On March 16 and 17, two workshops were held to analyze the existing capacities in metropolitan governance in the Rio de Janeiro Metropolitan Area (RJMA). The workshops were organized jointly by GIZ and the SDSN Secretariat, with support from SDSN Brazil, as part of the Solutions Initiative Sustainable Cities, which examines possible solutions for the local implementation of the SDGs through inclusive dialogue and metropolitan cooperation structures.

Rio de Janeiro has recently launched a Metropolitan Chamber (Câmara Metropolitana) which aims to coordinate different actors and stakeholders at the metropolitan scale and is currently in the process of developing an integrated plan for the metropolitan region. This new entity participated actively in both workshops, together with nearly 30 participants on each day coming from public, private and international agencies.

In addition, the National Ministry of Cities, UN Habitat, The Institute for Transportation and Development Policy (ITDP), the Public Ministry, the Government of Rio de Janeiro, Conservation International and the National Development Bank (BNDES) were some of the participants who debated metropolitan issues and helped in building a common view of challenges and opportunities for sustainability within the metropolitan region of the city.

Participants discussed formal and informal institutional arrangements, current coordination and communication challenges, and the need for strong public participation in metropolitan decision-making, the exchange of information and experience in order to spur a dialogue that promotes reforms.

A new methodology for capacity assessment developed by GIZ was employed during the workshops, focusing on a hands-on approach and joint identification of needs and opportunities in the metropolitan region of Rio de Janeiro.

The first day of the workshop focused on resilience of the metropolitan area. The participant groups discussed the need for new channels and forums for increased participation and collaboration, as well as the use of new technologies to monitor progress. The need for a spatially more inclusive metropolitan region was also highlighted.

The second day was dedicated to urban mobility, and the participants debated on the urgent need for better monitoring and the inclusion of civil society. Also, there was consent about the necessity for decentralization of urban development and management in order to achieve better governance and urban mobility. By creating new centralities, mobility demands can be distributed more evenly throughout the region. Currently, high levels of congestion are caused by the fact that the majority of commutes within the metropolitan region take place between the outer municipalities and the capital city of Rio de Janeiro, where the majority of jobs and services are located.

As an outcome, the participants mapped the current state of cooperation among institutions at the metropolitan level and recommended solutions for improving governance in the two fields of resilience and mobility.

The need for integrated planning, communication and participation among different sectors, territories and levels of governance were some of the main recommendations identified from the workshops.

The results of the workshops will provide the Metropolitan Chamber with input for the development of the integrated metropolitan plan in the RJMA. In May, GIZ and SDSN Brazil will hold another workshop focusing on the national process of localization of SDG monitoring in Brazil, with a special emphasis on how metropolitan areas are addressing this challenge.