Moving forward the interface between policy-making and evidence-based research and knowledge for supporting climate action in cities

The project seeks to (co)generate useful information for decision-making in Mexico Valley Metropolitan Area. (MVMA). Specifically it intends to identify the existing institutional capacities for enabling and enhancing opportunities for climate-environmental action in both, the parliamentary sphere and the local governments that comprise the MVMA

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The case study covers an area of ​​7,866 square kilometers and is inhabited by 20.89 million inhabitants, according to 2015 data. Its economic structure is mainly of services and generates approximately 25% of the national GDP, which according to the OECD, is about 5% lower than other metropolitan areas with a similar population such as London or Paris. Despite being the main economic hub of the country, the incidence of poverty reaches 51.1% in Mexico City and 73% in the State of Mexico,  according to EVALUA. EVALUA estimation of poverty is higher than the one of CONEVAL because of methodological differences. Poverty would affect instead, following CONEVAL estimations for that same year, 38.3% and 51.4%, respectively. In any case, it is evident that poverty and exclusion, among other related issues, are key challenges for MVMA as recognized by the current status of the SDGs in both entities, particularly the State of Mexico.

The MVMA comprises, as stated by SEDATU, 76 municipalities, 16 of them correspond to Mexico City, 59 to the State of Mexico and one to the State of Hidalgo. Of the total municipalities that conform the MVMA, 52 are "central" or what is considered the "central city". The outer municipalities are instead demarcations whose relationship is established, either by various statistical and geographical criteria or urban planning and policy notions. While the latter relates to what is considered by the Land Use National Strategy and the National Program for Urban Development and Land Use, the former considers instead issues such as distance (no more than 15 km away from the central city), functional employment integration (at least 15% of its population is employed in central municipalities); percentage of population working in non-primary activities (equal or greater to 75%), and average urban density (of at least 20 inhabitants per hectare).

The diversity that characterizes MVMA's municipalities translates into both, institutional and administrative complexities, which in turn challenges the coordination of public policies and actions. This is a reality that, as recognized by the OECD, is aggravated due to the lack of regional and metropolitan strategic frameworks, adequate financing and robust institutional capacities at the local level. In such a context,  environmental and climate issues are not the exception as they are in fact, in certain cases, overlooked.

Although Mexico City has a Risk Atlas, a Strategy and  a Climate Action Program and that its Constitution incorporates elements of sustainability (see especially its Third Title), and even when the State of Mexico has a State Program of Action against Climate Change  and a Risk Atlas against Climate Change, it can be argued that in general terms there are still no robust local capacities, nor adequate coordination in the field of climate-environmental action at the metropolitan level. This can be noticed, for example, by the limited existence of climate action programs at the municipal level (of the  76 municipalities that comprise the MVMA, only 14 have one; see map) and the lack of transparency on the progress achieved by those programs.

The Environmental Commission of the Megalopolis, a political coordination body established in 2013 with the purpose of planning and executing actions on environmental protection, preservation and ecological restoration within the megalopolis, including the "fight against climate change", so far has limited its actions to air quality improvement, essentially through vehicle verification in the megalopolitan area, which includes the 76 municipalities of the MVMA and 164 surrounding municipalities of the State of Mexico, Hidalgo, Morelos, Puebla and Tlaxcala. Despite implementing other measures related to technical standards, monitoring of emissions from fixed sources, improving the circulation of cargo transportation, promotion of public transportation. among other issues related to urban solid waste information for improving its management, there are still ample opportunities for further actions, mostly thru coordinating local efforts.

In this regard, the present project develops an Assessment of climate-environmental governance at the local level for Mexico Valley Metropolitan Area. On one hand it reviews the existing climate action programs at the municipal and their implementation status. On the other, it analyses the scope of municipal policies under development or design, particularly for the case of those municipalities that lack of the aforementioned climate change action programs. The assessment focuses on institutional governance comprising both, documentary and field work.

The project seeks to promote the basis for a coordinated climate-environmental action agenda for local governments that can enrich those actions promoted by state governments, the Megalopolis Environmental Commission, and the Federal Government.

Project Outcomes


Lead-researcher and author: Gian Carlo Delgado Ramos. Technical assistance: Rodolfo Ortega León. Database collaborator: María Fernanda Mac Gregor Gaona. Review of environmental issues in digital and printed media for the area of study: Cinthia Hinojosa (until August 2019) and Isack Lara Martínez. Graphic design: Rodrigo Muñoz Montiel