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Connecting people with planning in Uruguay

As Uruguay advances in its commitments toward climate-resilient and low-carbon development, the country embraces social inclusion, sectoral adaptation plans and a coordinated approach to reaching its goals
Uruguay, May 2018 – To plan for the impacts of climate change - and support the nation in achieving its Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) to the Paris Agreement, and its highly successful poverty reduction efforts - the Government of Uruguay is looking toward improved sectoral plans, social inclusion and increased coordination as key mechanisms for climate-smart economic development. 
Highlighting the country's momentum for action, Minister of Housing, Land Planning and Environment, Eneida de León, said, “Our National Climate Change Policy allows us to take a long-term view and engage our ministries, local government, civil society and the private sector. Under this strategic framework, we advance altogether in the same direction in building resilience to climate change”.
“Sectoral adaptation plans for agriculture, cities and our coasts will strengthen this long-term view, support us in achieving goals for climate-resilient and low-carbon development, and ensure that no one is left behind as Uruguay takes bold steps forward to plan for the future – no matter what challenges climate change brings,” said Ignacio Lorenzo, Climate Change Director, Ministry of Housing, Land Planning and Environment. 
Enhancing adaptation planning for agriculture
Agriculture is a key component of the Uruguayan economy. It makes up 70 percent of exports and 7 percent of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP). 
With support from FAO-UNDP’s Integrating Agriculture in National Adaptation Plans Programme (NAP-Ag), Uruguay’s Ministry of Livestock, Agriculture and Fisheries (MGAP) began the process of developing a National Adaptation Plan (NAP) specifically for the agricultural sector in 2016. The formulation of the NAP will be finalized in 2018. 
This planning process builds on over a decade of national studies, awareness and consensus on the importance of climate change adaptation. The Agriculture NAP will seek to clarify questions around which livestock, agriculture, forestry and fishery activities need to adapt, in which parts of the country, and how producers can effectively reduce their vulnerability and build their resilience to future climate uncertainties. 
Building climate governance in cities
While agriculture plays an important part in Uruguay’s export economy, only 5 percent of its population lives in rural areas. 
“This is a largely urban nation, and support for cities and local climate governance will be key in our efforts to reach our Nationally Determined Contribution and goals for social development,” said Eneida de León. 
The Government of Uruguay recently received financing from the Green Climate Fund (GCF) for a UNDP-supported project to advance its NAP process in cities and local governments (NAP-Cities). 
“The purpose of our cities initiative is to build the adaptive capacity and resilience in our urban centers, protect valuable infrastructure and urban environments, and facilitate the integration of climate change adaptation into policies, programmes and activities,” said Eneida de León. 
The project will be implemented under the leadership of the Ministry of Housing, Land Planning and Environment (MVOTMA), with UNDP as Implementing Partner.
The focus on cities and local governments has been chosen in line with the priorities set forth in the National Policy on Climate Change. Climate change adaptation in cities requires collaborative problem-solving and coordination across many sectors, as well as across central and local governments. 
“The Cities NAP will mainly look at land use, housing, disaster risk management, and water supply and sanitation, contributing towards the  strong plans and policies our governments, businesses and city-dwellers need in order to adapt to future climates,” said José Freitas, Land Planning National Director, Ministry of Housing, Land Planning and Environment. 
On the coasts
Uruguay’s 372 miles of coastline is home to a rich diversity of flora and fauna, as well as a significant concentration of the nation’s wetlands. The country’s Coastal Adaptation Plan is currently being formulated, and will be informed in part by a Global Environment Facility-financed project that looked at adaptive land planning and coastal management policies and practices. 
The UNDP-supported project supported the integration of climate change adaptation into land use planning proposals under consideration by some of the coastal departments.
Connecting the big picture
For cities, this focus on adaptation planning means that a new GEF-financed project on sustainable transport will benefit from improved coordination and policies. Another GEF-financed project to strengthen the effectiveness of the national protected area system by including a landscape approach to management will benefit from improved sectoral plans in the agriculture sector. 
“Planning for climate change isn’t an end in and for itself. It’s a building block” said Ignacio Lorenzo. “Sectoral adaptation plans in Uruguay will connect with other climate adaptation initiatives supported through vertical funds, nationally-driven climate actions and private-sector initiatives, to replicate and scale-up early adaptation efforts to support a climate resilient nation, protect our environment, and make good on our global commitments to the Paris Agreement.”