The culmination of over a year of capacity building and technical assistance led by WRI México to improve bankability of green infrastructure initiatives in the country

Members of TheCityFix Labs México cohort and WRI staff together

Members of TheCityFix Labs México cohort and WRI staff in February. Photo by WRI México 

On November 19, six Mexican cities pitched their green infrastructure projects to an audience of more than 250 potential partners, funders, investors and government representatives from throughout Latin America. This virtual event led by WRI México marked the culmination of a year and a half of capacity building and technical assistance through TheCityFix Labs México, with support from the Cities4Forests initiative, to help local governments develop business cases for financing green infrastructure projects. TheCityFix Labs is an initiative of WRI Ross Center for Sustainable Cities with support from the Citi Foundation.

During the pitch day, six cities of the TheCityFix Labs cohort – Cancun, Hermosillo, Xalapa, Merida, Cholula and Guanajuato – gave four-minute presentations to a panel of finance experts representing different investor profiles, from philanthropy to the private sector. The finance experts provided feedback, questions and recommendations to help the cities improve their business cases and strategic messaging to continue progress toward project bankability.

The event featured a keynote address from WRI México Executive Director Adriana Lobo as well as other high-level speakers, including Eduardo Piquero, Director of MexiCO2, and Vanessa González, Director of Social and Ecological Development at Citibanamex. Speakers highlighted the importance and urgency of investing in natural infrastructure for better urban climate resilience and to help cities work with nature, not against.

“For WRI, it is essential to tackle the barriers that delay the implementation of green infrastructure, and to innovate in financing models to achieve implementation at the scale that our cities require,” said Adriana Lobo, Executive Director at WRI México.

At the event’s close, a jury of high-level representatives from Citibanamex, FEMSA Foundation, the International Finance Corporation and the Green Finance Advisory Council voted on the project they would be most likely to invest in based on the cities’ pitches. They chose Guanajuato’s proposal to install photovoltaic systems in infrastructure on educational campuses. In a separate vote, the audience chose Hermosillo’s project, which would create an accessible, community-focused public space through ecological improvement of the Cerro de la Campana area.

The audience included government officers from across the Latin American region, academics from local and international universities, and stakeholders from multilateral agencies and the financial sector, including GIZ, AFD, ECLAC, UN, IDB, World Bank, IFC, BlackRock, J.P. Morgan, HSBC, BBVA and many others from development banking institutions and private equity funds. Reactions from both the general audience and the finance experts highlighted the originality and high potential impact of the projects, with their focus on connecting city-specific problems with innovative financial solutions.

Completion of TheCityFix Labs México brings these green infrastructure projects closer to fruition and paves the way for new strategic partnerships with the financial sector.

“TheCityFix Labs complements other Citi initiatives, where we seek to drive sustainable infrastructure projects,” said Vanessa González, Director of Social and Ecological Development at Citibanamex. “This shows the benefits generated through the collaboration of the public, private and social sectors.”

The recorded session can be found here.

Learn more about TheCityFix Labs.