Cities are set to exceed their resource limit four-fold, says report

Latin American and Caribbean cities will consume two-to-four times more resources than what is considered sustainable if they do not increase the efficiency of their systems, warns a new report. 

The report, developed in collaboration with the International Resouce Panel (IRP), find that cities in these regions consumed between 12.5 and 14.4 tonnes of resources in 2015. 

By 2050, with a regional population of 680 million people, urban domestic material consumption could rise to up to 25 tonnes per capita, well above the 6-8 tonnes that the IRP considers under the limits of sustainability. 

‘Today, many of the people of Latin America and the Caribbean suffer the effects of unsustainable resource use: environmental degradation, lack of access to services and, as a result, a bleak future,’ said Jacqueline Álvarez, UNEP Regional Director for Latin America and the Caribbean.

‘Planning a sustainable transformation is critical if we aspire to live in harmony with nature, leave no one behind, and sustainably recover from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.’

high rise buildings during daytime

The reports authors are therefore calling on the region to pursue urban strategic intensification, which consists of increasing density of population, jobs and services in a set of urban centres well connected by efficient and affordable public transport. 

In addition, the region requires moe sustainable buildings, promoting circularity, improving water management and restoring freshwater ecosystems. 

According to the report, if action is implemented, cities in the region could reduce their annual material consumption to between 6 and 7 tons per capita by 2050.

Dr Marina Robles García, Environment Secretary, Mexico City commented: ‘Mexico City has considered circular economy as a basic line, transversal to all its policies.

‘Only with the sum of all the people and all the sectors will we make it possible to develop a circular economic approach that builds the true sustainability of this city, and the future of our planet.

‘This demonstrate the importance of local decisions with global impact, which is precisely the spirit of the New Urban Agenda. We are sure that the exchange of experiences, lessons learned, recommendations and reflections from all sectors regarding the benefits of circular economy opens up a great opportunity for us to continue on that path, as is the case of the report presented by UNEP.’




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