By Claudia López, Mayor of Bogotá

The Mayor of Bogotá explains how London’s Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) inspired Bogota’s Zonas Urbanas por un Mejor Aire (ZUMA) to reduce toxic emissions.

With COP27 being a missed opportunity for national governments to demonstrate how they are tackling the climate crisis, cities are using every lever at their disposal to take meaningful climate action now. Bogotá is part of this network of cities that are reducing emissions faster than their respective nation-states.

As Mayor of Bogotá, I applaud the Mayor of London’s decision to expand his flagship air quality policy, the Ultra-Low Emission Zone (ULEZ), which will mean five million more people breathing cleaner air, and will help to build a better, greener, fairer London for everyone.

In Bogotá, we are building a priority ULEZ strategy called Zonas Urbanas por un Mejor Aire (ZUMA, the acronym in Spanish). ZUMA aims to improve air quality in highly polluted areas and where vulnerable communities live. It will reduce emissions from both industry and transport, encourage active mobility, increase green areas, reduce air pollution exposure, and improve the health of many of Bogotá’s residents and visitors.

The support and cooperation of different organizations – such as UK-PACT, GIZ, ICLEI, UCGL, and WRI – with national and local governments, has been a key pillar in strengthening the implementation of ULEZ in different cities worldwide. In Bogotá, we are aligning our actions with sustainable development goals, particularly SDG 17. Under our initiative United for a Clean Air, in partnership with C40, European Union and Metropolis, we are monitoring air quality improvements through the new microsensors network, launched recently, and measuring improvements and developing the roadmap for the implementation of the first ZUMA.

London and the commitment of ULEZ led by Mayor Khan have been examples for the ZUMAs in Bogotá. In our first phase, we have identified the progressive implementation of five ZUMAs. In the future, just as London has done, it will be expanded to the entire city to make Bogotá a ULEZ or ZUMA for clean air. With just eight years to go to 2030 and seven more COPs, there is no time to waste. Action is needed now if we are to cut emissions in half by 2030, and substantially reduce the number of lives lost and illnesses from air pollution and crisis climate effects.

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