ECLAC organizes side event "Cities Collaborating Towards Circularity: Latin American and European Experiences", in the framework of the C40 World Mayors Summit
The United Nations Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC), together with the Government of the City of Buenos Aires, C40 and ENEL, organized the side event "Cities Collaborating Towards Circularity: Latin American and European Experiences", in the framework of the C40 World Summit of Mayors, held in the City of Buenos Aires, Argentina, from October 19 to 21, 2022.
As part of a space for the exchange of experiences and ideas, the side event "Collaboration of cities towards circularity: Latin American and European experiences", promoted collaboration and cooperation between key actors, to value initiatives in the circular economy and disseminate progress towards a new model of restorative and regenerative development in the region. This transformation requires a collective effort among cities, which play an essential role in the transition to circularity. This intention is expressed in the Declaration of Circular Cities of Latin America and the Caribbean, signed on October 25, 2021 prior to COP 26, and in the Declaration of European Circular Cities, understood as mechanisms to foster collaboration between stakeholders, institutions, academia, local governments, the private sector and civil society, with the possibility of identifying obstacles, challenges, opportunities and synergies.
The event was attended by Joseluis Samaniego, Director of the Sustainable Development and Human Settlements Division of ECLAC, who led the panel discussion, the Minister of Public Space and Urban Hygiene of the Government of the City of Buenos Aires, Clara Muzzio, Antonio Muñoz Martínez, Mayor of Seville Spain (recorded message), Jheydi Quiroz, Deputy Mayor of Lima, Maurizio Bezzeccheri, General Manager of Enel Americas, Carolina Piedrafita, Senior Urban Development and Housing Specialist, Inter-American Development Bank (IADB) (virtual participation), Vanessa Esslinger, from the Circular Economy Coalition Latin America and the Caribbean (virtual participation), and Rodrigo Perpetuo, Executive Director for South America of ICLEI.
ECLAC has been examining how the current development model requires a progressive structural change in production and consumption patterns, capable of addressing the environmental, economic and social dimensions of sustainability. Thus, José Luis Samaniego, Director of ECLAC's Sustainable Development and Human Settlements Division, begins the dialogue by highlighting the potential of the circular economy, as a development approach, to conserve nature, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, generate growth, exploit local production capacities and close social gaps. In cities, this approach must incorporate the principles of the circular economy into the entire urban system, making it resilient and innovative.
In this way, the Declaration of Circular Cities of Latin America and the Caribbean contributes to the definition of a common vision and the dissemination of success stories, which were successively shared at the event. Recently, there is already a website for the Circular Cities Initiative, hosted by ECLAC's Urban and Cities Platform.
On the one hand, Maurizio Bezzeccheri, General Manager of Enel Americas, pointed out the importance of quantifying circularity in cities to monitor compliance with the objectives and facilitate access to financing, emphasizing the holistic nature of the circular economy, which goes beyond waste management, and the need to create cooperation networks. He also highlighted the ability of the circular economy to address social issues and the importance of climate governance to ensure the transition.
Subsequently, the Minister of Public Space and Urban Hygiene of the Government of the City of Buenos Aires, Clara Muzzio, referred to the programs and plans implemented by the city, as a signatory of the Declaration, especially the Climate Action Plan and the Circular Economy Strategy (the latter in its initial phase of development), highlighting the value of public-private partnerships, citizen participation, social inclusion policies and networks of cities for the circular economy.
Finally, Jheydi Quiroz, Deputy Mayor of Lima, closed the panel discussion by distinguishing some indispensable elements for the transition to the circular economy, namely planning, with a long-term vision, governance and democratization of environmental awareness, then describing the initiatives implemented by the city to consider these elements.
Based on the experiences shared during the panel, José Luis Samaniego concluded with an account of the most relevant lessons and highlighted the obligation to join efforts and connect each of the components that enable the transition to the circular economy, offering cities in the region the opportunity for inclusive and sustainable growth.