From talks to action

From talks to action: This is how São Paulo celebrates World Environment Day

On 5 June 2024, Mayor Ricardo Nunes announced a package of concrete actions to enhance sustainability in São Paulo. Among those were the addition of the 12th Municipal Conservation Unit, technologies for environmental monitoring, a water protection project, and the first purchase of one out of 32 private conservation areas that had recently been declared a public utility. “We often see endless speech, theories, and written documents, but in practice, very little is achieved. This stands in stark contrast to our city, where we see real results,” proudly stated Mayor Nunes.


Greenlight for nature

During World Environment Day, Mayor Nunes signed the authorization for the purchase of 212 hectares (2,120,000 m²) to be integrated into the Ribeirão Caulim Linear Park, located in the regions of Parelheiros and Capela do Socorro in the extreme south of the city. This area is strategic, as it contains one of the most important rivers supplying the Guarapiranga dam, a crucial source of the city’s drinking water. This acquisition is the first of 32 private green areas declared as DUP (Declaration of Public Utility) by the Municipality of São Paulo on 21 February 2024.

With this purchase, the city officially began implementing the São Paulo Capital Verde project, the most ambitious conservation initiative led by the City of São Paulo. These 32 private areas comprise 16,531 hectares, representing 11% of São Paulo’s territory. “They are equivalent to the size of Paris and will complement the 15% of green areas already under conservation, bringing the total to 26%, or over a quarter of our territory, preserved forever,” detailed Mayor Nunes.

Mayor Nunes also approved the service order to implement the Cabeceiras do Aricanduva Natural Park, the 12th Municipal Conservation Unit. Located in the East zone of the city and with an investment of USD 1,6 million, the park will open by year-end and feature an admin building, a square, an entrance, and an observation tower. The park hosts Atlantic Forest remnants, springs, and biodiversity. It’s home to endangered endemic plant species and more than 44 birds, such as the green-billed toucan. 

In addition, general renovations will be carried out at Parque Sapopemba, also located in the city’s East zone. USD 2.9 million will be invested in renovating buildings and leisure infrastructure, scheduled for completion in 2025. Inaugurated in 2013 on a former landfill site, Sapopemba Park is a sports complex featuring football fields, outdoor gym equipment, walking trails, and a central square, among other amenities.

“It is essential to have park areas so that we can provide spaces for the population of São Paulo to connect with nature. This will benefit their physical and mental health and foster a closer relationship with the environment, instilling a commitment to maintaining our preservation efforts,” said Mayor Nunes.


Crackdown on polluters

“Whether it’s someone committing the devastation of illegal tree cutting or one of those who throw garbage in the street, they’ll get fined now,” warned Mayor Nunes. He celebrated the creation of a computerized system for the Metropolitan Civil Guard (GCM) Environmental Division, aimed at modernizing and expanding inspections against environmental damage framed in the legislation.

Created by the Information and Communication Technology Company of the Municipality of São Paulo, the system will be integrated with the city’s 156 service portal and its Electronic Information System. This way, an electronic process will be automatically generated for each inspection, allowing the GCM to act more transparently and efficiently. Along with reinforcing more teams, the GCM is now equipped with high-tech devices for inspection, including mobile printers for on-the-spot fines. 

These actions supplement the cameras already installed throughout the city and the modern forest firefighting system, equipped with cameras, heat sensors, and infrared technology to detect rising temperatures and smoke within the city’s conservation areas.


Safeguarding water

Addressing the socio-environmental challenges and inequalities posed by climate change, such as altered rainfall patterns, frequent floods, and prolonged droughts, the project “Water Territories: Strategies for Conservation and Recovery of Permanent Preservation Areas in the Municipality of São Paulo” aims to protect water bodies within Permanent Preservation Areas (APPs). 

Funded by FAPESP (Foundation for Research Support of the State of São Paulo) until 2027, this initiative, in collaboration with São Paulo’s Secretariat of Green and Environment, the Federal University of ABC, and the National Observatory of the Rights to Water and Sanitation (Ondas), will drive dialogue and innovative strategies between public sectors and civil society organizations. 

The project aims to ensure universal access to drinking water and basic sanitation by building a typology of APPs, developing management guidelines, and training public agents. Anchored in environmental justice and human rights, the initiative strives to guarantee this vital resource for all citizens, regardless of income or location.


Digital platforms for swift access to environmental data

Mayor Nunes launched the Industrial Environmental Licensing Platform, a new portal that digitizes and accelerates requests for environmental tenders from the industry. This initiative reduces paper document emissions and serves as a crucial tool for balancing socio-economic development with environmental conservation.

Hotsite BioSampa is a modern online platform designed to make the data collected by São Paulo’s Biodiversity Index (Biosampa) more accessible and practical. The platform includes a Geoenvironmental module for territorial analysis, integrating data on environmental management. This feature will aid municipal teams in organizing information and identifying strengths and challenges in executing their responsibilities.

Based on the UN Convention on Biological Diversity’s City Biodiversity Index, also known as the “Singapore Index,” Biosampa features 23 indicators grouped into native biodiversity, ecosystem services, and biodiversity governance. Biosampa also includes a list of fauna and flora species found in São Paulo, organized by each city green area. 

Users can now easily explore São Paulo’s biodiversity online. According to its latest biodiversity index, the city reached 70 points out of a maximum of 112 points, the highest score in its history, compared to 62 and 64 in the previous two years. For example, the number of native butterfly species increased by eight between 2021 and 2022, with large concentrations in Parque do Ibirapuera, just where the venue for the upcoming ICLEI World Congress 2024 is located. Participants may have the chance to admire these and other native species while attending the Congress’ four-day packed program, including high-level plenaries, thematic sessions and more. See the full program here.


*This blog was written based on São Paulo Municipality’s press release on the measures announced by Mayor Ricardo Nunes during World Environment Day, and the Mayor’s speech during the ceremony last 5 June 2024.

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