World Cities Day China Observance / Shanghai Award

Montevideo, Uruguay |  Updated:2023-11-08

Montevideo, the capital and largest city of Uruguay with a population of 1.38 million, is in the southern part of the country on the Rio de la Plata estuary. With 98.9% of its residents residing in urban areas, the highly urbanized coastal city concerned with climate change has developed a model of public participation in addressing flood risk and household waste collection.

Montevideo set up a comprehensive strategy based on compliance with the SDGs and the NUA to cut its carbon emission, improve its ecosystem, enhance its resilience to climate change and variability, and engage more stakeholders in addressing the challenges and impacts of climate change.

Then, the city rolled out a series of featured activities as follows.  

The Neighborhood Roundtables Program over-arched goals include fostering improved neighborhood coexistence, strengthening neighborly bonds, facilitating community organization and group dynamics, prioritizing territorial dynamics and everyday experiences in the design of public policies addressing social issues, and enhancing collaboration between state institutions and grassroots organizations. The program has successfully engaged and involved a total of 350 residents and local authorities in the various participation spaces and activities.

Montevideo also proposed the framework of the 1st Comprehensive Risk Management Plan spanning from 2020 to 2024. The authority established platforms for coordination among diverse stakeholders. These platforms facilitate community engagement and encourage residents to identify vulnerabilities and exposures related to the threat of flooding. The collective efforts have contributed to enhancing the overall resilience of the communities and their ability to cope with flood related challenges.

And, based on the use of motorized carts instead of animal-drawn carts for waste collection, the city strongly encouraged citizen participation in waste separation at the source. The authority incorporated heat maps, a geo-referencing tool where the geographic location information of services requested by residents regarding household waste collection is entered. The Montevideo Government also developed its own management system, which consists of a density diagram that reflects the distribution of these demands, allowing the identification and real-time management of the level of demand for these services in each area.

To sum up, by promoting responsible resource utilization, intelligent organization of services, social inclusion of residents, opportunities generation, and the preservation of biodiversity, these initiatives seek to engage the entire population of Montevideo in the pursuit of a greener and more sustainable urban environment.

Montevideo's resilience to climate change has been strengthened through its efforts to risk management, waste recycling, and other aspects of environmental responsibility, approaching low-emission and ecological targets, and its efforts to introduce citizen participation in shared governance, reflecting the goal of taking responsibility for addressing the challenges of climate change together.

In particular, the successful transition of informal waste pickers into formal workers through the "motocarros" initiative has yielded numerous positive outcomes, providing informal waste pickers, who are prevalent in many Latin American countries, with formal employment opportunities. By entering the formal sector, these individuals have gained access to social security and healthcare benefits, breaking the cycle of vulnerability for themselves and their families, and establishing a replicable model for developing countries in similar predicament.


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