The Colombian town of Medellín was distinguished on Thursday for its green corridors project with one of the Cities Awards granted within the framework of the C40 Climate Leadership Group Summit, which is held in Copenhagen.
Medellín prevailed in the category "The future we want is resilient", in which projects from New Delhi, Portland (United States) and Quezon City (Philippines) also competed.
The plan, promoted three years ago, consists of planting trees, shrubs, palms and green coverings to create a network of interconnected vegetation consisting of 18 road axes, 12 stream basins and the Nutibara, El Volador and La Asomadera hills.
That network has helped improve urban biodiversity, absorb air pollutants, capture a significant amount of CO2 and reduce the "island heat effect" (higher temperature in the urban center than in the periphery), said the jury of the awards .
The ruling noted that they are a sample of how integrated and nature-based policies can have a "far-reaching" impact on the local and global environment, while improving the lives and well-being of its citizens.
The mayor of Medellín, Federico Gutiérrez, was grateful to collect the prize and recalled that the Antioquia capital has gone from being the most violent city in the world in 1991 to one of the most innovative in Latin America.
The runners have helped lower Medellin's average temperature by two degrees since 2016 and municipal authorities expect a reduction of four or five degrees over the next 28 years.
The project, which is part of the "Una Medellín verde para vos" plan, has also enabled 75 citizens from disadvantaged backgrounds to be trained to become gardeners and plantation technicians, helping to plant 8,800 trees and palm trees over an area of 65 hectares.
In addition to Medellin, Calcutta (India) was awarded in the mobility category; Seoul (renewable energy), Accra (committed citizens), London (clean air), San Francisco (USA, transforming change) and Canton (green technologies).
The awards, which have awarded 40 environmental projects since 2013, are named after Bloomberg Philanthropies, the foundation that covers the charitable activities of former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, chairman of the C40 board and UN special envoy for cities and change climate.
The summit of mayors of the group of cities against climate change C40 brings together representatives from more than 90 cities, politicians, businessmen and scientists until Saturday to agree on concrete measures with the aim of reducing polluting emissions.
In a forum held hours earlier in the framework of that summit, entitled "Partnerships for the future we want," Gutierrez said there are no "magic formulas" and that it is necessary to work as a team among all social sectors and concentrate efforts on issues of Education and innovation
Gutierrez defended that without local action, there is no global impact, and that cities are economic and social engines of the countries.
"It is important to take joint actions and take advantage of private initiatives, but we must understand that it is not only a change in technology, a cultural change is urgent. That is not only achieved between the State and the private sector, civil society is needed" , said.
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