Sustainability Dispatch September-October 2023

Environment

Sustainability Dispatch July-August 2023

Welcome back to the Sustainability Dispatch!

The EC2 team was extremely busy these past 60 days. We launched a new sustainable shipping initiative, kicked off the work of Cities Forward with city representatives from all 24 participating LAC-US cities in Mexico, and held our 2-day Loreto 2050 workshop with community stakeholders in this locality in Baja California Sur. You can also find a podcast we recorded with CEMDA on the invisible marine pollution from ships; a newly published article by non-resident fellow Carlos Correa on the status of international climate finance as the countdown to the most important yearly climate summit begins; and the addition of three new interns that are joining the team for the next few months. Thanks for reading!

Our Recent Work

Sustainable Shipping Initiative Launched

After two years of work, mostly focused on ships’ scrubbers and their polluting discharges, we are expanding the scope of our work to promote the overall sustainability of shipping and ports in Latin America—with the invaluable help of a wide network of partners. Through thought-leadership, technical assessments, sharing of best practices, and multi-stakeholder convenings, we aim to advance actions that reduce the environmental impacts and carbon footprint of vessels and ports.

We are convinced that these actions not only help decarbonize the industry, but also make it more competitive globally.
Visit our new website to learn more!

Cities Forward Kickoff Summit

During the Denver City Summit of the Americas in April 2023, we announced a partnership with the U.S. Department of State, ICLEI-Local Governments for Sustainabilityand Resilient Cities Catalyst to launch Cities Forward, a flagship urban sustainability initiativeThis program is dedicated to assisting cities in Latin America and the Caribbean and U.S. create sustainable, inclusive, and resilient futures through project consultation, co-design, and knowledge sharing. In September, we co-convened a kickoff summit in Mexico, where city pairs began exploring ways to share knowledge and collaborate in addressing key sustainability priorities including responses to climate stresses and climate adaptation solutions. 

Loreto 2050 Project Workshop

The Loreto 2050 Assessment Study is an ambitious project aimed at building consensus around the main challenges and development trends that Loreto, Baja California Sur, will face as it continues to grow. In October, we held a two-day workshop with stakeholders representing local and municipal governments, tourism, academia and civil society, preceded by an evening reception where a wider audience of residents, experts and local government officials was able to view the series of maps that displayed the changes in urban infrastructure and population growth of the last 20 years.

Through a participative process lead by GeoAdaptive and hosted by EcoAlianza de Loreto, the IOA helped co-convene 42 local and regional experts to collect knowledge and identify concerns regarding resource use and management, zoning plans, terrestrial and marine conservation, climate-induced hazards, historical and cultural identity, among others. The results will serve as a baseline to inform stakeholders and government as they tackle urban development needs and challenges moving forward.

Observatory for Sustainable Taxonomies

Launched by the Climate Finance Group of Latin America and the Caribbean (GFLAC) and Clean Air Policy Center (CCAP) during the UN Latin America Climate Week in October 2023, the mission of the observatory is to encourage the development of sustainable finance taxonomies that are aligned with sustainable development goals, and promote regulated adoption based on environmental, social, and climate safeguards. It will monitor the landscape of taxonomies globally and regionally, to analyze and evaluate deficiencies and knowledge gaps in their development with a focus on LAC nations, as it aims to foster collaboration and knowledge sharing among countries and stakeholders. The EC2 is a founding board member and will participate in discussion spaces, contribute with research and thought-leadership, and facilitate stakeholder engagement and communication efforts within the region.

More on the topic…

In late September, the Technical Subgroup on Monitoring, Reporting, and Verification (SGT-MRV) of the Pacific Alliance conducted a virtual session titled ‘Sustainable taxonomies: a key tool to strengthen monitoring, reporting and verification of climate finance’. It garnered the active participation of approximately 30 technicians from the region and received support from CCAP and the IOA. Here, EC2 presented the published brief ‘Unlocking Sustainable Finance: Green and Sustainable Taxonomies’ and non-resident fellow Soffia Alarcón shared her thoughts on the challenges faced by firms and investors. You can read the press release here.

Gulf of California Monitoring

The Gulf of California’s longest-standing rocky reef monitoring program commemorates its 25th year of continuous scientific research through the collaborative efforts and leadership of the GCMP at the IOA, Scripps Institution of Oceanography, and the Centro para la Biodiversidad Marina y la Conservación. This initiative, launched in 1998, brings together a diverse cadre of scientists from the US and Mexico. Over 25 years, more than 600 rocky reefs in the Gulf of California have been monitored, over three million individual organisms representing nearly 800 species have been catalogued, and a database with over half a million records has been curated and is available through dataMares. From September 16th through October 15th, a team of 24 researchers and students completed a scientific expedition from La Paz, Baja California Sur to Bahía de Los Ángeles, in the northern part of the Gulf of California, documenting the status of rocky reefs and mangrove forests. 

The data collected will continue to improve our understanding of the ecological and oceanographic processes influencing the Gulf’s productivity, help identify conservation priority areas and assess the effectiveness of established MPAs, will allow us to analyze climate-induced changes in reef communities, and inform regional conservation initiatives.

Publications

From Bridgetown to Dubai: Where International Climate Finance Stands Today

This short brief by EC2 non-resident fellow Carlos Correa discusses the current state of international climate finance and the urgent need for increased funding to address the daunting magnitude of the climate crisis. We currently face a $700 billion funding gap for biodiversity, climate, and nature. It takes the reader through a short timeline of key moments that led us to where we are today, from the Bridgetown Initiative—promoted by Barbados Prime Minister Mia Mottley—to upcoming COP28 in Dubai, which will play a crucial role in setting the new climate finance goals.

EC2 in the News

New EC2 Team Members

As we undertake these two important new initiatives—Cities Forward and Sustainable Shipping—EC2 has added three awesome interns to our team. A warm welcome to all three!

Angela Solanilla
– Cities Forward Initiative –

Angela is a second-year graduate student in the School of Global Policy and Strategy at UCSD, specializing in environmental policy. With a background in economics and international relations and over five years of professional experience, Angela is committed to bridging the gap between science and policy. Her research interests revolve around sustainable development, particularly in areas such as food security, energy, waste management, the blue economy, and land use.  Through her academic and professional work, Angela is committed to creating a more resilient and environmentally responsible future.

Mariano Franco
– Sustainable Shipping –

Mariano Franco is a senior student at the Universidad Iberoamericana in Mexico City, currently in his seventh semester of his Bachelor’s Degree in Environmental Sustainability. His love for nature has always driven him to participate in projects that seek to address socio-environmental problems. In addition to being an intern at EC2, he’s currently helping to develop participatory mapping projects in the Álvaro Obregón delegation in Mexico City. In 2019, he became a certified Yoga teacher and in his free time he enjoys teaching courses focused on handstands and headstands.

Stephanie Orocz
– Cities Forward Initiative –

Stephanie is currently pursuing a Master of International affairs at the School of Global Policy and Strategy at UCSD with a focus on international environmental governance and a regional specialization in Latin America. She is originally from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil and she studied Environmental Engineering in Miami. She is passionate about the preservation of the environment and ways to contribute to the protection of the planet’s natural resources. In her free time, she loves to surf, dive, and be in contact with the ocean.

About EC2

The Institute of the Americas’ Environment & Climate Change Program (EC2) strives to catalyze climate leadership amongst the private sector and local/regional governments in the Americas, to promote sustainable growth, tackle climate change and minimize environmental impacts in the region with the goal of protecting its rich marine and land-based natural capital. 

Click here to view our previous edition.