The Energy Efficiency Group for Transportation: A Strong Political Commitment Towards Sustainable Transport in Uruguay
For over a decade, Uruguay has achieved a dynamic economic development reflected in the growth of per capita Gross Domestic Product (GDP) while maintaining emissions almost constant and even reducing the intensity of emissions in some sectors, such as power generation. Uruguay’s sustainable
development is made possible as a result of a strong political will to integrate climate change into the different areas of public policy and the involvement of multiple sectors of the economy and the society, both at national and subnational levels (Uruguay, 2016).
That strength is clearly reflected in the initiatives implemented in the transport sector, which shows growing economic activity. The transport sector is the second sector in terms of energy consumption and the first in terms of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions in the country. Reducing the carbon Footprint in this sector requires multiple well-planned and coordinated mitigation initiatives, as part of a major and substantial transformation of the energy sector. This transformation is led by several ministries: the
Ministry of Industry, Energy and Mining (MIEM by its acronym in Spanish), Ministry of Housing, Land Planning and Environment (Mvotma), Ministry of Economy and Finance (MEF) and Ministry of Transport and Public Works (MTOP). Energy efficiency measures are immediate instruments that can reduce fossil fuel consumption (CEPAL, 2015). And these were the first ones to be approached in Uruguay. The Interinstitutional Transport Energy Efficiency Group (ITEEG) was formed in 2014 with the leadership
of the Ministry of Industry, Energy and Mining and has the participation of seven public institutions:
- the Ministry of Industry, Energy and Mining (MIEM)
- the Ministry of Housing, Land-Use Planning and Environment (MVOTMA)
- the Ministry of Economy and Finance (MEF)
- the Ministry of Transport and Public Works (MTOP)
- the Uruguayan state electric utility (UTE)
- the Montevideo Intendance (IM)
- the National Administration of Fuels, Alcohol, and Portland (ANCAP)
It was initially set up under the leadership of the MIEM, without being formally anchored to any of the institutions but linked to MIEM’s work on energy efficiency. It promotes policies and seeks solutions to tackle increasing greenhouse gases (GHG) emissions in the sector by enhancing coordination, sharing
information, avoiding duplication of efforts, and generating synergies. The 2005-2030 Energy Policy (EP) (MIEM, n.a.), the 2015-2024 National Energy Efficiency Plan (NEEP) (Government of Uruguay, 2015), and the National Climate Change Policy (NCCP) (Oriental Republic of Uruguay, 2017) are the Guiding policy instruments the government established with participation from ITEEG members to transform the transport sector while reaching the country’s Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) goals. These policy instruments are complemented by different initiatives on the ground.
After adopting several policy measures, including tax incentives, Uruguay has brought over 130 Electric vehicles onto the street, mostly for public urban transportation. The goal is to expand the use of Electric taxis and bus fleets and enhance local planning and policy instruments. The members of the ITEEG are working with multilateral and international allies such as the EUROCLIMA+ program, the Green Climate Fund (GCF) and the Global Environment Facility (GEF) to reinforce action on the ground.
The activities of the ITEEG represent a good practice as they are characterised by strong inter-sectoral cooperation, well aligned with national frameworks and enjoy highest-level political buy-in.