Mérida Sustentable (Sustainable Mérida) is the vision of the current city’s administration to achieve a sustainable city in the long run, through adequate mobility, energy savings, pollution reduction, waste management and mitigation and adaptation to climate change. It also includes the creation and maintenance of multipurpose public spaces to create a suitable environment for people to live, commute and make use of their natural resources — without compromising the natural resources of the following generations.
The sustainable development of a city is achieved through the integration of the environmental, economic and social systems. This includes the management of green infrastructure, the strategic and planned network of natural and semi-natural areas that provide extensive ecosystem services and protect biodiversity.
In Mérida’s Green Infrastructure Plan, based on various technical studies, tree-planting strategies have already been developed, including the planting of 100,000 trees in the city. This plan includes the selection of sites to plant the trees, as well as the species to be planted, in order to maximize environmental benefits. Citizen participation, as well as the commitment of the private sector, is key for the long-term maintenance of green areas.
The city is participating in the Cities4Forests initiative to strengthen its actions towards a resilient and sustainable Mérida.
“The urban environment poses environmental challenges for local governments. However, local authorities can also implement actions that bring global benefits.”
Renán Barrera Concha
Mérida City Mayor
The municipality of Mérida is currently developing the Public Spaces System, also called the “Green Lung”. The aim is to generate a network of complete public spaces in the west of the city, physically and functionally connected to improve environmental, social, and heritage values of the land, as well as to promote urban mobility and raise the quality of life of its residents.
The “Diagnosis of Urban Park Trees”, developed with the use of the i-Tree tool, has provided an updated census of the trees of the city parks, number of species (biodiversity) and current conditions. The next step consists in the processing and analysis of the information for each park, to determine the appropriate strategies and specific actions of sowing, pruning and substitution, to improve the conditions of the trees and to maximize ecosystem services.
The Cuxtal Reserve is an area subject to ecological conservation and was decreed by the municipality in 1993. It is located south of Mérida and is made up of an area of 10,757 hectares. The great diversity of ecosystems has allowed the recovery of flora, providing important sources of food for wildlife species, and the housing of aquifers, which supply almost 50% of the potable water to the south of Mérida.
Urban sprawl and the lack of employment opportunities in rural areas endanger the conservation of vegetation. The local authorities, civil society organizations, institutions of the the levels of government and academics are currently promoting activities for their conservation. They are also promoting sustainable economic alternatives that are sources of employment for their inhabitants. Among the actions contemplated is to install the first Municipal Center for Training in Agroecology, promote productive projects and create nurseries of native plants.