Building together sustainable cities for the future: a global challenge

Ph. Busakorn Pongparnit vía GETTY IMAGES

Juan Notaro

FONPLATA Executive President

The development of sustainable cities is a priority, and FONPLATA is working with its member countries in order to achieve the proposed goals.

Besides what one can see at a glance, statistics confirm that the urban population in our member countries (Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Paraguay, and Uruguay) has increased, on average, from 47.7% to 86.1% between 1950 and 2019, and it is expected to reach almost 90% in 2030.

Cities are communication and technology centers. They also offer opportunities to study and work, access to basic services, as well as leisure, entertainment, and tourism options. Therefore, it is only natural that they are big attraction poles for migrants.

Nevertheless, all these advantages go hand in hand with big challenges, such as: how to manage the territory, how to provide services to everybody, and a more recent but equally important concern, how to face the effects of climate change.

This is a complex commitment that requires the participation and commitment of many institutions and persons, above all, it is a task that cities cannot face individually. It must be a joint and global effort.

Fortunately, we already have tools like the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which enabled the New Urban Agenda aiming at promoting more inclusive, compact, and connected cities through urban planning and design, proper governance, clear rules and regulations, and proper management of urban economies.

We are aware that these countries need support, ideas, and funding to implement this ambitious agenda. Therefore, FONPLATA is committed with its member countries to achieve the proposed goals.

For instance, in Argentina, we are contributing to the resilience of the cities affected by floods caused by the “El Niño” weather phenomenon, and funding municipal development plans that base city management on land-use management.

Together with Bolivia, we are working to repair and adjust urban roads by placing tiles. This program also generates job opportunities to the target communities. Besides, we are funding the refurbishment of sport and leisure areas, contributing to develop an urban environment with a stronger focus on people.

Our project portfolio in Brazil is almost entirely focused on urban development programs that include the refurbishment and revitalization of public areas, such as linear parks focused on preserving biodiversity, and services for urban ecosystems; streets and avenues paving and widening to enhance traffic flow and safety.

In Paraguay we have funded the vulnerability reduction of the Central and Metro power systems by building transformer substations and enlarging the high-, medium-, and low-voltage power lines.

In Uruguay, our programs are focused on reducing the risk of environmental pollution in small- and medium-sized cities through the optimization of wastewater treatment plants.

In addition, we are encouraging member countries to demand projects that contribute to the sustainable development of the cities by granting funding facilities for:

  • Intelligent energy and energy efficiency;
  • Effectiveness in the use of natural resources (mainly water for human consumption or for urban gardens);
  • Urban biodiversity preservation; and
  • Projects solving issues in metro regions, emphasizing peri-urban areas, which concentrate urban poverty.

In other words, we must start building the sustainable cities of a rather near future. FONPLATA is ready to support this imperative global challenge.

Text published in Juan E. Notaro’s monthly column in the Huffington Post.