First meeting of Argentine cities for climate change in the context of COVID-19

Martes 30 de Marzo 2021

"How to tackle the climate emergency" was organized by the city of Buenos Aires with the support of the C40 Cities network. At the first virtual meeting, leaders from Argentine cities analyzed the challenges for a sustainable and green recovery after the pandemic.

Leaders from the cities of Buenos Aires, Salta, Mendoza and Santa Fe participated in the first meeting of the series "How to address the COVID-19 climate emergency", organized by the City of Buenos Aires with the support of the C40 network.

By videoconference, Manuel Olivera, C40 Regional Director for Latin America; Fernando Straface, Secretary General and Secretary for International Relations in Buenos Aires; Eduardo Macchiavelli, Secretary of the Environment in Buenos Aires; Bettina Romero, Mayor of Salta; Ulpiano Suárez, Mayor of Mendoza; and Emilio Jatón, Mayor of Santa Fe, analyzed the challenges presented by climate change and the opportunities that have emerged with the pandemic to accelerate the transformation of cities.

During the conversation, the mayors highlighted how some initiatives - such as the expansion of bicycle lanes and pedestrian-only areas - can lead to lasting transformations that contribute to reducing carbon emissions. Furthermore, they also highlighted that the pandemic contributed to generating a new awareness about our shared environmental problems.

”The pandemic reinforced the role of cities as key actors in solving global problems. Climate change is the next silent challenge, and that is why we must enhance diplomacy between local cities and build a shared vision on climate change,” said Secretary Straface.

Mayor Bettina Romero added: "The Covid crisis accelerated everything that has to do with sustainable mobility in our city," and pointed out that the Salta is promoting the creation of 22 new kilometers of bike lanes in coordination with grassroots organizations.

Manuel Olivera said: “The pandemic helped to reflect on what is urgent, and it is definitely urgent to work on the issue of climate change. We must ensure that incentives for investment and recovery funds create more just and inclusive societies and communities. That must be measured and verified before continuing to move immediately in stocks and investments.”

Later, Mayor Ulpiano Suárez commented that one of the first measures his administration had taken was actually in direct response to climate change: “We were sworn in in December 2019 and immediately in January we declared a climate emergency in the city of Mendoza. We were the first municipality to declare it”. Finally, Mayor Emilio Jatón referred to some of his city’s main environmental challenges and how his administration plans to address them: “Water management is where we have to put our greatest efforts. Using software we are creating a new monitoring system for reservoirs and pumping stations”.

This was the first session of the "Federal challenges in the post-COVID sustainable transition" series, which seeks to enhance the federal conversation on the urban climate agenda and the so-called "green recovery" from the pandemic.

During the cycle, leaders of Argentine cities will continue to reflect on the main challenges around a sustainable transition at the local level and will share best practices and methodologies to accelerate it. They actively seek to promote consensus building to later create a climate change agenda at the higher Federal level.

For more information on this cycle, contact cooperacionurbana@buenosaires.gob.ar.