Mexico City, Mexico

Photo by SEDEMA

Implementation, Impact and Replicability

How does the initiative demonstrate evidence of a track record of success against pursued objectives?          

The Green Challenge of Mexico City established the goal of planting 10 million trees and plants. To date, 27,082,593 have been planted. This was possible at the confluence of the coordinated effort of all sectors. In short, thanks to:

  • Productive improvement of the three government nurseries, which went from having an annual production of less than 500 thousand specimens in 2018 to more than 10 million in 2021.
  • “Altépetl” program which financially supports 4,155 brigade members from rural communities who carry out conservation activities and have planted 16.9 million specimens in conservation land, including tree planting on 16,505 hectares of forests and rivers. Altépetl has provided direct financial support to 37,741 people who carry out conservation and agroecological activities, with a positive impact on 128,319 rural inhabitants.
  • Participation of citizens and companies, in more than 170 participatory planting sessions in the 16 municipalities of Mexico City.
  • “Sowing Parks” program, with an investment of more than 2,800 million pesos (more than 135 million dollars) for the creation and rehabilitation of 16 large parks with new green areas and sports, recreational and cultural infrastructure on 500 intervened hectares (four urban parks, two urban forests, five protected natural areas, four linear parks on avenues and a canal).
  • “Gardens for Life” program, with 35 pollination gardening courses to 598 people, mainly women, and the creation of 535 gardens for pollinators which, together with other spaces, have added up to 608 new gardens of this type to the city.
How has the initiative had a ripple effect beyond the scope of the initiative itself, thereby demonstrating a change in the city’s and/or its partners’ way of working with plants?

The Green Challenge began in 2019 with the goal of planting 10 million trees and other plants. However, more and more social and private actors have joined and have contributed to the planting of more than 27 million specimens. Each intervention arouses the interest of the inhabitants and sublocal governments in replicating the green areas. Coordination between authorities as a main element of the initiative has made the attention to these needs increasingly efficient.

Different strategies have made it possible to generate a positive change in the relationship between the inhabitants and their natural spaces, causing cascading actions associated with capacity building and revegetation of the city. They are between them:

  • Strategy of communication and citizen involvement through participatory planting days in all the territorial demarcations of the city, every weekend for almost six months (June to November 2019) so that people feel the trees are theirs and plants that they planted, committing themselves to their care.
  • Caravan of Rural Producers of Conservation Land, created with the aim of generating itinerant points of sale within the urban area (shopping malls and public spaces) where producers of traditional crops, such as cempasúchil and poinsettia, market its products, increasing the percentage of sales and the valuation of these crops that are part of the national identity.
  • Creation of environmental educational materials: “Guide for the creation of pollinating gardens” (http://data.sedema.cdmx.gob.mx/flippingbook/mujeres-polinizadoras/mobile/index.html#p=1) and “Guide for urban family gardens” (https://www.sedema.cdmx.gob.mx/storage/app/media/GuiaHuertosUrbanosFamiliares.pdf), which became more relevant during confinement due to the pandemic,
How have other cities expressed interest in the initiative, or what potential does it have to interest other cities and be customised to their own circumstances?

The “green infrastructure” concept is of recent appearance in government agendas, and there are principles that make it a milestone for development planning, considering the increasing importance given to the natural environment, social impact and mitigation to climate change.

Mexico City is part of the Metropolitan Zone of the Valley of Mexico (ZMVM), in conjunction with parts of the State of Mexico and the state of Hidalgo. This region has socio-environmental and economic conditions that cannot be addressed in isolation. The State of Mexico created its first Green Infrastructure Plan in its capital (Toluca) and an historic collaboration with Mexico City will allow the rehabilitation of “Río de los Remedios” river (15.7 kilometers), which crosses territorial demarcations in both territories. The SGIP has also motivated the creation of a management program based on Green Infrastructure in two southeast Mexican cities: Campeche (Campeche) and Mérida (Yucatán).

This strategy provides a systemic vision that can be adapted to each city, since it is based on a combination of global conditions (loss of biodiversity, ecosystems, climate change) and local elements that can be developed locally (classification by regions, selection of native species, involvement of all sectors).

To achieve comprehensive interventions with socio-environmental benefits, as well as the widest possible scope, given the depth of the environmental crisis, it is desirable a combination of priority interventions defined by the government and an open call to all sectors that creates incentives in a context in which the effort and recognition belongs to all.

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