Q3. How has IGE evolved in the country since then?
I believe that inclusive green economy has begun to make headway in the last 10 years. There has been significant progress in the field of energy generation (today, Uruguay can supply almost all of its energy demand from renewable sources), subsidies and exemptions have been applied to promote the acquisition of electric vehicles for public and private transportation, the use of instruments that expand exemptions for private investment projects that incorporate environmentally friendly production mechanisms has increased, among other initiatives. Moreover, policies have been implemented to drastically reduce the use of plastic bags at the household level, while subnational efforts are underway to improve the recycling and reuse of household and industrial waste.
Much progress has also been made in training and capacity building, an area in which I understand PAGE has made valuable contributions. Nowadays, the concept of inclusive green economy is much better understood by a significant number of relevant political actors, and initiatives in the field are much better conceived and executed than they were 10 years ago. There is also a focus on building high-quality systematic statistics in several areas related to inclusive green economy, which is very relevant for decision-making.
This is partly a result of the growing interest of new generations in caring for the world they live in, but also arises from the implementation of medium and long-term national policies agreed upon by the main political actors.
Q4. What are the challenges and opportunities for your country and why?
Naturally, the path that began a few years ago must be continued, both by designing new initiatives in already prioritized areas, and by structuring paths towards inclusive green economy in other sectors. The challenges in the short and medium term are many and varied, in the three areas covered by the inclusive green economy.
For example, it is very important to make progress in decarbonizing the economy, for example, through new investments in energy (a roadmap is currently being developed to develop the production, marketing, and use of green hydrogen in our country), by electrifying public and private motorized transport and developing sustainable non-motorized alternatives for mobility in cities, or by expanding carbon neutrality for Uruguay’s main export products.
Tourism should also be included among the priorities, encouraging (probably through certification) the development of sustainable tourism ventures, and the proliferation of single-use plastics should be greatly limited, for which there are some initiatives currently being worked on at the parliamentary level, among other challenges.
Similarly, it is very important to continue with the development of green and blue jobs, which are currently showing more dynamism than the global average but need to be expanded. Finally, continuous training of human resources, both at the public and private sector level, is essential for the economy to become increasingly green and inclusive.