2022-02-23 11:45:42

Metropolitan Agency for Urban Forests of the Metropolitan Area of Guadalajara (AMBU)

The Metropolitan Area of Guadalajara is consisted of nine municipalities and home to 4.5 million residents. Urban forests and parks within the metropolitan area have been managed by the municipality in which they are located. However, with a human-centric and short-term approach, a scarce budget, and lack of technical equipment, many of the green areas have deteriorated or simply have been left to their own devices. This has also meant diminished capacity of supporting ecological balance and a toll on the quality of life.

Realising the importance of the care and restoration of these “lungs”, the local governments created the Metropolitan Agency for Urban Forests of the Metropolitan Area of Guadalajara (AMBU). This decentralised inter-municipal public body is consolidation and evolution of the Urban Forests Network, a pilot project of the municipality of Guadalajara. As a metropolitan organisation, it brings together the parks and large green spaces of the nine municipalities and is equipped with greater competences and ambitions. Its mission is to conserve, mange, and improve the green areas of metropolitan Guadalajara. It defines criteria for ecological restoration, integrates green technologies, and provides environmental education to society.

Established in April 2019, AMBU now manages 12 parks. It is currently working to unify criteria for planning and management of green infrastructure, to generate reliable data for the design of public policy in urban forests. It looks to improve the infrastructure in these spaces, especially in those with the greatest potential for social and environmental impact, to pave way for the implementation of large-scale sustainability projects.

One of the challenges is the slow handover of parks by the municipalities to AMBU. For those parks that have been ceded to the agency, though, the process was not accompanied by a budget. Financially, AMBU receives a fixed annual fund from the state government on the one hand. On the other, it relies on earnings by networking with companies and lending spaces for events (e.g., concerts, races, summer courses) as well as donations.

This initiative is particularly relevant to SDGs 11 (sustainable cities and communities), 13 (climate action), and 15 (life on land).