promote inclusion as a primary principle of learning.
Therefore, the Medellín Manifesto was adopted to overcome these challenges and work for population inclusion, and a fund was created under the multi-donor financing modality to support lifelong learning programs in cities of all continents. This strategy will be applied from 2019 to 2021 to strengthen the Network, create knowledge, and develop learning policies and instruments which allow the creation of capacities that will reach the population effectively.
The biggest challenge of the cities around the world is to define how lifelong learning policies and practices should contribute to the inclusion of the most vulnerable populations
Medellín, a success story
During the event, 10 cities received the 2019 Learning City Award in recognition of their best practices for the quality of education and the creation of lifelong learning opportunities: Aswan (Egypt), Chengdu (People’s Republic of China), Heraklion (Greece), Ibadan (Nigeria), Medellín (Colombia), Melitopol (Ukraine), Petaling Jaya (Malaysia), Santiago (Mexico), Seodaemun-gu (Republic of Korea) and Sonderborg (Denmark).
The UNESCO Institute for Lifelong Learning (UIL) and the Medellín Mayor’s Office jointly organized the conference.
Medellín is an international benchmark and its Green Corridors project earned it the C40 Bloomberg Philanthropies Award, an international award granted to seven cities for demonstrating its leadership in climate action.
This award was presented during the C40 Mayors World Summit held in Copenhagen (Denmark), between October 9 and 12.
“It is our pleasure to award these seven cities for their formidable work on reducing pollutant emissions, cleaning the air, and protecting people’s health. Their efforts will help drive more climate change actions around the world” said the Chairman of the C40 Board, special envoy of the United Nations Secretary-General for Climate Action and former mayor of New York, Michael R. Bloomberg.
The capital of Antioquia stood out of 26 finalists who presented impressive initiatives in the fight against climate change at the local level.
The C40 Bloomberg Philanthropies awarded the project in The Resilient Future We Want category.
“Medellín is committed to this change, and we greatly value your vote of confidence. This recognition reaffirms our promise to move towards the construction of a sustainable, inclusive, equitable city with opportunities for everyone,” said the mayor of Medellín, Federico Gutiérrez Zuluaga.
C40 Cities connects 94 of the world’s largest cities to undertake bold climate action and leads the way towards a healthier and more sustainable future. It represents more than 700 million citizens and a quarter of the global economy.
The mayors of the C40 cities pledge to meet the most ambitious objectives of the Paris Agreement at the local level, as well as to clean the air. The current president is the mayor of Paris, Anne Hidalgo. The three times mayor of New York, Michael R. Bloomberg, is the Chairman of the Board.
Bloomberg Philanthropies works in 480 cities in more than 120 countries around the world. The organization focuses on five key areas: arts, education, environment, government innovation, and public health.
About Green Corridors
The Green Corridors of Medellín is a project which includes the planting of trees, shrubs, palms, and covers in an environmental network that connects streams, hills, parks, and roads. It is part of the strategy A Greener Medellín for You, which consolidates an ecological system consisting of 18 road axes, 12 stream basins and the Nutibara, El Volador, and La Asomadera hills. This project estimates to reduce up to two degrees Celsius the ambient temperature, also to decrease the effect of heat islands, to capture particulate material and improve the air quality, among others.
This award contributes to the international positioning of Medellín and its best practices.
Cork and Medellín sign a MOU to strengthen the exchange of initiatives in education and improve cooperation on learning issues. Both cities belong to the UNESCO Global Network of Learning Cities
On October 2, the mayor of Medellín Federico Gutiérrez Zuluaga and the mayor of Cork Lord Mayor Councillor John Sheehan signed a memorandum of understanding to promote collaboration as members of the UNESCO Global Network of Learning Cities to share best practices in lifelong education, adult education, continuing education, literacy, and non-basic education formal.
Both cities undertake to implement the policies of UNESCO’s Learning Cities set forth in the Beijin Declaration (2013) for the creation of Learning Cities and the promotion of inclusion, prosperity and sustainability; the Manifesto of Mexico City (2015) for the construction of Sustainable Learning Cities; and the Fundamental Characteristics of Learning Cities , which provide a complete list with the measures to improve and measure the progress of learning cities and recognize the progress made by member cities; and the Cork Call to Action (2017) to implement lifelong learning strategies in Learning Cities.
Cork has committed to an action plan to consolidate initiatives as a lifelong-learning city based on political leadership and recognition of the potential of urban and rural communities
Cork and Medellin commit to promoting inclusive learning from elementary to higher education, promote learning in families and communities, facilitate learning in the workplace, expand the use of new technologies, improve quality and excellence of learning, and fostering a lifelong learning culture.
Cork and Medellín are committed to meeting the Sustainable Development Goals, SDG 4 and SDG 11, to promote equitable, inclusive, green and healthy living environments
This memorandum of understanding entered into force upon the signature of both leaders and will last for three years.
“This is the most successful forum of mayors of them all” the executive director of the Center for Liveable Cities of Singapore, Khoo Teng Chye, said. “It’s been three incredible days. This is a very enriching experience which shows why Medellín was worthy of the Lee Kuan Yew Award. The city has shown the world its true face, a project characterized by citizen participation and social investment,” the director said.
300 leaders from 80 cities attended the summit which left new cooperation alliances, half a million dollars in economic benefits and the promotion of the transformation of Medellín in the international media.
In the 10th Mayors Forum of the World Cities Summit, the leaders signed a declaration where they commit to working for habitable and sustainable cities.
The tour on the commune 13 was full of expressions of admiration from the mayors and delegates participating in the World Cities Summit. Far from the protocol, they enjoyed music, art, gastronomy, and expressions of affection from the people of Medellín. The language was not a barrier to spontaneous conversations.
As requested by the mayor of Medellín, Federico Gutiérrez Zuluaga, the Summit was also lived in the streets and with the citizens as a way to address the central theme of the meeting: the building of trust in the institutions from the projects of urban and social transformation.
“We want to thank the people of Medellín for being such great hosts. This meeting is a recognition of the city, its people, and its communities. As one of the mayors said, Medellín is a city with lots of charisma, and today we can say that we are in line with the global trend of building trust through citizen culture and inclusion,” said the local leader.
New cooperation alliances
Mayor Federico Gutiérrez Zuluaga held meetings with his peers from Bilbao, Jakarta, Singapore, and Seoul; he signed a memorandum of understanding on sustainable mobility and economic development with the latter, which will give continuity to the work being done with the Ministry of Transport of South Korea and the largest international cooperation that Medellín has received to improve technology in sustainable mobility.
There were also parallel events such as the 30 young leader’s symposium; the session of the C40 group on sustainable mobility; the meeting of Asocapitales and the forum on technology and innovation of Ruta N, in addition to seven business rounds.
300 people of high political and institutional level from 80 cities around the world, including Seoul, Moscow, Jakarta, Delhi, Doha, South Miami, Panama, Chapeco, and Bilbao attended the event.60% of the international delegation comes from Asia and Africa.
The economic benefit for the city was half a million dollars. Occupation of 65% was registered in the hotels in which the visitors stayed, specifically due to the World Cities Summit.
Diverse cities with common challenges
Despite the geographical and cultural differences, the concerns of large cities are common: climate change, transport, public infrastructure, waste management, environmental sustainability, public services, joint work with citizens and the construction of trust.
In this sense, the leaders participating in the 10th Mayors Forum of the World Cities Summit signed a declaration where they commit to working for livable and sustainable cities to achieve public trust.
One of the main conclusions has to do with the responsibility of cities when taking action against climate change, promoting public and private transport systems with zero emissions and incorporating clean fuels.
This afternoon the participants of the Summit toured the Center of Medellín, the tramway of Ayacucho, and the Metrocable La Sierra. There, they will be able to witness the environmental urbanism implemented in the city and that which has allowed the decrease of the temperature in the city, as well as the reduction of emissions to the environment, thanks to the clean transport systems.
Medellín will be present at the next Summit to be held in Singapore on June 2020.
During the World Cities Summit held in Medellín, Mayor Federico Gutierrez calls for Latin American cities to embrace zero-emission transport and lead the world on climate action.
Mr. Federico Gutierrez, Mayor of Medellin, said: “Our citizens have the right to breathe cleaner and healthier air. We, as mayors, are entrusted with the responsibility to work for the reduction of pollutant agents emissions in our territories. This is an invitation to all Latin American cities to join us on this journey. So together, we implement zero-emissions transportation systems and strategies that lead s to a cleaner future.”
This call to action comes as Rio de Janeiro, Brazil and Santiago, Chile announced their commitment to the C40 Green and Healthy Streets Declaration. The cities join 27 others including Medellín, Quito and Mexico City in committing to procure only zero-emission buses from 2025 and ensure that a major area of the city is zero emission by 2030. The policies are designed to fight air pollution, improve the quality of life for all citizens, and help take more climate action.
If all C40 cities meet the commitments of the Green & Healthy Streets Declaration and encourage more people out of their cars, it could prevent more than 45,000 premature deaths each year.
64 new electric buses will be on the streets of Medellín by August 2019, creating the largest fleet of electric buses in Colombia.
Santiago de Chile is already a world leader in electric transport, now home to over 200 zero-emissions buses on the streets of the Metropolitan Region and with 183 more due to be introduced in August.
In Rio, transport is responsible for one-third of all greenhouse gas emissions and over 75% of the highly dangerous pollutants in the air that cause lung and heart disease, early deaths and hospital admissions. Taking action on transport in Rio will vastly improve the public health of citizens and ensure their right to breathe clean air in the city.
Mark Watts, C40 Executive Director, said:
“Air pollution caused by petrol and diesel vehicles is responsible for the early deaths of millions of people in cities around the world. Emissions from these vehicles are also contributing to the climate crisis that threatens us all. By committing to the Green and Healthy Streets Declaration Medellin, Rio and Santiago are ensuring a healthier and more sustainable future for their citizens and contributing to the global leadership of mayors in fighting climate breakdown.”
Alongside the WCS, the City of Medellín in partnership with C40 Cities and Transformative Urban Mobility Initiative (TUMI) will host a workshop for city officials to explore how cities can deliver sustainable mobility and zero-emission areas in their cities.
C40 Cities is working with other Latin American cities to address climate change, including in Bogotá, where the C40 Cities Finance Facility is working with the city to create a brand new ‘Quinto Centenario’ Bikeway, stretching 25 km and supporting 34,000 bicycle trips during peak hours. Investment in cycling in Bogotá has resulted in more than 150,000 extra trips by bike every day in 2018. Over the past two years, the city’s network of bike lanes has increased by 80km.
About the C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group
Around the world, C40 Cities connects 96 of the world’s greatest cities to take bold climate action, leading the way towards a healthier and more sustainable future. Representing 700+ million citizens and one-quarter of the global economy, mayors of the C40 cities are committed to delivering on the most ambitious goals of the Paris Agreement at the local level, as well as to cleaning the air we breathe. The current chair of C40 is Mayor of Paris Anne Hidalgo, and three-term Mayor of New York City Michael R. Bloomberg serves as President of the Board, and the Mayor of Medellín, Mr. Federico Gutiérrez Zuluaga is a member of the Board and one of the Representatives of Latin America. C40’s work is made possible by our three strategic funders: Bloomberg Philanthropies, Children’s Investment Fund Foundation (CIFF), and Realdania.
To learn more about the work of C40 and our cities, please visit our website.
Executive Director of Singapur’s Centre For Liveable Cities Khoo Teng Chye and The Mayor of Medellín, Federico Gutiérrez, officially inagurated the World Cities Summit Mayors Forum that will be held in the city with the participation of over 200 leaders from all regions of the world.
According to the representative of Singapore, Khoo Teng Chye, the mayors and leaders attending the Forum will discuss the main urban challenges and share the best practices of their governments, all which help to build trust in cities and institutions, and how cities must plan economic and environmental security.
The event will bring together over 200 participants from around the world, including mayors, city leaders, and senior leaders from the industry and international organisations, with representatives from all regions of the world.
“We are very happy to hold the tenth edition of the Forum in this city that is an example of social innovation for the world. I know that many of us will be surprised by the level of development that Medellín has achieved in the last 20 years. We could not have chosen a better city for this meeting”, added Khoo Teng Chye, Executive Director for Singapore’s Centre for Liveable Cities.
Mayor Federico Gutiérrez Zuluaga highlighted the importance of the Mayors Forum that will allow Medellín to continue working hand in hand with other mayors of the world to have cities with a better quality of life.
“We are the cities that have to take on the most important actions in the face of the main global challenges that the planet has today. Today the most important is climate change. There are 1’961,969 cities in the world and most of the climate change summits are attended only by heads of state. But it is from the local level where actions must be generated to positively impact air quality and reduce pollution and deforestation”, said Mayor of Medellín, Federico Gutiérrez Zuluaga.
During the Forum, participants will learn about the urban and social transformation of Medellín through the tours of Comune 13 San Javier, Comune 10 La Candelaria and Comune 8 Villa Hermosa.
“The relationship with Singapore is a long-term relationship that we will continue to strengthen. This meeting is not only important for the city but also for the country and the entire region. Investors have been looking for opportunities in our country”, added Mayor Gutiérrez Zuluaga.
It is expected that the central and parallel events generate advances both in international cooperation for the city and for businessmen, and future commercial agreement opportunities. There will be delegations from cities around the world, especially from Asia; and there will be prominent businessmen with whom there will be seven business rounds.
Participants of the Forum will get to know Medellín’s social and urban transformation by visiting some of the city’s comunes.
Within the framework of the World Cities Summit, held in Medellín from July 10 to 12, the artist Sun Yu-li makes a gift to the city: 16 totems and a mural in the corridor of Calle 10. The artistic construction of the works will involve the participation of 10 children of the Bueno Comienzo Program and young members of the Youth Ministry programs.
The artist has expressed his interest in making this experience an opportunity to connect Medellín and Singapore as cities which seek to positively impact the lives of their citizens.
One of the main activities of the World Cities Summit will be the gift of the Singaporean artist, Sun Yu-li, to Medellín, a beautiful legacy of his artistic production evoking the ties that connect Singapore and Medellín as flagship cities in Asia and Latin America for its urban and social development.
The artist will work with children and young people from Medellín to interact with them and make this experience an essential seal of both cities as a legacy of this World Summit.
Sun Yu-li will work in the following spaces and places:
Tuesday, July 9 from 8:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.Calle 10, El Poblado.
Wednesday, July 10 8:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m., Plaza Mayor Medellín.
Thursday, July 11 from 2:00 p.m. – 3:30 p.m., Mural Delivery Ceremony on the 10th.
Sun Yu-Li is an architect at the Tung-Hai University of Taiwan, Master of Architecture at the Catholic University of America and Master of Urban Planning at the University of Illinois, United States. He is a member of the Board of the International Young Artists Exchange (IYAE), director of the Square of Sculptures in Singapore and advisor to the Sculpture Society of Singapore since 2001.
The 30 Green Corridors project won at the 2019 Ashden Awards in the category Cooling for People for its contributions to improve the thermal sensation of Medellín. This is the first time Ashden opens this category, an to do it, they joined world-renowned organizations such as Kigali Cooling Efficiency Program (K-CEP) and Sustainable Energy for All (SEforALL).
The Agency for Cooperation and Investment of Medellín and the Metropolitan Area – ACI Medellín together with the Secretariats of Environment and Physical Infrastructure, led the application process for the award, thus contributing to the international positioning of Medellín and its best practices.
Ashden is a British charity which defends and supports sustainable energy leaders to accelerate the transition to a low-carbon world. On June 26, they recognized the 30 Green Corridors project as the absolute winner in the category Cooling for People through its social networks.
The award ceremony will be held within the framework of the first Week of Climate Action in London on July 3 at the Royal Geographical Society. Mary Robinson, the first woman to hold the presidency of Ireland and defender of human rights associated with the concept of climate justice, will preside the event.
The 30 Green Corridors project was selected for its contribution to the relief of heat stress in the city and it stood out from other world experiences such as Addis Ababa (Capital of Ethiopia) and the City of Singapore.
“Medellín is a city which has overcome countless challenges. At this moment, caring for the environment and our air quality are two crucial issues we are facing. Structural solutions such as the Green Corridors are a strong commitment to improving the lives of our citizens. We are very excited that Ashden selected us and to be a benchmark for sustainability for the world,” said the Mayor of Medellín, Federico Gutiérrez Zuluaga.
About Green Corridors:
The project consists of planting trees, shrubs, palms, and green cover in an environmental network which connects: streams, hills, parks, and roads.
The Green Corridors are part of the strategy A greener Medellín for you, which consolidates an ecological network consisting of 18 roadways, 12 river basins and the Nutibara, El Volador and La Asomadera hills.
The Green Corridors offer a variety of ecosystem services, among which are the following:
An estimated reduction up to 2°C of the environment temperature.
The decrease of the heat island effect.
The capture of particulate matter, improving air quality.
The improvement of conditions for the conservation of biodiversity and the increase in the types of flora species.
The consolidation of an ecological network which allows the generation of new city scenarios, through the recovery and programmed sowing, the greening and modeling of the landscape within the framework of the man – ecosystem relationship.
The prioritization of the safety of pedestrians facilitating their mobility on crosswalks through planters and sidewalks.
Between June 4 and 5, Medellín hosted the third Latin American Meeting on Sustainable Mobility Latam Mobility Summit 2019. This event was attended by more than 450 Latin American leaders. They discussed and designed strategies for the future of mobility in the region.
Betting on comprehensive electric mobility which involves different public and private actors is one of the goals of Medellín towards the implementation of environmentally friendly transportation systems.
Latam Mobility was the ideal stage for Medellín to present, from the voice of its mayor, how the city conceives mobility from the perspectives of sustainability and social inclusion: “the future of cities depends on how we move and, in that sense, Medellín understood that besides physical infrastructure and the use of clean technologies, public transport systems allow transforming territories with social investment,” the mayor said.
The city aims to privilege pedestrians and promote the use of bicycles; to the modernization of public transport and the use of clean technologies.
The local leader highlighted the vision of Medellín, that of becoming the capital of electric mobility in Latin America and its link to the international network of cities C40 (Climate Leadership Group), for which he serves as vice president for his leadership in climate change.
Latam Mobility Summit 2019, also featured presentations by prominent public representatives such as the Minister of Mines and Energy of Colombia, María Fernanda Suárez and the Minister of Environment and Sustainable Development, Ricardo Lozano. Likewise, executives of companies from the energy and automotive sectors and experts in sustainable mobility met in panels to address this issue and strengthen business synergies for the development of Colombian and Latin American cities.
The organizers of Latam Mobility confirmed their interest in returning to Medellín by 2020.
The capital of Antioquia will host the 3rd Latin American Meeting of Sustainable Mobility, the Latam Mobility Summit 2019. The mayor of Medellín, Federico Gutiérrez and the Minister of Mines and Energy of Colombia, María Fernanda Suárez will be present at the event.
More than 60 national and international entities support the event, such as UN Environment, ProColombia, FIA, FIM, and ACI Medellín, among others.
According to the UN, ” transport produces a quarter of gas emissions that cause climate change. Which is why the development of sustainable mobility systems will be crucial to meet the 2030 Agenda and its 17 objectives.” Based on this, nearly 300 Latin American leaders will meet to discuss and design strategies for the future of mobility in the region at the Latam Mobility Summit 2019 event, on June 4 and 5 at the Orquideorama of Medellín’s Botanical Garden.
“Medellín is a growing city which developed innovative solutions to face the problems of drug trafficking and became the 1st city of Colombia to have a metro system. Also, it is one of the pioneering cities in the promotion of electric vehicles in the region.” The organizers expressed when investigating the reasons to choose Medellín as hosting city.
More than 100 speakers from the public and private sectors will address issues such as investment in infrastructure, improving public transport conditions, technological innovation, electric mobility, road safety, and mobile applications, among others.
To learn more about Latam Mobility Summit 2019 visit the website: Latam Mobility.
There is a combination of partnerships, technical knowledge and policies that are being developed to meet the SDGs and not leave anyone behind. An urgent and ambitious agenda.
The plan to put the world on the path to a more prosperous and sustainable development for all has been a vision shared by 156 countries that has involved the implementation of national and local action plans, the commitment of companies, media, academy and civil society.
The agenda, which focuses on achieving fair, equitable and inclusive territory, hopes to eradicate extreme poverty, put an end to all forms of malnutrition and discrimination against women and girls, guarantee universal access to energy services and significantly reduce all forms of violence, among other 169 goals within the 17 SDGs.
Progress has been made thanks to the joint efforts of governments and their alliances. For example, by 2018 labor productivity increased and more than a hundred countries have sustainable consumption and production policies and initiatives. However, there is still more work to be done to close the gap and address issues such as the risk of youth unemployment, pollution in cities and continue to maintain timely responses to issues such as armed conflicts, climate change and inequalities.
For António Guterres, Secretary-General of the United Nations, “only twelve years away from the 2030 goal, we must promote the notion of urgency. Meeting the agenda requires immediate and accelerated actions by countries, as well as collaborative partnerships between governments and stakeholders at all levels.”
Some of the initiatives that have been taken in this regard are the creation of the Mainstreaming Acceleration Policy Support, MAPS, an agile and common approach that is sustained in the mainstreaming, acceleration and support for policies, and the creation of the SDG Center for Latin America and the Caribbean CODS, by its acronym in Spanish, the first in the region located in Colombia, with the support of universities from Brazil, Chile, Mexico and Peru.
“By investing in the SDGs, we invest in the future, ensuring a world in which we strive for peace, stability and prosperity; we pledge that no one will be left behind.”
António Guterres, Secretary-General of the United Nations.
The urgent call is for all civil society to embrace this agenda of sustainable development as a way and an opportunity to make any corner of the world a better place to live.
The Future Mobility Congress developed by the Medellín Mayor’s Office together with the EAFIT University, the WRI Ross Center for Sustainable Cities and the Despacio research center, presented the main challenges of the city in this area. The event was the opportunity to show the role of Medellín as a city committed to the implementation of innovative and inclusive mobility options and the exchange of meaningful experiences.
Presentation by the mayor of Medellín, Federico Gutiérrez Zuluaga.
Pursuing its goal of becoming the Latin American capital of electric mobility by 2030, the Medellín Mayor’s Office and its Mobility Secretariat, carried out the first Future Mobility Congress on April 2, 2019, at Plaza Mayor conventions center.
The Secretary of Mobility of Medellín, Humberto Iglesias said: “Our goal of becoming the Latin American capital of electric mobility is not about ego or vanity, but because we want to strongly commit to improving the air quality of our city.”
The Congress showcased panelists and lecturers from Chile, Holland, Russia, and Colombia; and addressed not only the electrical dimension of mobility but the orientation towards a comprehensive look on road safety, efficiency, and care of the environment.
“Medellín is an example of how a city faces its problems and exercises leadership in the world. Few cities have made such transcendental and concrete decisions as Medellín, that of reducing their emissions and improving mobility,” said Manuel Olivera, Climate Leadership Group C40 Regional Manager Latin America chapter and speaker of the Congress.
The Medellín Mayor’s Office presented this initiative as a product of the articulated work of the Secretariats of Environment and Physical Infrastructure. The Agency for Cooperation and Investment of Medellín and the Metropolitan Area – ACI Medellín, together with these secretariats, led the application process for the award, contributing to the international positioning of Medellín and its best practices.
Ashden, a UK non-profit organization which defends and supports sustainable energy leaders in the quick transition to a low-carbon world, recognizes the 30 Green Corridors project in the version of its 2019 award as one of the finalists in the Cooling for People category.
The 30 Green Corridors project was chosen for its contribution to the relief of heat stress in the city. It stands out together with other global experiences with innovative approaches in urban areas such as Addis Ababa (Capital of Ethiopia) and the City of Singapore. See the article published by Ashden.
The Awards were established in 2001 and are recognized worldwide as a mark of excellence in the field of green energy. The awards ceremony will be held in London on July 3 as part of the first London Climate Action Week.
“Medellín is a city which has overcome countless challenges. At this moment, caring for the environment and our air quality are two crucial issues we are facing. Structural solutions such as the Green Corridors are a strong commitment to improving the lives of our citizens. We are very excited about Medellín’s nomination to the Ashden Awards,” said the Mayor of Medellín, Federico Gutiérrez Zuluaga.
Green Corridors is presented as an example of sustainability
In line with this news, during the fourth meeting of the Urban Greenup project, held in Brussels, Belgium the progress in greening actions, the establishment of corridors and green walls, and changing hard floors to soft ones was exalted.
The project, funded by the UN’s Horizon 2020 program, aims at the development, application, and replication of Urban Renaturing Plans in several European and non-European cities (8 in total). Its purpose is to mitigate the effects of climate change to improve air quality and water management, as well as increase the sustainability of participating cities through innovative solutions based on nature.
“Green Corridors was gladly received. None of the participating cities showed physical advances in their projects. They all showed planning in their territories, but Medellín was the only city that demonstrated the execution of the projects. With our example, they realized that they can do things,” said Secretary of Environment, Sergio Andrés Orozco Escobar.
About Green Corridors
The project consists of planting trees accompanied by shrubs, palms and green cover in an environmental network which connects streams, hills, parks, and roads. During its execution, 8,800 trees and palms have been planted with an investment of 49 billion pesos.
The Green Corridors are part of the strategy A greener Medellín for you, which consolidates an ecological network consisting of 18 roadways, 12 river basins and the Nutibara, El Volador and La Asomadera hills.
The Green Corridors offer a variety of ecosystem services, among which are the following:
An estimated reduction up to 2°C of the environment temperature.
The decrease in the heat island effect.
The capture of particulate matter, improving air quality.
The improvement of conditions for the conservation of biodiversity and the increase in the types of flora species.
The consolidation of an ecological network which allows the generation of new city scenarios, through the recovery and programmed sowing, the greening and modeling of the landscape within the framework of the man – ecosystem relationship.
The prioritization of the safety of pedestrians facilitating their mobility on crosswalks through planters and sidewalks.
Delegates from Jeonju, South Korea, completed a mission in Medellín guided by the EDU, the Metropolitan Area, Metro, and Metroplús, to learn about the city’s sustainable mobility system. Their main objective was to understand how Medellín uses public transport to drive the socio-economic development of the territory.
The Korean delegation made up by experts in mobility, innovation, sustainability and construction, received information on Medellín’s best practices, background, achievements and challenges in terms of mobility.
During their visit, they took a tour around the different transport systems which allowed them to understand its integration, contributions to urban development, and how it has benefitted users.
“During the visit, I found differences in the conditions of the two cities (Jeonju – Medellín), despite that, I saw that both have the same objective: to make the city sustainable. The city of Jeonju has made great progress in several aspects, however, I felt that the transport system of Medellín is a well-structured system, more than ours. I am sure that this experience will give us good ideas when we prepare our transportation programs.” said Songbok Um, Manager of the bus policy office of the city of Jeonju
Medellín continues to progress in the implementation of a more efficient, modern, and environmentally friendly transport for everyone. In addition to the 64 electric buses which will arrive in the city in 2019, today, Medellín has the first electric taxi thanks to the union of BYD and TAX BELÉN. This is a project focused on promoting new technologies of clean mobility in the city.
This first vehicle is part of a process to gradually incorporate electric taxis to the existing fleet, making Medellín the capital of electric mobility in Colombia and Latin America.
TAX BELÉN, one of the largest taxi companies in Medellín with more than 2,300 members, will be in charge of operating public service cars; whilst BYD will provide after-sales service and will contribute with its experience as one of the world’s leading electric vehicles manufacturers.
“Medellín has become more important to BYD due to its interest in incorporating electric mobility in its streets. This historic step ratifies this goal, and we are here to support the growth and progress of the city through our technology,” said Juan Felipe Velásquez, commercial director of the BYD Antioquia’s branch.
This taxi will operate throughout the Aburrá Valley. It is bright green to help users to differentiate. When they get on it, they will live a great experience and contribute to caring for the environment.
“TAX BELÉN is committed to environmentally friendly and sustainable mobility, which is why we are committed to making electric taxis for Medellín a reality. We will make all our human, technical and financial efforts so that citizens enjoy a world-class individual public service,” said Juan David Lopera, manager of Grupo Empresarial TAX Belén.
Since it is 100% electric, it does not emit polluting gases. Also, it will save approximately 70% compared to other combustion vehicles and its operating costs will be 50% lower than taxis running on gasoline or natural gas. It does not emit any kind of vibration or noise thus improving the comfort for the occupants. 90 minutes of fast charge will be enough to travel up to 400 kilometers in a day. The recharge will initially be made in existing stations in the city.
On February 28, Medellín opened its fifth Metrocable for commuting. It is an environmentally friendly electrical system which already benefits more than 350,000 inhabitants of the Villa Hermosa and Buenos Aires neighborhoods, and which was financed by the Municipal Administration.
Since 1995, with the start of the commercial operation of the Medellín Metro, the city began an urban transformation process for passenger mobility whose axis is the commitment to inclusion, service and environmental protection.
The city began to improve the metro service through other solutions suitable for its topography, thus in 2004, it opens the first cable car system for commuting, connecting the furthest districts with the center of Medellín. A best practice in Latin America and the world.
The implementation of these systems has earned Medellín a worldwide recognition for its urban and social innovation. Also, has made the city more attractive to delegations interested in knowing and building cable car systems as a means of mass transportation.
The Integrated Transportation System of the Aburrá Valley, SITVA, is a comprehensive mobility solution which combines multiple modes of transport such as metro, cable cars (Metrocable), BRT (Metroplús), public bicycle system (Enclica) and the tram. Therefore, reducing costs, improving the quality of the environment and shortening travel times. All this is linked to the recent efforts of the Municipal Administration to migrate to clean and environmentally friendly technologies, such as the recent acquisition of electric buses for the Metroplús system.
Medellín is part of a select group of cities which work together to mitigate risks associated to climate change. This decision implies the execution of a wide portfolio of programs that will impact the life quality of people.
According to UN data, each decade brings with it a loss of Arctic ice above 1.07 square kilometers. The average sea level rose 19 centimeters between 1901 and 2010 and, since 1970, the amount of natural disasters has quadrupled to around 400 per year.
These numbers, more than irreversible alarms, have become a motivation and work engine for many countries looking to take urgent measures that will reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
San Francisco in the United States, for example, expects to reach zero waste in 2020. London in the United Kingdom has reduced the number of vehicles in the business district, and Sydney in Australia, plans for all its inhabitants to be at a 250 meter distance, a walk away, from a green park.
For its articulated and integrated work on behalf of the environment, Medellín was chosen as the vice president city of the Steering Committee of C40. Additionally, Medellín represents Latin America, along with Santiago de Chile and Quito.
Medellín has decided to follow the example of the great capitals in several actions. The first and fundamental was to incorporate the environment as a banner topic in its 2016-2019 Development Plan. This, then, becomes a government commitment, associated to indicators and specific activities.
In addition, since 2016, the city has joined the league of territories that lead the path to a healthier, more sustainable future: C40. This action connects professionals, creates relationships of trust among countries, and encourages, freely and sensibly, ideas, solutions and lessons that make the collective jobs of all member cities stronger. Today, there are more than 10,000 executed actions by 96 cities.
A Planet-Friendly City
On a wager for environmental improvement, Medellín has taken on several commitments. One is to take inventory of greenhouse gasses under the guidelines of the Global Protocol for Community-Scale Greenhouse Gas Emission (GPC) and sign three agreements: Deadline 2020, a guide for the implementation of the Paris Agreement, the declaration of streets free of fossil fuels, and lastly, to reach equal distribution among the population of environmental, social and economic benefits generated from the executed environmental actions.
Likewise, the city has proposed the consolidation of an environmental network made up of 30 Green Corridors that connect roads, ravines, hills and parks, with benefits, such as the improvement of air quality and the reduction or noise and temperature levels. The city has also proposed providing 35 eco-stations in operation in the Aburrá Valley, having more than 200 electric vehicles, operating the EnCicla system, which provides more that 65,000 daily trips on bicycles and working on a pilot program that will supply 1,500 electric cabs through concerted payment and of high social impact.
Other parallel actions are having the greenhouse gasses effect inventory that identifies which sectors emit the highest tons of CO2, developing a management plan to face climate change, signing of the Medellín Air Quality Pact with 83 companies that have committed themselves to taking actions that will aid in the reduction of polluting gas emissions, and advancing in the renovation of pubic transport, with Euro 5 technology busses.
Thanks to these actions, lead by the Secretariat of Environment, with the participation and contribution of private companies, educational institutions and other municipal secretariats, such as Mobility, Infrastructure and Planning, Medellín goes forward in environmental sustainability. The governmental foundations have been set as well as greater consciousness by citizens so that the city continue on the route of growth and sustainable expansion.
A Call to the World from the Region
During the Global Climate Action Summit (GCAS) and the meeting of the Steering Committee of C40 held in San Francisco, United States, in September, city mayor Federico Gutiérrez Zuluaga, presented environmental advances in Medellín.
During the event, the local leader highlighted the signing of the air quality pact that engages 83 public and private partners, in addition to the C40 Network, which contains 446 commitments with goals by 2030.
For the Mayor, “taking action regarding climate change is no longer an option. We can have political and cultural differences but we share the love for our cities and our people. I know, furthermore, that we have the conviction of leaving our children a kinder world in all aspects.”
Converting trash into clean energy? This is what the project by the British company, Exergy, is betting on and proposed for Medellín. Thanks to ACI Medellín, the European company is working for the environmental preservation of the city and the planet.
Close to 3,100 tons of garbage from all over the Aburrá Valley and the 23 other communities in Antioquia come to La Pradera landfill daily. Everything that is thrown out at home ends up in this 382 hectare dump in the municipality of Don Matías in the northern region of Antioquia.
Although the service life of this landfill, which began operations in 2003, was calculated for 50 years, the accelerated overload of materials foresees a more rapid fill-up. In this context Exergy proposed a solution in tune with the Sustainable Development Goals, specifically with Responsible Production and Consumption.
How about harnessing solid residues as an energy and thermal sources, reducing part of the 90,000 tons of residues generated per month and reduction of the operations cost of the landfill by COP2,500 million?
More than COP$49,000 million, annually, could be saved in Medellín with the implementation of Waste2Energy.
This proposal was introduced in the city through an innovative technology named Waste2Energy from Exergy, in association with the Cidet – Centro de Investigación y Desarrollo Tecnológico para el Sector Energético (Center for Technological Research and Development for the Energy Sector) and EIA University.
Exergy’s arrival was supported by ACI Medellín and Ruta N, wherefrom communication with the foreign company was articulated and coordination ensued about conditions to advance in the necessary studies for the execution of the project.
Exergy Limited has a total of almost seven years since its foundation and experience in R+D projects centered on sustainability. In addition to the main headquarters in Coventry, United Kingdom, the company has offices in Deft, Netherlands, Minneapolis, USA, and since 2016, in Medellín, thanks to a public finance call from the Prosperity Fund Colombia 2016.
“The company, because of its experience and capability, developed a pre-feasibility project in harnessing of solid urban residues in the Aburrá Valley and the appraisal of those residues,” explains Johann Carlos Ramirez, leader of the Energy Latin-America SAS Colombia Energy Line.
A territory to be explored
In many countries in the world, there is harnessing of residues for energy generation and to avoid high financial costs, as well as air quality affectation and the damage to rivers, due to the pouring of lixiviates. For example, while Sweden, Netherlands and Germany harness up to 90% of solid waste, in Colombia, 83% of garbage ends up in sanitary landfills.
The energy method Exergy implements is a concept which combines the optimal use of resources such as energy, water and other material, minimizing CO2 emissions, as well as emissions from other pollutants. In Twin Cities in Minnesota, a pilot test was run and proved that carbon emissions are reduced by 39% and water consumption is reduced 73% with this system.
“There is clear leadership in nordic countries as Sweden, Finland, Norway and Germany, with strong incentives from the governments so that there be effective recycling for the generation of energy, production of biofuels or chemical biocomponents from urban solid waste,” declared Fernando Centeno, Innovation leader at Exergy.
More than 15% of residues that end up in La Pradera Landfill are made of recyclable material.
These figures led Exergy to propose the Waste2Energy project and the process began with a technical analysis to project the cost of investment and the optimal location of the plant. Between two choices, Bello and Barbosa, the best choice was the first for the construction of a recycling plant, incineration and harnessing of sub products connected to the EPM Waste Water Treatment Plant, from where electric and thermal energy could be generated, in addition to sub-products that could be used in the construction industry.
“Of eight possible business models, this was the most appropriate, since, in addition to the technical aspect, appraisal was made of the reduction of methane emissions to the atmosphere, as well as the mitigation of the environmental impact on water,” says Johann Ramírez.
The pre-feasibility study cost approximately COP$600 million and was covered by Exergy and presented to the government and city utility services companies.
Although the implementation of Waste2Energy is being analyzed, for the second stage of the study an investment of COP$4,000 million is required. Exergy is in Ruta N looking for other possibilities in the local ecosystem to offer sustainable solutions to the region.
This is how they have visited different communities of east Antioquia and have found different local initiatives, among them in El Cármen de Viboral, where they opened a biogas plant at La Cimarrona sanitary landfill. Also, in El Santuario, they adapted a composting system with Proprietary technology.
Likewise, Exergy is investing in a blended-use building, residences and offices, stimulated by the stake of the Medellín Mayor’s Office in the urban renewal of the city center.
This building will be designed with a bioclimatic concept for the consumption of water and energy, sustainable construction, photovoltaic energy warming, motorcycle and electric bicycle charging station, and, of course, education in the treatment of residues, so as to separate from the source.
Thanks to the intervention of ACI Medellín as the link for the arrival of companies of this type and the complementary relationship with institutions, such as Ruta N, Exergy continues looking for business schemes that reduce the ecological footprint and promote planet sustainability.
“Approximately COP$860,000 millions are needed in Medellín to expand and build new landfills. Why not make better use
of these residues and financial resources to generate energy?”
The city is advancing on the implementation of an environmentally friendlier, more modern, efficient and healthier transport system for all.
In her commute from her home in Belén La Palma, in southwest Medellín, to her office in El Poblado, Daniela Chavarría uses an electric bicycle. Sebastián Callejas, prefers traveling on the Metro every day from the Acevedo station, north of the city, to the Aguacatala station. Ana María Vargas uses the Ayacucho tram and the Metro.
Although each of these residents uses different transport means, Daniela, Sebastián and Ana María have something in common: they all easily arrive at their destinations, save time and money, and do not stress on traffic congestion. They also do their share in reducing emissions of polluting gases to the atmosphere, and thus contribute so that the air in Medellín is cleaner and of better quality, because these forms of transport are zero emissions, as are the metrocables of Santo Domingo (on the northeast), San Javier (on the west) and La Sierra (mid-eastern region).
These commuters also demonstrate the city’s progress in sustainability, its consolidation as a national benchmark and its work to be the future Latin America’s capital of electric mobility.
Decision and Commitment
Some of the projects that are under implementation to guarantee efficient and environmentally-friendly public transport systems for the people of the city are as follows:
Renewal of the entire bus fleet of vehicles that operate with low emission technologies, such as Euro IV, V and VI, natural gas or electricity. A reduction of 5.4 tons of fine particulate matter (PM2.5) and 4.066 tons of CO2 is expected.
Thirty articulated buses and 47 standard buses of the Metroplus (BRT system), which run from the University of Medellín (southwest) to Aranjuez (northeast) and operate with natural gas. In addition, the system has a full electric-powered bus with a capacity for 160 passengers and a battery that allows 280 kilometers autonomy.
Development of a project, between the Secretary of Mobility and EPM, so that taxi companies can trade out vehicles that run on fossil fuels for electric ones. In the next three years there will be 1,500 electric cabs.
Twenty-five eco-stations or public ECS for electric cars distributed along different parts of the city and in the municipalities of Envigado, Sabaneta and Rionegro.
Construction of 80 kilometers of bike paths, encouraging the use of bicycles.
In order for Daniela and all citizens to enjoy clean transport alternatives, different agencies work jointly, including the Metropolitan Area, the Metro, the Olaya Herrera Airport and the Secretariats of Mobility, Environment and Infrastructure.
Especially, the Metropolitan Area leads two projects for air pollution reduction in the Aburrá Valley. These are the Pigeca (Comprehensive Air Pollution Management Plan, for its acronym in Spanish) and the Poeca (Operational Plan to Confront Critical Episodes of Atmospheric Pollution). Among its activities are the measurement of meteorological variables through 21 stations; control of automotive diagnostic centers and monitoring fixed sources. The plans will also promote an integrated low-emission transport system.
In addition to this, the Agency for Cooperation and Investment of Medellín and the Metropolitan Area -ACI Medellín- has played an important role in this transformation. According to Humberto Iglesias Gómez, Secretary of Mobility of Medellín, “it has allowed us to share spaces with other cities and countries that have advanced a lot in this area. We have gone to Germany, Sweden, France and South Korea where we learned about their experiences and they showed us opportunities for improvement.”
In fact, between Medellín and Paris there is an alliance to work together and exchange good practices. “They have taught us to improve, to know what we must do to prevent environmental deterioration and that people, regardless of their socioeconomic status, get out of their car and prefer public transport means,” says Iglesias.
These achievements are proof that Medellín is living a revolution to achieve a more modern, efficient, accessible, integrated and intelligent transportation system that contributes for the care of the Earth.
A Historical Investment
The Ministry of Territory and Infrastructure of South Korea will donate 12.5 million dollars to Medellín. This support will help the continuation of sustainable mobility development with clean energy; improvement of a traffic information control center and traffic light phases. The project will also include the implementation of regulated public parking lots and intelligent stops, in which users will know the bus routes, frequencies and estimated times of arrival at their destinations.
EPM makes affordable and non-polluting energy available to the community through the La Alpujarra Thermal District, a pioneering project in Latin America to take care of the planet.
“The first thermal district of Latin America is in Medellín,” “Medellín enters the wave of green facades” and “Pilot projects that fight global warming.” This is how the national media informed the world of the start-up of the first thermal district that was built in Medellín, a project providing, since 2016, air conditioning on demand to the buildings of the Medellín Mayor’s Office, the City Council, the Departmental Assembly, the Metropolitan Area and the Colombian Tax and Customs Authority.
“The district was designed to meet two objectives: to efficiently use air conditioning service and to eliminate polluting elements,” says Carlos Arturo Díaz Romero, Natural Gas Vice President of EPM.
The process produces cold water. It is transported to buildings and finally distributes air conditioning for the offices, with an efficient water circulation, without waste, from natural gas and electricity, as primary sources to produce thermal energy.
This achievement was made possible thanks to the EPM Group, with the support of the Economic Affairs Secretariat of Switzerland -Seco-, the Colombian Ministry of Environment and Sustainable Development, the Presidential Cooperation Agency of Colombia -ACP- and under the coordination of ACI Medellín.
The La Alpujarra Thermal District has a capacity of 3,600 tons of refrigeration. Today, with customers who use air conditioning on demand, it is using 80% of its capacity.
A Success with a Local Seal
The use of thermal districts in the world is quite common, especially for the generation of heat during cold seasons. Switzerland, the United States, China, Denmark and many other nations have adopted this energy efficiency technology to slow down the growth of the carbon footprint.
In Medellín, a meeting of wills made it possible for this thermal district to become reality, with a particular fact: while these districts are commonly used for hotels, hospitals and private buildings in the rest of the world, here, the government sector was the first encouraged to implement this solution. “The customers believed, they bet on it, wanted to do things, waited patiently and now enjoy the results,” says Carlos Arturo Díaz.
From the beginning, there has been interest in replicating the system in other cities of the country, such as Bogotá, Cali, Barranquilla, Cartagena and Bucaramanga. If we consider that 75% of the population in Colombia lives in cities and that almost 70% of these are located below 1,500 meters above sea level, there is much potential for the use of cold, says the EPM vice president of Gas.
In addition to the service, this infrastructure has been designed for the purpose of fulfilling educational and didactic functions so that, in the future, other companies will implement it so that their projects do not start from scratch, but with the knowledge acquired from this first experience.
USD 6 millones en aportes de la Secretaría de Asuntos Económicos de Suiza.
An Environmental Oasis
A differentiating element in this successful case is the urban intervention. Located in a complex area of the city, with high traffic, surrounded by mechanics’ workshops and other businesses, it was a challenge to build an environmentally friendly construction, sustainable and connected to the integral renovation plan of the city center.
Thus, the work was not only of a technological nature, but also on the landscape. This is one of the aspects that amazes foreign visitors, since thermal districts are usually armored or hidden constructions. However, this one in Medellín is visible and stands out like a breath of oxygen in the middle of a highly mobile area.
Its construction is anti-noise, does not require any maintenance by customers and increases the usable space of the building, because it eliminates the need for installation of a chiller or water cooler.
The search to multiply this class of projects, even with other applications, continues. An example of this is under study in Urabá in order to take advantage of residual elements and organic waste to generate energy, in this case cold, for food preservation.
By implementing the district, the project contributes to the commitments of Colombia as part of the Montreal Protocol, to the goals of the Colombian Low Carbon Development Strategy and the Program for the Rational and Efficient Use of Energy. In addition, a seed is sown from a regional scope for the Earth’s preservation.
100% ozone depleting substances eliminated. Between 25% and 30% savings in energy consumption.
Evaluation of technological developments to solve energy distribution of air conditioning. The distribution of frozen water from EPM to Plaza Mayor was implemented.
EPM and the Ozone Technical Unit – UTO, in Spanish – of the Ministry for the Environment joined forces to replace equipment that works with ozone-depleting refrigerant substances, greenhouse gases and inefficient energy use, in buildings in the La Alpujarra sector.
Alliance to develop the La Alpujarra Thermal District and promote policies and actions
in the country that allow replicating this type of projects.
La Alpujarra Thermal District.
“An innovative experience” Jorge Londoño De La Cuesta
Why is the EPM Thermal District a strategic project for the city and for the company? This initiative is part of the growth and search for new products and services portfolio of EPM, which leverages the strategy to favor competitive and sustainable territories based on energy efficiency processes, reduction of operating costs, customer loyalty and reduction of emissions that pollute the environment. This type of initiative drives the development of projects aimed at positioning Medellín as an innovative city.
How do you contribute toward the compliance of the SDGs? The Thermal District of EPM, when generating thermal energy using natural gas as fuel in a high efficiency afterburner system, is friendly to the environment. In addition, it is important to note that, with the implementation of the District in the La Alpujarra sector, 30% of greenhouse gases and 100% of emissions of substances that exhaust the ozone layer are reduced.
What has been the influence of the ACI Medellín in this type of initiatives, as a link between companies and local government institutions and foreign investors? These types of links are important and necessary because they provide security to investors when they see that, through these agencies, resources are directed for the execution of strategic projects for the community that reflect governability in the regions. Through institutions such as the ACI Medellín, it is possible to generate pedagogical scenarios to promote that external agents evidence environmental culture and innovation.
Medellín is a fascinating city. Precisely, what makes our present so valuable is our past. After living through terrible episodes of fear and violence in the 80s and 90s, our society learned how to rebuild itself and is a reference of transformation in the world today.
During this path, we have learned the importance of aligning ourselves with the global agenda and of planning our advances in the mid and long terms. This is why we have thought of ourselves in terms of the challenges all the world’s cities face, en route to what 193 world leaders defined in 2015: the fulfillment of Sustainable Development Goals – SDGs – which aim for the elimination of extreme poverty, of inequality and injustice and answer to a global sustainability agenda.
As part of the strive for a more equitable and inclusive city, in social and territorial terms, from the beginning of our Government, we decided to incorporate 70% of the SDGs to the 2016-2019 Development Plan: Medellín Cuenta con vos. Not all objectives are included, since some are not applicable, as for instance, the protection of oceans.
Medellín met the universal call of the United Nations Program to put an end to poverty, protect the planet and guarantee that all people enjoy peace and prosperity.
Our Development Plan makes up the city’s route map and contains a work agenda focussed on persons, prosperity, peace, the planet and its partnerships, the five thematic focuses defined by the UN that answer to the three dimensions which make up sustainability: social, economic and environmental.
70% of the Sustainable Development Goal indicators are incorporated to the 2016-2019 Development Plan.
The focus on people covers five of the SDGs: an end to poverty, zero hunger, health and welfare, quality of education and gender equality. We have made significant advances in this sense. For example, Education is the Development Plan line with the highest allotted budget. This is due to our conviction and need that children achieve their dreams within the framework of legality, that children become “experts” but in the realm of medicine, science and art, that they are educated personally and professionally and contribute to the economic and social development of the city.
Among the main advances are the increase in coverage of the Buen Comienzo (Good Start) Program, which went from 69.2% in 2015 to 78.7% in 2017, and the decrease in illiteracy rates and school desertion. In addition, there is an evident improvement in the quality of education in schools, an increase in scholarships for undergraduate education and 300 scholarships for masters programs for our teachers between 2017 and 2019. Moreover, UNESCO recognized Medellín as a Learning City, integrating it to a group of a mere 14 Latin American cities that stand out for their efforts in achieving quality education along the life of their inhabitants.
The goal is for Medellín to reach, in 2030, the Sustainable Development Goals that were globally defined, for which a city agenda has been made hand-in-hand with the private sector and academia.
In this focus of Prosperity, associated to economic development and to which other SDGs are linked: accessible and non-polluting energy, decent employment and economic growth, industry, innovation and infrastructure, reduction of inequality and sustainable cities and communities, the city has a public policy for economic development that is supported by knowledge as a starting point for productivity, generation of employment and improvement in competitiveness. Proof of this is that the city currently invests 2.14% of its Gross Domestic Product in activities of science, technology and innovation. Our goal was to reach 3% in 2021 but we will surely meet that goal prior to that.
With regards to the focus of Peace, the world is witness to our efforts to overcome the past to building a just society that is inclusive and violence-free. This is why we have begun an ethical fight against illegality and criminal activities, which has been showing results. Notwithstanding, we are convinced that social investment is key and that transformation is achieved from within people and families, which is why we have been giving, hand-in-hand with my wife, Margarita, workshops in positive discipline and rearing in the most vulnerable zones in the city.
This sustainability agenda is an opportunity to articulate efforts among public and private institutions and civil society, thus improving the quality of life of people.
In the Planet thematic focus, sustainable mobility projects are our priority because they will enable us to improve the quality of the air we breath. We have advanced in renovation of vehicles, entry of electric cabs and the first articulated bus working with electric energy. We have increased the number of eco-stations, invested more than COP$76,000 million in the adaptation of bike routes, COP$298,000 million in the Picacho Metrocable and COP$45,000 million in the 30 green corridors in the city.
In the Partnership focus, we are clear in the knowledge that these are key for the development of the city and must be centered on the needs of the most vulnerable population. On 2016 and 2017, Foreign Direct Investment totalled USD 583 million and resources for cooperation amounted to USD 12.8 million. Ten South-South cooperation partnerships have been established and 52 projects have benefitted from the agreements for international cooperation.
We know these achievements are significant but are also aware that this is a long term process which began in previous years and to which we have given continuity. However, there is still much work to do. Notwithstanding, we are satisfied, because each invested resource corresponds to the Development Plan and the route map that was created with responsibility and stemming from the diagnosis of a city which began a transformation process, but that must keep working so that these achievements render the well-being of the population.
Of the 231 indicators within the Sustainable Development Goals – SDGs – and the 200 outcome indicators that are part of the Medellín Cuenta con vos (Medellín Counts on You) 2016-2019” Development Plan, there are two indicators that are fundamental for the Agency for Cooperation and Investment of Medellín and the Metropolitan Area. These two are the contribution from our task, two challenges that significantly affect the economic and social development of the city and impact the achievement of results of the 2030 Agenda: “amount of national and foreign investment reported for development and competitiveness” and “amount of national and international technical and financial cooperation received.”
Although these two indicators are directly associated with SDG 17, “Partnerships for the goals,” their impact is also reflected on five more objectives: 4. Quality education; 8. Decent work and economic growth; 9. Industry, innovation and infrastructure; 10. Reduction of inequalities, and 11. Sustainable cities and communities.
Our goals in nationally and internationally managed cooperation and in attracting foreign investment, as well as the actions we take going forward in the search for the internationalization of the City-Region, reflect our commitment to the contribution toward the improvement of the quality of life of the community, regarding the economic and social development of Medellin and the region. We are achieving this through the articulation of national and international actors with whom cooperation and investment partnerships are consolidated.
Directly, the actions carried out by the Agency in meeting these challenges seek the social development of the territory with equity, inclusion and sustainability.
Our task is putting Medellín on the global scene in a positive way, highlighting its advantages and competencies, generating trust and working together with international organizations, promoting local and global relationships. The Agency also showcases the city in different scenarios to promote and stimulate investment. This initiative leads to materializing of results such as the exchange of experiences and knowledge, capturing technical and financial support, generation of quality employment, qualification of human talent, development and strengthening of physical and technological infrastructures, economic growth and improvement of the quality of life of the inhabitants.
At ACI Medellín, we understand the dimensions of this global commitment and the significant impact we have on achieving this collective goal that erases the borders between countries and shows us how to walk hand in hand. For this reason, we have assumed the challenge with total responsibility, a sense of belonging and, above all, with a deep love and respect for our city, the region and the country.
Federico Gutiérrez Zuluaga, Mayor of Medellín, accompanied by Manuel Olivera, regional director for Latin America of C40 presented the planning framework to develop the Climate Action Plan of Medellín to the members of the Metropolitan Environmental Council – CAM. This plan will guide the adaptation and mitigation actions against climate change in the city – region until 2020.
C40 Cities is an international network which connects 100 cities around the world. They combine efforts to take actions for climate and lead the way for a healthier and more sustainable future.
Medellín was included in a prioritized list of cities to receive technical assistance by C40 for its progress in initiatives related to the protection of the environment such as electric mobility, the air quality pact and green corridors. A Climate Action Plan compatible with the Paris Agreement is expected by the middle of the second semester of 2019.
The capital of Antioquia joined the C40 in 2016. Since then, the Environment Secretariat of the Medellín Mayor’s Office and the Agency for Cooperation and Investment of Medellín and the Metropolitan Area coordinate the city’s participation in the Network.
“I am convinced that taking action against climate change is no longer an option, it is imperative. Therefore, Medellín has made great progress in this purpose. The Pact for Air Quality, our electric mobility strategy, the creation of green spaces, among others, are some of the projects that demonstrate our commitment and that of our citizens to the city’s environment. Let’s continue working together for our cities, proposing great actions aiming to meet the Paris Agreement,” said the Mayor of Medellín, Federico Gutiérrez Zuluaga.
Since May this year, Mayor Federico Gutiérrez represents Medellín and is vice president of this international network. Also, together with the Metropolitan Region of Santiago de Chile, the city represents the Latin America chapter.