Bogota Circular: An innovative shared governance platform

Published on Wednesday, 9 August 2023

We spoke with Alejandro Gomez, assistant director of Ecological Urbanism and Corporate Environmental Management within the Bogota Mayor's District Office of the Environment, to learn more about the Bogota Circular initiative.

1.       How did the Bogota Circular initiative come about?

This initiative was born from the need to integrate efforts made by the public and private sectors and academia, with the conviction that the alignment of objectives and collaborative work generates a powerful synergistic effect to accelerate the transition to circularity.

In this proposal, the group of leaders promoted the appropriation and positioning of the initiative within each organization, under a shared, strategic, and long-term vision, which was ratified on February 22, 2023, in a high-level meeting with the key executives of the participating organizations.

Bogota Circular is proposed as an innovative shared governance platform, and its goal is not to force entities to come together under a single standard, but to generate effective spaces for discussion and co-creation, in order to consolidate and articulate ideas, projects, and concepts, adding value to all of the sectors.

One of the most important points to highlight is that the empowerment of the different actors within Bogota Circular allows for shared leadership over the initiative and its configuration as a model city, and not the leadership by a specific entity. We hope this initiative transcends government administrations, regardless of who is in charge, in order to remain active and evolving over the long term.

2.       What are the program’s core objectives?

Bogota Circular’s vision looks to articulate, guide, and accelerate the transition to a circular model for the City Region, which is why it is does not suffice to merely create spaces for dialogue, but requires action based on strategic lines and specific projects that generate the synergistic effect of collaborative work.

In this sense, the work is aimed at promoting research, technology development, and innovation, among institutions that generate and transmit knowledge on circular economy, as well as the connection with the productive and business sector.

Likewise, we need good-quality data that are also reliable for the different social agents, in order to identify opportunities, make evidence-based decisions, and generate indicators for follow-up and city results.

Moreover, it emphasizes the formulation of public policies and the monitoring of their implementation, as well as the aspects of regulatory improvement required to establish frameworks that can enable the transition and develop a dynamic governance and funding scheme to ensure the continuity of interinstitutional actions and projects to bring to life the Bogota Circular’s greater vision.

3.       What are the main challenges you face in order for Bogota to become an increasingly circular city?

Our city presents enormous complexity in its production and consumption systems, which means that a transition to new, more sustainable models necessarily involves challenges at different scales of planning, down to the simplest daily aspects of citizenship. However, these challenges can mainly be seen in the following areas.

At the production level, the challenge lies in incorporating circularity criteria into business models to enable more efficient design of products and services, without compromising business competitiveness, and ensuring the development of markets that recognize the added value in aspects such as extending product lifespans, rethinking product ownership concepts, and embracing servitization (i.e., assistance and repair services), among others.

This necessarily entails appropriation by citizens, not only from the perspective of responsible consumers demanding more sustainable products and services, but also through the incorporation of lifestyles that are more conscientious of the impact of daily decisions and the responsibility to help close cycles, such as waste separation at the source.

Institutional frameworks, on the other hand, require the development of long-term policies and regulations to establish the provision of goods and services that are not focused on end-of-pipe solutions but rather on incentivizing transformative changes in productive sectors and citizen culture, foreseeing their environmental impacts and managing them from the design stage throughout their entire lifecycle.

Learn more about the Bogota Circular program at the link below: