Triangular Cooperation Mexico, Colombia, Germany: Promoting sustainable social housing development

Project description

Title: Strengthening spatial planning policies and instruments for sustainable housing development
Commissioned by: German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)
Country: Mexico, Colombia, Germany
Lead executing agency: In Mexico: Mexican Agency for International Development Cooperation (AMEXCID); In Colombia: Presidential Agency of International Cooperation (APC)
Overall term: 2019 to 2021


Thanks to their triangular cooperation arrangement, Colombia, Mexico and Germany are able to engage in an intensive exchange of knowledge and experiences. 

Colombia is considered a Latin American role model for urban planning, above all due to its adoption of Law 388 in 1997 which requires municipalities to prepare a long-term municipal land use plan (Plan de Ordenamiento Territorial – POT). POTs are integrated development plans that align federal and municipal planning with respect to physical, spatial, economic and ecological aspects.

The objective is to share Mexico’s good international practices in this field, with a view to promoting the technical and financial aspects of eco-friendly social housing, for example. Its wide variety of programmes and projects (such as ECOCASA and HIPOTECA VERDE) means Mexico has access to a wealth of knowledge on developing, devising and implementing funding programmes and financing mechanisms. From 2009 to the present day, it has been able to build more than one million houses with energy-efficient and water-saving technology, improve residents’ thermal comfort and, in the long term, will also reduce greenhouse gas emissions. In Mexico, urban planning is governed by the General Law on Human Settlements, Land Management and Urban Development (LGAHOTDU) which accords major responsibility to municipalities by empowering them to create, approve and manage zones in population centres within their territory.

Various results were achieved between 2012 and 2016 in the project on Sustainable Housing through Energy Efficiency and Environmental Protection. Cooperation between Germany and Mexico and Colombia now aims to continue this work.


The mechanisms used for urban planning, financing and for the extensive assessment of eco-friendly social housing in Colombia and Mexico are strengthened. These countries engage in an intensive exchange of knowledge and experiences.


The project promotes the exchange of tried-and-tested practices, policies and instruments for urban development and eco-friendly social housing. Since Mexico mainly needs support with territorial planning and urban development, the project is developing capacity to assist municipalities with the preparation of local programmes for urban development, sustainable infrastructure and land management. This work is based on Colombia’s experience in this field.

The benefits of triangular cooperation for Colombia include the introduction of measurement tools and financial incentives for building and purchasing homes constructed in compliance with sustainability criteria. This is an area in which Colombia can leverage Mexico’s experiences.

Thanks to the new instruments and potential financial incentives for managing climate change in housing, cities and other regions, the project is assisting Colombia in implementing its sustainable buildings policy (CONPES 3919 of 2018). The project’s proposed strategies will lead to a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions in both countries and thus enable Colombia and Mexico to honour their international commitments to combat climate change. The project also promotes sustainable housing, supports urban development and fosters economic growth in both countries.

Additional information