This Monday, June 6th, the Ministry of Environment and Energy (MINAE), the National System of Conservation Areas (SINAC) and German development cooperation GIZ launched “Ciudad Verde” (Green City) as part of World Environment Day Aiming to transform the urban planning of the Greater Metropolitan Area (GAM).
In this way, cities can develop in harmony with nature and promote biological connectivity that benefits animal and plant species.
Green City is the result of the joint work of the Ministry of Environment and Energy (MINAE) and the National System of Protected Areas (SINAC) with public institutions, municipalities, the academic community, the private sector and civil society. It has the technical support of German development cooperation (GIZ) through the Interurban Biological Corridors – Biodiver City project.
Between 2018 and 2022 workshops, roundtables, validation meetings and a pilot plan were held to consolidate the initiative. Green City should be an instrument to achieve sustainable development in an urban context.
“This effort allows us to proactively combine the knowledge and experience of the private and public sectors to promote more harmonious, safer, more efficient, more responsible and greener cities that strike the right balance between the use of technology, modernity and natural and develop green environments,” said Vice President Stephan Brunner.
Green cities ultimately aim to maximize human well-being, resulting in low pollution, improved appropriation of urban space, positive interactions for recreation, physical and mental health, and an ecological approach.
He added: “Creation of spaces cleverly designed to harmonize the coexistence of species in green spaces and provide places for healthy recreation with access and facilities for all, promoting the well-being of citizens and the promotion of health. “
Likewise, these cities are accessible and inclusive cities, managed with the participation of their residents, where natural spaces and biodiversity abound and directly impact their resilience.
“Costa Rica has many things to be proud of and has many challenges ahead. We are exposed to climate change, but thanks to the actions and decisions taken, we are a less vulnerable country. I am pleased about the progressing projects such as EbA LAC and Green Cities, which give us a concrete design for implementation thanks to the great diagnosis,” assured Environment and Energy Minister Franz Tattenbach.
During the event, the details of the initiative were presented, including a set of indicators evaluated in a pilot plan with the municipalities of Mora, Curridabat and Tibás. This provides municipalities with a monitoring tool that they can use to identify needs and strategies to turn their cantons into green cities.
“As part of the World Environment Day celebrations, efforts should focus on motivating people and communities to become active players in sustainable development and environmental protection,” said Rafael Gutiérrez Rojas, Executive Director of SINAC.
Finally, a training program for policy makers and supporting organizations is planned so that they learn what Green City is and what tools are available to strengthen urban planning development.
The answer to how to build green cities lies in nature itself: the initiative proposes that by identifying vulnerable areas within cities, such as heat islands or flood-prone locations, we can analyze which ecosystem services are affected and what nature-based solutions are can help improve their condition.
Ciudad Verde’s goal goes beyond raising awareness of sustainable development. It aims to be an initiative linked to the day-to-day actions of urban development in cities, improving ecosystem services, enabling biological connectivity, giving back to nature the space it needs to thrive and creating the conditions for greater resilience to the Climate change creates what will lead to a better quality of life for people.
“The concept on which the Green City Initiative is built is based on the premise that city and countryside can – and must – coexist more harmoniously to ensure greater sustainability of the natural environment and of our own habitat as humans. The tools presented today will help steer the decisions we make about the territory towards a friendlier and more sustainable city that we wish for: a green city,” said Claus Kruse, director of the BiodiverCity project.