As one of the world's largest emitters and a growing economy, Brazil has the potential to act as a global leader for nations transitioning to low-carbon economies. Such leadership must be viewed beyond geopolitical status; it is a strategy that will reward countries with social, economic and environmental gains.
Working with Brazil’s Ministry of Cities, WRI developed an easy-to-use method for cities to create plans for greater sustainable mobility. The method emphasizes public and non-motorized transport and community engagement, representing a major shift in Brazil’s urban planning. Successfully implemented plans will benefit millions of people in more than 3,000 cities.
In the last 15 years, Brazil’s public transport ridership dropped 15 percent, while the country’s car fleet nearly tripled and its motorcycle fleet grew five-fold. These trends exacerbate congestion and pollution and contribute to climate change. In 2012, after decades of unplanned urban growth and lack of investment in basic infrastructure, Brazil implemented the National Urban Mobility Policy, which requires cities with more than 20,000 residents to develop an Urban Mobility Plan to improve mobility and promote sustainable development. The law affects more than 3,000 cities and demands significant expertise to be successfully implemented.
Collaborating with Brazil’s Ministry of Cities, WRI drew on its experience in designing and implementing sustainable mobility projects to create a Seven Steps method for cities to use in developing Urban Mobility Plans. The method emphasizes the importance of public and non-motorized transport and outlines how to engage civil society in the planning process.
Officially endorsed and published by the Ministry of Cities in 2015, Seven Steps has been downloaded more than 10,000 times. WRI and the Ministry also offered over 20 workshops on the method, attended by representatives of more than 300 cities. WRI now provides direct support to 18 cities – home to 24 million people – in the development of their Urban Mobility Plans and projects through strategic planning and capacity-building events, training in civic engagement, and technical support on project implementation, particularly on non-motorized transport and public transport. The team also shares experiences and good practices from other cities.
Cities in Brazil are taking action to implement their Urban Mobility Plans and projects, reshaping congested, car-centric cities to favor active and public transport. As of August 2016, over 170 cities had already developed their plans. As a result, millions of Brazilian city dwellers will experience a safer, healthier, more inclusive and accessible urban environment. Examples of projects implemented to date include low-speed zones, expanded sidewalks, and new bus and cycling lanes. The process has changed the paradigm of urban mobility planning in Brazil by emphasizing community involvement from the outset and shifting from building roads for cars to building cities for people.
WRI convened government, business associations, and civil society organizations in Mexico to develop a model energy conservation code for buildings, endorsed by the government, which cities nationwide can adapt and adopt. WRI and partners also worked with Mexico City to elevate efficiency in construction regulations. Both changes will help save energy and money and improve health.
Mexico is experiencing a boom in residential and commercial construction. Nonetheless, the country set a target to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 22 percent below business as usual in 2030, while Mexico City aims for an even steeper cut of 30 percent below the 2000 level by 2020. Buildings account for nearly one-fifth of the nation’s energy consumption, so improving energy efficiency in buildings is central to achieving Mexico’s climate goals.
WRI helped launch and coordinates the Building Efficiency Accelerator (BEA), a global network of businesses, governments, and NGOs focused on rapidly increasing energy efficiency in buildings as part of the UN’s Sustainable Energy for All initiative. WRI convenes the Mexico City BEA, which identified the need for a national model code for building efficiency. WRI secured funding for the work and selected CASEDI – a professional association promoting green buildings – to adapt the International Energy Conservation Code, in partnership with the Ministry of Energy, the National Commission for the Efficient Use of Energy (CONUEE), ALENER (an industry association promoting energy efficiency), the British Embassy, the Danish Energy Agency, and WRI. Through the BEA, WRI also facilitated dialogue with Mexico City’s Secretary for the Environment and mayor to advance the publication of construction regulations on energy efficiency.
In 2016, the Ministry of Energy endorsed the new Energy Conservation Code for Buildings in Mexico and issued a guidance document on how cities can adapt and adopt the model code into local regulations for new commercial and residential buildings. These comprehensive standards include guidance on energy efficiency in building materials and equipment and building elements such as windows, insulation, ventilation, and lighting.
Mexico City announced updated construction regulations with enhanced provisions for efficient lighting and water heating. In line with the new Energy Conservation Code, WRI and the BEA have helped to develop broader energy efficiency provisions for the city’s construction regulations. Once published, these will position Mexico City as a model in adapting and adopting the Code and contribute to the city’s climate goals, air quality, and economic competitiveness. WRI and the BEA are now also helping Guadalajara and Mérida to adapt and adopt the Code.
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Research from the New Climate Economy finds that compact cities experienced faster economic growth from 2002-2012 than sprawled cities. The findings have huge implications for India’s future development.
Last week, 30,000 people gathered in Quito for Habitat III to adopt the New Urban Agenda, an influential vision for cities aimed at guiding national decision-making over the next 20 years while supporting the Sustainable Development Goals and the Paris Agreement on climate change. Going forward, what does the Quito meeting mean for urban leaders?
By 2050, nearly 70 percent of the world's population will reside in cities, increasing the size of the world's urban population by more than two-thirds. Cities will need to focus on building the right things to ensure this growth happens sustainably—so how can they pay for it?
Leaders from 167 countries today adopted the New Urban Agenda, the blueprint for creating sustainable, livable cities around the world. Following is a statement from Ani Dasupta, Global Director, WRI Ross Center for Sustainable Cities:
The Habitat III conference next week will see more than 45,000 leaders, decision-makers and experts sign into force the New Urban Agenda for sustainable cities. But the Agenda and the Habitat process don't stand alone -- going forward, they will be part of intensified efforts to achieve sustainable, equal development and combat climate change.