27 Sep 2015
Cities in Puerto Rico Leading Sustainable Development

Many in Puerto Rico recognise the important role of cities in leading the sustainable development agenda at the local level and are keen to collaborate with city mayors to advance social, economic and environmental outcomes.

A number of leading cities in Puerto Rico are using innovative approaches to overcome challenges and advance sustainable economic development in their regions. Strategies to underpin these efforts include: responsible management and enhancement of the environment; renewable energies; mobility and building connectedness; urban renewal, particularly for historic sites; and embracing culture and heritage.

Cities Programme Deputy Director, Elizabeth Ryan recently visited Puerto Rico and presented at an event to bring together Puerto Rican Global Compact cities and partners from the private sector and civil society. This was followed by a number of city visits and meetings with mayors.

The meeting and trip was hosted by Globco, which represents Global Compact participants in Puerto Rico. Three municipalities have made the commitment to the Global Compact: Bayamón, Comerío and Mayagüez.  Another two municipalities, Ponce and Caguas, are in process of formalising their commitment. These cities will be working collaboratively with other partners in a network.

We warmly welcome these cities to the Global Compact Cities Programme.

Urban Environmental Project in San Juan – el Caño Martín Peña

The trip included a visit to el Caño Martín Peña and a meeting with the community. Formerly an informal settlement of some 25,000 people, el Caño Martín Peña is located in the heart of San Juan on the el Caño waterway, which is highly polluted and regularly floods into the community. Legal title has been achieved for most community members through a Community Land Trust that can also buy, build and sell houses. It is doing this with the houses in the flood vulnerable regions where families are given a new home in el Caño or the opportunity to move to another location. The community is highly active in environmental management, water monitoring and development of the area. Proyecto ENLACE is working to achieve the dredging of the 3.7 miles of el Caño Martín Peña and redevelopment of the eight communities that border the waterway.

Research support has since been secured from RMIT University through economists, Associate Professor Simon Feeny and Dr Alberto Posso, and an economic assessment project is being developed with ENLACE, the Interamerican University and Globco.

For more on el Caño Martín Peña, see: http://cano3punto7.org/nuevo/index.html
and YouTube video – ‘Agua Mala

More information

The overview report – Puerto Rico Cities and the United Nations Global Compact – the 2015 Running Start 

Connected Cities