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.”