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Local Perspectives – Smart Cities on the Climate Frontlines

Strategic Dialogue

Programming Partner: CC35



  • The Paris Agreement sets out a global framework to avoid dangerous climate change. In compliance with the commitments made in this agreement, the Paraguayan government has developed the Poverty, Reforestation, Energy & Climate Change (PROEZA) project, which combines objectives of poverty reduction, reforestation, use of renewable energy, and fight against climate change based on an integrated strategy of sustainable development. According to Minister Carlos Pereira, the project intends to implement reforestation projects in which the main agents are people living in poverty and extreme poverty conditions. Pereira emphasized the need to make a paradigm shift to articulate the restoration of ecosystems, the increase of environmental services fees, and the generation of employment in vulnerable regions. Also, Pereira highlighted the importance of a participatory and inclusive policy-making process to ensure all stakeholders in the urban planning and construction sector can use their voices. 

“We need to look for a capitalist system that has a meaningful purpose. In our companies we must not only focus on maximizing profits for our shareholders but we also need to take into account the interest of all stakeholders, and we have to consider planet Earth as one of those stakeholders,” Alejandro Anderlic

  • In regards to building resilient infrastructure to address climate change, Mayor Ruben Muñoz Alvarez explained how La Paz is taking advantage of its caloric potential for the production of renewable energy. The municipality’s photovoltaic park is profitable and is a success story that can be replicated in other countries. Mayor Ernesto Muyshondt added that San Salvador will also implement a pioneering photovoltaic energy project in 2021 that intends to be profitable. This and other projects—such as a waste separation center that intends to reduce the amount of material that reaches the city’s landfill—have been designed thanks to public-private partnerships.
  • Considering inter-sectoral collaboration, Muyshondt highlighted the great advantage of public-private partnerships, with the private sector providing capital, allowing the local government to reduce the amount of money it must borrow to carry out a project. On the other hand, Alejandro Anderlic spoke about the pilot project that Salesforce is developing with the Inter-American Development Bank within the Leticia Pact framework. The project’s goal is to coordinate government leaders, environmental organizations, and sponsors to link the company’s cloud with geolocation data that leads to identifying the most deforested areas of the Amazon jungle. Finally, Camilo Patrignani claimed that public-private associations must be diversified. Despite there not being many public-private partnerships in Colombia and Panama, he admitted that he feels optimistic because he has the perception that interest for collaboration is rising.
  • “Public-private partnerships maintain the stability that cities require to continue their path to sustainability and that industry needs to be sustainable and competitive at the same time,” Camilo Patrignani

  • According to Mayor Muyshondt, in order to promote public-private partnerships, there must be a strong regulatory framework that guarantees the continuity of contracts despite changes of government. This is key to gaining the trust of investors. Patricia Ahumada Verdugo reiterated the importance of a good regulatory framework, adding that, while political will is fundamental for the continuity of environmental projects, the vigilance of civil society is also necessary. Furthermore, Ahumada spoke about the importance of generating laws that support environmental sustainability objectives in order to execute policies more effectively.
  • Achieving effective solutions to the climate change crisis requires thinking locally, providing the right incentives, and having a cultural paradigm shift in companies. To further this point, Patrignani emphasized that there is no need to copy the European auction model, but rather it is important to formulate solutions in each local government. Furthermore, Anderlic acknowledged that tax exemption is a good way to artificially encourage the use of clean energy. Besides, he stated that the leadership model in companies must be collaborative so that stakeholders get to support each other.


Key takeaways & next steps:

  • There needs to be an extreme sense of urgency from all of society to fight climate change, particularly given that there is no “Planet B”. 
  • From a public sector perspective, administrations need to revise regulatory frameworks to more effectively establish fiscal incentives, but also fines and penalties—to replicate the “carrot and stick” effect. 
  • Partnerships are at the heart of successfully addressing climate change. Working in silos will be detrimental to the cause.


Session Speakers