Mexico City, Mexico

Photo by SEDEMA

Innovative and Collaborative Solution

How does the initiative show evidence of feasibility, including on-going financial and logistical support?

The financial and logistical feasibility is based on the following conditions and actions:

  • The Altépetl, Reto Verde and Sowing Parks programs are part of the ones that have been defined as priority programs by the Government of Mexico City, which entails institutional and financial support.
  • In the particular case of the Altépetl program, the historical investment of 1,000 million pesos per year to attend to conservation land stands out, which represents an increase of 300% in relation to the annual investment that was destined for this area of the city before of 2019.
  • A collaboration that we generated with the Finance Initiative for Biodiversity (Biofin) of the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), for the design of financing solutions that will improve the government’s capacities to spend public resources more efficiently and maximize profits.
  • The application of tax incentives to promote citizen and private sector participation in revegetation through the maintenance and creation of green areas, gardens for pollinators, and urban orchards.
  • The promotion of the establishment of community conservation areas (ACC, by its initials in Spanish) so that rural communities manage their own conservation areas with community management, based on training, technical advice and support.
In what ways is the initiative innovative?

The Green Challenge incorporates the directive of the current Government of Mexico City’s motto “City of Rights and Innovation” through:

  • Replacement of the traditional development paradigm that generated a dichotomy between the “city” and nature, as opposing elements; and it’s replacement with an integration paradigm that re-balances the artificial and natural components of the urban territorial system and evidence and intensify the relations between the urban area (41% of the territory) and the rural  and natural territory (59%), for which, the SGIP establishes the “rural-urban transition” region as one of the zones.
  • Rescue of native biodiversity. It promotes the identity of the inhabitants with their city and ecological interactions through gardens and corridors for pollinators and the “reconversion” of nurseries to diversify species.
  • Gardens for pollinators. In response to the threat faced by pollinating animals due to the loss of habitat caused by urban growth and the use of pesticides in agriculture and green areas, we are creating a network of pollination corridors to increase the connectivity between urban and rural natural areas, in benefit of key animal species for pollination (birds, insects and mammals) and the production of food in rural territories.
  • The revegetation strategy was decentralized, calling for a participation scheme open to citizens and all sectors: more than 170 participatory planting days prior to the pandemic, “adoption” of green areas for their maintenance, donation of supplies for plantations and guides to promote the creation of green areas in the home (pollinating gardens and urban orchards).
How is the initiative supported by collaborative working across disciplines and sectors?          

Trans-sectoral and transdisciplinary work is essential for the effectiveness of interventions. The Green Challenge has involved the coordination of a large number of areas and specialists, more than 4 thousand brigade members from rural communities and neighbors, companies and organizations within the urban area:

  • International cooperation agencies, civil society, academic and research organizations that collaborated in the participatory design of Mexico City Climate Action Program (ELAC, by its acronym in Spanish) and the Strategy for the Conservation and Sustainable Use of Biodiversity in Mexico City (ECUSBE, by its acronym in Spanish).
  • Direction of Green Infrastructure, whose landscape architects, biologists and engineers design and advise the projects
  • Secretariat of Works and Services that executes works and maintains interventions in parks and main avenues
  • Commission of Natural Resources and Rural Development, whose forest engineers coordinate the work on the conservation land
  • Mexico City Water System, whose engineers and hydrologists lead the rescue of rivers
  • Governments of the 16 municipalities that are an essential channel of information and management on the conditions of their territory and the demands of neighbors
  • Secretariat of Education, Science, Technology and Innovation that collaborated in the project for the rescue of native species and pollinators of the Valley of Mexico
  • Digital Agency for Public Innovation, which designed the platform to show the progress of the Green Challenge in the city territory
  • Biologists and communicologists from the Executive Direction of Environmental Culture who produce guides and materials to promote green areas and the informed participation of citizens
How does the initiative demonstrate evidence of community support?          

Interventions have a very important social base in the planning, design, implementation, maintenance and evaluation processes.

Within the conservation ground:

  • There is broad support from the communities, since it is the rural communities themselves who carry out the revegetation activities, for which they receive financial compensation, equipment, training and support from the Secretariat of Environment of Mexico City.
  • The establishment of community conservation areas (currently 25 occupying 17,962 hectares) agreed upon and managed by the communities themselves is promoted, which guarantees their support for the application of management programs that are prepared with the support of the government.

In the 25 natural protected areas (21,709 hectares):

  • The advisory councils conformed by the public sector, academia, civil society organizations and neighborhood representatives are essential for decision-making and support in the management of these spaces.

In urban areas:

  • The neighborhood assemblies participate through the relationship with the municipal governments to give their opinion and, on occasions, participate in the interventions.
  • Neighborhood interest and participation has been key, thanks to them more than 170 workshops were organized in sites that were revegetated together with the neighbors themselves.
  • The academic community is essential for different projects. The Botanical Garden of the National Autonomous University of Mexico is an ally in the recovery of native species and the College of Postgraduates in the identification of causes of mortality and care plans for plant species.
  • Companies have invested to donate supplies (mainly tools) and adopt sites (essentially ridges that are maintained for one or two years).