In Ecuador, 74 per cent of the population already live in urban areas, over half of them in medium-sized cities. In the coming decades, these ‘intermediate’ cities will see further rapid growth. The way Ecuador responds to the challenges and opportunities of urban development is therefore crucial to the country’s wider economic, social and environmental development.
The pace at which Ecuador’s urban areas are growing creates challenges for which intermediate cities in particular are insufficiently or not at all prepared. The consequences are relatively high social inequality coupled with disproportionately high resource consumption and CO2 emissions. Another factor is that cities are encroaching ever further on rural areas, destroying farmland and damaging the environment.
For these reasons, sustainable urban development is now an established priority on international agendas. In 2015, the international community adopted the 2030 Agenda, committing itself to achieving 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). SDG 11 specifically focuses on making cities inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable. Other SDGs have also integrated the urban dimension. The 2030 Agenda serves as the framework for the agreements described below.
The Paris Climate Agreement adopted in 2015 represents an important step forward in our common fight against the global threat of climate change. Its goal is to create the conditions for a climate-friendly and sustainable transformation of the global economy. The agreement highlights the role of cities as key actors in the drive to reduce greenhouse gases and implement climate change adaptation measures. In order to achieve the global objectives, each country pledges to adopt and implement nationally determined contributions (NDCs).
In October 2016, the international Habitat III conference was held in Quito, Ecuador. The outcome of this conference was the New Urban Agenda, which is intended to serve the international community as a source of ideas and proposed actions to guide future development plans.
The actual implementation of these international agendas presents the countries which signed up to them with considerable challenges, and Latin America is no exception. In this context, the Ecuadorian-German cooperation programme makes a key contribution by promoting sustainable urban development and the implementation of climate-friendly restructuring processes in Ecuador.
Ecuador is implementing sustainable urban development policies in line with the 2030 Agenda, the New Urban Agenda and the Paris Climate Agreement.