PAGE Uruguay, its national partners and the Government of Uruguay reached a milestone in their collaboration. They met on October 18-19 in Montevideo to reflect on five years of work under the PAGE program. This two-day meeting was an opportunity to visualize national efforts and achievements in incorporating the green economy into public policies in key sectors. Participants shared their experiences and examine new actions and alliances to sustain the green economic transformation in the country beyond 2022. High representatives from the Uruguayan Government, the United Nations and development partners attended the event.
The Minister of Environment (MA), Adrián Peña; the Undersecretary of the Ministry of Industry, Energy and Mining (MIEM), Walter Verri; the Regional Representative of the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) for Argentina, Chile, Paraguay and Uruguay, Manuel Albaladejo; the representative of the PAGE Secretariat, Ricardo Isea; the executive director of the Uruguayan Agency for International Cooperation (AUCI), Mariano Berro; the deputy national director of Employment of the Ministry of Labor and Social Security (MTSS), Herbert Pintos; and the general coordinator of the Decentralization and Institutional Strengthening Area of the Office of Planning and Budget (OPP), Guzmán Ifran, participated in the opening table of the meeting. Alberto Pacheco Capella (Head, Sub-Regional Office for the Southern Cone of Latin America) also took part of the event as the highest-level UNEP representative.
In his opening address, the minister of Environment Adrián Peña highlighted the contribution and the great value of the PAGE program. “We are moving from a linear economy to a circular economy, in this learning PAGE has underpinned us.”, he said. The minister stated that the circular economy model is central to the National Waste Management Plan of the Ministry of the Environment, a project called “Uruguay más circular”. He added that it is key to incorporate the human dimension so that no one is left behind and so that these transition processes are successful, in a path that is unavoidable.
The Undersecretary of the Ministry of Industry, Energy and Mining and PAGE focal point, Walter Verri assured that the five years of the PAGE program have been a learning process that has managed to consolidate the foundations of a circular economy and a green economy, a task that is a joint learning process of the State, sub-national governments, civil society and academia with the support of the United Nations institutions. He indicated that the transition towards this new economy implies “a joint learning task for the Government in general, society, academia and the United Nations System”.
Manuel Albaladejo, UNIDO’s regional representative for the Southern Cone, explained that “PAGE opens up a range of opportunities to seed other Inclusive Green Economy projects”.
On the second day, the Minister of Labour and Social Welfare Pablo Mieres highlighted the inter-institutional and inter-ministerial process that is developing the transition towards a sustainable economy. In this regard, he mentioned the programs and initiatives that are being carried out between the MTSS and the United Nations agencies, through the PAGE program. He recalled the recent publication of a report on the characterization of green and blue jobs that accounts for the doubling of these in Uruguay in the last five years, employing – according to figures for 2021 – a total of 90,000 people. “Studies show an increase in green jobs in the country’s productive matrix, as well as a strong institutional commitment”, he indicated.
Finally, Mieres stressed that the continuity of programs such as PAGE is absolutely central in the framework of a national strategy for sustainable development and, particularly, in the creation of an environmentally sustainable world of work. “Much progress has been made, but much remains to be done in the near future,” concluded the minister.
During the two days of work and reflection, five panels and a workshop on the National Circular Economy Strategy were held. The meeting closed with a round table of authorities representing the UN agencies that are part of PAGE Uruguay: UNDP, UNIDO, UNITAR, ILO-CINTERFOR, UNEP.
Uruguay joined PAGE in 2017. PAGE activities in Uruguay are contributing towards the achievement of SDGs 8 (Decent Work and Economic Growth), 11 (Sustainable Cities and Communities), 12 (Responsible Consumption and Production), 13 (Climate Action) and 17 (Partnerships for the Goals), as well as Uruguay’s Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) to the Paris Agreement. PAGE was also selected as an example of action on SDG 17 as part of Uruguay’s Voluntary National Review (VNR) presented at the High-Level Political Forum (HLPF) in July 2019.
The PAGE program brings together five United Nations agencies and their national counterparts to promote the transition to an Inclusive Green Economy in Uruguay. Currently, there are 22 PAGE partner countries, Cambodia and Rwanda joined in 2022.
Sources: PAGE, Government of Uruguay
Photo credits: PAGE, Government of Uruguay