Bringing sustainability to the Asunción metropolitan area

Project description

Title: A joint innovative solution for the sustainability of the Asunción metropolitan area
Commissioned by: German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)
Country: Paraguay (recipient country), Mexico (southern donor), Germany (traditional donor)
Project partners: PARAGUAY: Secretaría de Desarrollo Agrario, Territorial y Urbano (SEDATU)/Secretariat of Agrarian, Land, and Urban Development, MEXICO: Secretaría de Desarrollo Urbano y Ecología (SEDUE) del Estado de Chihuahua/Secretariat of Urban Development and Ecology (SEDUE) of the State of Chihuahua
Lead executing agency: PARAGUAY: Secretaría Técnica de Planificación (STP) – Technical Secretariat for Economic and Social Development Planning (STP), MEXICO: Agencia Mexicana de Cooperación Internacional para el Desarrollo (AMEXCID)/Mexican Agency for International Development Cooperation (AMEXID)
Overall term: 2018 to 2020


By 2050, 85 per cent of the world's population will be living in cities and metropolitan areas. Rapid urbanisation has its consequences: rising air pollution, worsening traffic congestion and increasing quantities of waste, combined with a lack of services, infrastructure and means of transport. In this regard, and in light of the implications of climate change, it is important to build the resilience of citizens to vulnerability.

Innovative initiatives help in strengthening urban resilience in metropolitan areas. Actors with experience of innovation and sustainable urban development come together to network and share best practices.

Greater Asunción comprises of 1,029 square kilometres, 2,198,662 inhabitants (as of 2016) and faces a multitude of urban challenges. These are mentioned in the ASU VIVA (Living Asunción) plan developed by the Asunción municipality and include civic participation, waste management and mobility. These key issues offer opportunities for the public authorities, the private sector, universities and civil society actors to work together on urban innovations.

Mexico and its municipalities are familiar with many of these challenges and have already gathered extensive experience and several success stories in terms of innovation and joint urban design processes. This has yielded sustainable, scalable (technological and/or societal) innovations that are specifically, but not exclusively, focused on solving urban problems. With representatives from local governments, civil society and private sector initiatives, four Mexican cities and one federal state – Cozumel, Puebla, Saltillo and Zapopan as well as the State of Chihuahua – are contributing their experiences to the Asunción metropolitan area.

By virtue of its sustainable urban development programmes, GIZ Mexico has experience in the areas of waste reduction and efficient resource use, as well as in strengthening civil society to help frame an inclusive state environmental policy. It is also contributing its experience as to how cities can increase their resilience through innovative mobility solutions and how urban biodiversity can be both preserved and utilised at the same time.


With the participation of civil society, the public and private sectors, the Asunción municipality is in a position to manage appropriate framework conditions and initiatives for jointly designing innovations with a focus on the sustainability of the city and the metropolitan area.


The triangular cooperation offers opportunities for testing, innovation and leadership in the transformation towards sustainable development. This is achieved by the Mexican partners passing on their knowledge, best practices and experiences to the Paraguayan partners.

As the joint learning process forms the core of the project, GIZ is supporting this exchange with the provision of expert advice on methods for joint designs, innovation, city development, mobility and waste management. Furthermore, regular visits are planned to the recipient country (Paraguay) as well as to the southern donor country (Mexico) for raising awareness and sharing best current practices and experience. The exchange will also be enriched by the participation of experts and representatives from German initiatives.

It is through such initiatives that cities and metropolitan areas can pave the way for sustainable innovations and can unfold considerable potential for achieving an impact. For this purpose, Mexico is passing on its relevant experience as to how promoting innovation can be a catalyst for sustainable development at both the local and regional level (Zapopan). It also illustrates how cooperation with civil society can help make public spaces cleaner (Saltillo). The experience the State of Chihuahua offers regarding mobility is also one of Mexico’s contributions to sustainable urban development in Greater Asunción.

Germany has extensive experience in decentralisation and in involving civil society, universities and the private sector in the planning and implementation of public measures, particularly at the regional and local levels. Dialogue and coordination between local actors are fundamental characteristics of political culture. Different best practices show how this dialogue can be strengthened by on-site and online offerings. These include, for example, the Yellow List of Social Innovations in Hamburg and the Social Impact Lab Leipzig.

Additional information