Green cities

Towards more sustainable cities 

Cities are home to half of the world's 7.8 billion people. Experts estimate that another 3 billion people will live in cities by 2050, bringing the proportion of the world's urban population to two-thirds of the entire population. Adverse effects of this population concentration will include environmental pollution, poverty, unemployment, low productivity, poor housing, lack of basic services and the concentration of risks associated with climate change.

Since the 1990s, Swisscontact has helped several cities, particularly in Latin America, to become more resilient to these changes. To stop the negative consequences of pollution, it is essential to strengthen the technical capacities of governments, develop comprehensive management plans and appropriate legal frameworks, and above all, raise awareness and empower the population as an integral part of the solutions. 

"Clean air is a huge challenge for the big cities of Latin America, which requires tools and knowledge that CALAC+ provides: the project promotes the use of scientific methods, develops easy-to-use tools, trains technical staff, and raises awareness among institutions, government agencies and companies about climate and clean air. In this way, considerable success has already been achieved, and the importance of clean air is now widely recognised and in people's minds. "
Adrián Montalvo, Project manager CALAC+

Expanding our reach

An area of focus for Swisscontact is protecting human health from the effects of pollution by improving sustainable urban mobility, air quality management, integrated solid waste management, circular economy and sustainable construction. 

Through our systemic approach, Swisscontact acts as facilitator and enabler. This means that we train and empower local organisations and partners to ensure that they take direct ownership of systems change. The local solutions we provide through these partners directly benefit vulnerable populations living in cities.  

In urban mobility, we promote the paradigm shift through the development of Sustainable Urban Mobility Plans, accompany the implementation of mass transit systems and the transition to more environmentally friendly technologies. In solid waste management and circular economy, we support cities in the planning and implementation of integrated processes that treat inorganic and organic waste in a differentiated manner, increasing recycling levels and minimising burial. We promote the participation of the private sector as the main architect of circularity and the generation of green jobs. In air quality management, we support the implementation of monitoring networks and air quality improvement plans, including vehicle inspection and public transport improvement. In sustainable construction, we support the improvement of building quality and the efficient use of energy to provide greater seismic safety and comfort to housing. 

Unlocking the power of partnerships


Recycling processes only achieve sustainability when there is a market for the products. Swisscontact promotes the participation of the private sector as the main architect of circularity and the generation of green jobs. We work with the private sector to reduce pressure on natural resources and promote circularity by promoting the inclusion of recycled raw materials in production inputs. This work generates self-employment for waste pickers, generating employment-intensive micro-enterprises. This is also the case in other areas, such as urban mobility and sustainable construction.

What we offer

Swisscontact provides technical assistance to national and local governments in the training of their technicians, the generation of strategic plans, the development of legal frameworks and the implementation of concrete measures to improve environmental quality. 

Together with the private sector as a fundamental actor of change, we generate a market for environmental services, circular economy processes and integration of the informal sector, generating self-employment ventures (green jobs). 

Finally, we work with the community, generating high levels of awareness of environmental problems, making the community an integral part of the solution.

Swisscontact's innovative solutions

The solutions proposed by Swisscontact to promote green cities have two fundamental characteristics that differentiate our work from other interventions - the empowerment of citizens as a fundamental part of attitude change and transformation, and the inclusion of the private sector as an articulator of environmental management chains. The private sector is a key partner to promote the transition to social and environmental justice.  

Contact us about the challenges you face in achieving greener cities

and find out how Swisscontact can partner with you to promote change.

Projects Green cities

News Green cities

Our expertise
Our expertise focuses on creating economic opportunities for our beneficiaries. It covers skills development, inclusive economic development, and climate change and food systems.