Montevideo, 6 October 2015 – A new study “Towards a Green Economy in Uruguay: favourable conditions and opportunities” was released today during the event launching the UNEP´s sub-regional office for the Southern Cone in Montevideo, Uruguay.
The study, that focuses on five key economic sectors: agriculture, livestock, industry, tourism and transport, was presented by the Ministry of Housing, Territorial Management and Environment, Eneida de Leon; the Sub-Secretary of Government, Juan Andrés Roballo; the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Rodolfo Nin Novoa, and the Regional Director a.i. for Latin America and the Caribbean of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), Elliott Harris.
Mr. Harris highlighted the fact that “Uruguay is one of the pioneers of green economy in the region and this report is an important contribution to the region”.
Uruguay’s economy has steadily grown at a rate of 5.8% since 2003. The country, with a low unemployment rate of 6.4%, is set to tackle the challenges of inclusive economic growth by transitioning to a sustainable economic pattern of growth.
The new study recommends policies to increase energy efficiency in the hotel industry and improve the management of solid waste in coastal areas. The research also recommends changes to the transport system of Montevideo in order to reduce air pollution and its related health problems, as well as to decrease average travel time, making public transportation more appealing, and an energy-efficiency labelling scheme for vehicles to reduce fossil fuel consumption by 5% by 2035.
Uruguay could also improve the management of the natural pastureland through the use of capacity building, technical assistance and technological transfer. Furthermore, the publication outlines policies for the promotion of irrigation and the reduction of soil erosion and degradation through the improved use of runoff water.
By 2035, under the green scenario, cereal yields would increase 5% due to the higher availability of water and through the conservation of soils with a 64% increase in irrigated farm land. Besides, rising water consumption for irrigation (+30%, green scenario) would not jeopardize the availability of fresh water.
To green the industrial sector, the report recommends carrying out energy audits, modernising information technologies to support monitoring and increasing the capacity of the workforce.
Cleaner buses for Montevideo
The report was launched together with the presentation of a pilot initiative focused on reducing air pollution through diesel particulate filters that are to be placed in the exhaust pipes of buses.
Uruguay is the third country in South America to introduce a cleaner diesel. This fact has created an opportunity to introduce cleaner transportation technologies that allow greater protection of the health of people in urban areas.
New UNEP Sub-regional for South America in Uruguay
The new office, based in Montevideo, consolidates UNEP’s presence in the region. It serves Uruguay, Paraguay, Chile and Argentina, in coordination with its counterpart in Brazil and other regional and south-south cooperation initiatives, to link with other countries in Latin America and the Caribbean. José Dallo will lead the office as UNEP’s Sub-regional Director for the Southern Cone.
Download the Report
Esteban Zunín, Communications for UN – Uruguay, [email protected]
Karen Rodríguez Guinea, Communications, UNEP, Regional Office for Latin America and the Caribbean, [email protected]