Regional Overview SDG 11
Progress on the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development will be decided in cities, as more than half of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) have urban components. In Latin America and the Caribbean, where eight out of ten people live in cities, this reality implies great challenges, but also offers significant opportunities. Cities are the engines of economic growth; however, they are also the largest emitters of greenhouse gases, and their growth occurs in a context of great inequalities in the region's societies. Although the information available at the regional level on Goal 11 is rather scarce, an overview of its evolution suggests that, in aggregate terms, progress has been made, although it is still limited. The population living in precarious settlements (target 11.1), a situation that is consubstantial with urban growth in the region, has decreased in relative terms. However, this progress has stagnated and the future scenario is worrisome. Factors such as rising construction costs, reduced access to credit and difficulties in accessing long-term credit, as well as the loss of budgetary space, make access to housing more difficult for low-income households. In addition, we should add the impact of reduced economic activity, increased unemployment and migration, all of which make up a complex context for the near future. Access to a sustainable, quality public mobility service (target 11.2) is one of the major challenges facing the region. The loss of time and the resulting reduction in quality of life and productivity have a disproportionate impact on low-income households. This is also influenced by the expansion of the urban sprawl, which forces people to travel ever greater distances and, although it shows encouraging signs in relation to population growth, it is still far from presenting efficient patterns that would mitigate urban segregation. On the other hand, there is a positive trend toward improving air conditions in cities (target 11.6). Although, in light of the recently defined thresholds, there is a wide margin for improvement, there has undoubtedly been progress in the right direction.
- In a highly urbanized region such as Latin America and the Caribbean, public transportation is a fundamental element of social inclusion. An adequate public transport system improves access to employment, educational and cultural opportunities, while promoting the use and enjoyment of public spaces and services, especially in the case of the first three quintiles of the population. Therefore, policies that moderate the value of public transport have an important redistributive impact. These social benefits are in addition to the environmental benefits related to better incentives for the use of public and collective modes of transport, as well as more rational and intensive use of urban land.
- ECLAC has estimated that a 1 percentage point increase in construction sector growth would add 0.07 percentage points to GDP per capita growth. It is feasible to rebuild the urban economy under a new scenario that fosters higher productivity, with an emphasis on moving towards more sustainable and equitable urban economies that are better aligned with the Paris Agreement and the 2030 Agenda.