Asunción, Paraguay
City population: 525252
Duration: 2017 – 2022
Implementation status: Ongoing
Scale: Meso-scale: Regional, metropolitan and urban level
Project area: unknown
Type of area: Residental, Public Greenspace Area, Central Business District / City Centre
Last updated: November 2021

Under Sustainable Development Goal 11 (make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable) in 2017 a coalition of stakeholders including the Municipality of Asuncion started the implementation of an initiative focused on improving the quality of life in the Metropolitan Area of Asunción through green infrastructure in a sustainable and resilient city framework. Why Asuncion? Cities and metropolitan areas are fundamental centres of economic growth: they contribute approximately 60% of world GDP. However, they also account for around 70% of global greenhouse gas emissions and more than 60% of resource use. Asuncion makes no distinction - it is a city with a high flow of cars and transportation, irregular flooding (the sewerage system there has already been exceeded for some time), and urban growth. Trying to respond to some of these challenges, the present intervention has been proposed with a duration of 5 years. (1,2)

Determining the area for planting
https://www.py.undp.org/content/paraguay/es/home/projects/proyecto--asuncion--ciudad-verde-de-las-americas--vias-a-la-sust.html

Overview

Nature-based solution

  • Grey infrastructure featuring greens
  • Alley and street greens
  • Parks and urban forests
  • Pocket parks/neighbourhood green spaces
  • Green corridors and green belts

Key challenges

  • Climate action for adaptation, resilience and mitigation (SDG 13)
  • Climate change mitigation
  • Water management (SDG 6)
  • Flood protection
  • Stormwater and rainfall management and storage
  • Green space, habitats and biodiversity (SDG 15)
  • Green space creation and/or management
  • Environmental quality
  • Soil quality improvement
  • Air quality improvement
  • Waste management

Focus

Creation of new green areas, Maintenance and management of urban nature, Strategy, plan or policy development

Project objectives

Urban population in Paraguay, which represented 37% of the total population in 1974, has increased to a current 59%. As Asunción has evolved from a small city to a metropolitan region it has experienced several problems. The growth of the metropolitan area has been unstructured rather than planned, creating a series of urban problems that affect the city’s environment, economy, and quality of life, including transport (an increase in emissions resulting in air pollution), solid waste (increase in GHG emissions generated by the decomposition of waste resulting in soil pollution), and biodiversity threats as it is being eroded through habitat conversion and degradation leading to fragmentation, reducing the viability of populations. As such, the intervention aims: 1) To improve urban planning taking into account environmental sustainability indicators in Asunción and its Metropolitan Area; 2) To reduce emissions from the public transport sector in the AMA by focusing on the optimization of the bus route, promoting bicycle lanes and generating options for the reconversion of the bus fleet; 3) To generate models for improving the management of solid urban waste for the AMA, promoting recycling measures and reducing waste through awareness campaigns; 4) To create a green belt for the AMA based on the consolidation of green areas already existing or to be created in Asunción. 5) Asuncion is vulnerable to extreme events due to its location on the shores of the Paraguay River and related cyclical floods, which poses additional challenges for transport and waste management. To address these challenges through proper urban planning (1,2)

Implementation activities

The "Green Assumption of the Americas - Sustainable Pathways" project has four components, the first of which is the functional framework for a sustainable and resilient city; the second having mobility and sustainable transport in the WADA; the third management of solid waste and chemicals; and the fourth, the management of urban green areas. (2)In 2020, the municipality worked on three principles: general project conditions, generation of the cartographic database and territorial diagnosis. Also in 2020 the Ministry of Environment and Sustainable Development (MADES), with the support of the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), developed the "Guide to Urban Arborization for the Metropolitan Area of Asunción", a document with everything we need to know about the subject. In 2021, within the framework of the initiative, "Live Parks Laboratory!" which covers a series of training activities promoted by the Ministry of Urban Planning, Housing and Habitat, central and local government officials, are trained in the management of public spaces. (5) In 2021 the "Green Corridors" project was started, which consists of connecting the existing green spaces, considered as "lungs" of the city, through arteries where biodiversity in both flora and fauna will be the protagonists. Among the most important spaces are Guasu Park, the Botanical Garden and Ñu Guasu. This will be possible by identifying streets that can be intervened with planting trees, shrubs, flowers, so that they consolidate as a corridor, in order to create "biodiversity islands" through green facades that promote the consolidation of the ecosystem in an urban environment. (6)

Climate-focused activities

Climate change mitigation:

  • Increase green urban nature for carbon storage (wetlands, tree cover)
  • Improve carbon sequestration through selection of more adaptable species
  • Invest in public transport/bicycle infrastructure as a means to prevent car use
  • Raise public awareness of behaviours, lifestyle and cultural changes with mitigation potential

Main beneficiaries

  • Local government/Municipality
  • Citizens or community groups

Governance

Management set-up

  • Co-governance with government and non-government actors

Type of initiating organisation

  • Multilateral organisation
  • National government
  • Local government/municipality

Participatory approaches/ community involvement

  • Dissemination of information and education
  • Consultation (e.g. workshop, surveys)

Details on the roles of the organisations involved in the project

This project is implemented by the Ministry of Environment and Sustainable Development (MADES), in conjunction with UNDP, the Municipality of Asunción, the Ministry of Public Works and Communications (MOPC), the Technical Secretariat of Planning (STP), the Secretariat of National Emergency (SEN), the Paraguayan Network of Sustainable Cities and Guyra Paraguay. (1)

Project implemented in response to ...

... an EU policy or strategy? No
... a national policy or strategy? Yes (The intervention is in line with national priorities established under the National Development Plan 2030; the Transport Master Plan, the National Logistics Plan, the National Environment Policy; the National Climate Change Policy; the National Disaster Risk Reduction Policy; the National Protected Area System Strategic Plan; (2))
... a local policy or strategy? Yes (The intervention is in line with the Municipal Solid Waste Integrated Management Master Plan. (2))

Financing

Total cost

More than €4,000,000

Source(s) of funding

  • Multilateral funds (e.g. EBRD, Worldbank)

Type of funding

  • Direct funding or subsidy

Non-financial contribution

Type of non-financial contribution
  • Provision of land
  • Provision of expertise

Impacts and Monitoring

Environmental impacts

  • Environmental quality
  • Improved waste management
  • Green space and habitat
  • Increased green space area
  • Increased conversion of degraded land or soil
  • Reduced biodiversity loss
  • Increased protection of threatened species
  • Improved prevention or control of invasive alien species
  • Other

Economic impacts

  • Unknown

Socio-cultural impacts

  • Safety
  • Increased perception of safety
  • Health and wellbeing
  • Gain in activities for recreation and exercise
  • Education
  • Increased knowledge of locals about local nature
  • Increased awareness of NBS and their benefits

Type of reported impacts

Expected impacts, Achieved impacts

Presence of formal monitoring system

Yes

Presence of indicators used in reporting

Yes

Presence of monitoring/ evaluation reports

Yes

Availability of a web-based monitoring tool

No evidence in public records

References

Types of planted included
https://www.py.undp.org/content/paraguay/es/home/projects/proyecto--asuncion--ciudad-verde-de-las-americas--vias-a-la-sust.html
Information about this nature-based solution was collected as part of the UNA global extension project funded by the British Academy.