Teresina
Brazil

Teresina

One of the fastest-warming intermediary cities in the world is using its resources wisely for building resilience and sustainability.

In a series of workshops for building local knowledge and expertise held by UN-Habitat’s City Resilience Global Programme, the Teresina Resilience Commission defined with other urban actors the priorities of the city.

Quick facts

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Climate resilience
Teresina's region warms up to two times faster than the global temperature average, resulting in floods, drought, heatwaves, and diseases related to heat and water constantly challenging the city.
Economic resilience
The capital of Brazil's poorest region has scarce financial resources in a country facing a perpetuated economic crisis and accelerated urbanisation—rising unemployment and inequality are some of the challenges met.
Community resilience
Teresina has the best public education among Brazilian capitals and the highest investment per capita in public health. Reaching satisfactory levels of development and equality requires decades of investment as the city faces structural challenges.

Priorities

Teresina’s priorities for strengthening resilience address complex matters where multiple risks and enduring and emerging challenges converge.

In a series of workshops for building local knowledge and expertise held by UN-Habitat’s City Resilience Global Programme, the Teresina Resilience Commission defined with other urban actors the priorities of the city.
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Priority 1

Water cycle management

Water cycle management includes the management of both the natural and urban water cycle and is critical for building climate resilience in Teresina. 7.8% of the urban footprint is located in hazardous and risk-prone areas due to rapid urbanisation and the lack of affordable housing.
Drivers
Asociated risks
The lack of sustainable methods for managing urban metabolism, particularly solid waste, wastewater, and stormwater systems, undermine further the urban water cycle management with serious implications for the city’s ecological balance, increasing the potential for more risks to emerge.
1. Disruption of natural hydrological dynamics
Due to rapid urbanisation and lack of affordable housing, 7.8% of the urban footprint is located in hazardous and risk prone areas.
2. Mismanagement of urban metabolism
24,5% of city is not covered by stormwater collection system whereas 35% of population is covered by wastewater network.
Processes of urbanisation, shaped by poverty and inequality, have altered the natural water flows leading to an increase in the frequency of multiple shocks with severe socio-economic impacts.
Flood, landslide, waterborne diseases and infrastructure failure

Priority 2

Ecosystem Balance

Numerous factors contribute to the ecosystem imbalance in Teresina, namely: the global warming and greenhouse effects, and pollution. Locally, some of the major causes are rapid urbanisation, disposal of toxic waste in water bodies, soil erosion, deforestation, agricultural practices among others.
Drivers
Asociated risks
The effects of this issue are becoming quite evident in Teresina through various events, mainly biodiversity loss, and insects, animals and plants infestation which in turn caused both marked public health problems and considerable socio-economic impacts.
1. Environmental pollution
Soil and rivers contamination.
2. Vegetation loss
Between 2001 - 2019, the urban perimeter in Teresina has lost approximately 40% of its tree cover.
3. Wildfires
Between October 2019 and October 2020, 385 fires were identified in Teresana by satellite imagery.
On the local level, Teresina is currently in the bidding process for the development of its Climate Action Plan which will incorporate the construction of trend scenarios, mitigation strategies and adaptation to the impacts of climate change.
1. Urban heat islands
2. Insects, animals and plant infestations

Priority 3

Economic Performance

The city and the region are under-served by well-connected national and interregional networks of transportation and supply chains, which in turn have undermined the city’s economic development and growth. The Brazilian financial Crisis of 2015 exacerbated economic performance further in Teresina, with effects mostly evident in commercial and industrial activities.
Drivers
Asociated risks
The symptoms of this issue are manifesting through the relatively less attractiveness of the city for businesses, high rates of unemployment and undermined municipal revenue, which combined lead to exacerbate existing poverty and socio-economic inequalities, increasing crime levels, and reduced safety, posing considerable risks of social unrest.
1. Limited business attractiveness
Market connectivity in Teresina is quite low with rate of commercial banks per 100000 inhabitants being 6.13.
2. Informal economy
The rate of informal employment in Teresina is 44,7% with 50,1 % Males and Females 49,9%.
3. Weak economic diversity
The manufacturing share of local city products in Teresina is merely 5.7%.
4. Reduced Productivity
Historically, the city has suffered the consequences of its peripheral location, which has been mostly far away or at the fringes of major national economic hubs and their sphere of influence. Therefore, it has never had any major national strategic industries and relevant infrastructure.
1. Social unrest
Various aspects have contributed to social unrest such as poverty, low education levels, lack of access to resources and crime concerns.
2. Unemployment
The total unemployment rate in Teresina is 13,7%, which is higher than the national estimate, but lower than regional figures.
3. Local revenue losses
22.5% of total local government revenue in Teresina is own-sourced.

Actions

Developing a resilient and sustainable city requires a roadmap of actions and activities that are both implementable and feasible, yet precise and ambitious in their expected impacts.

Actions for Resilience and Sustainability are the fruit of a multi-stakeholders collaboration focused on seeking points of intervention to maximize the impacts of the recommended actions and activities in Teresina for addressing the 3 priority matters: Water Cycle Mismanagement, Ecosystem Imbalance, and Economic Underperformance.
Line of action
Integrative
Related SDGs goals:
4
8
11
12
13
15
16
17
Institutionalising resilience thinking
inside local government
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Awareness Raising
Awareness Raising
Activity
Strengthen the role of youth innovation for dissemination of resilient thinking
The city must raise local youth’s voice for mainstreaming resilience in policy-making by redesigning the internship programme in local government as a youth leadership programme for urban and climate resilience in all policy sector areas.
Awareness Raising
Activity
Promote high-level debates for discussing economic development, mobility and environmental nexus
To structure continuous debate tables to disseminate awareness on the need for an integrated perspective in the formulation of projects and programmes, which consider the direct relationship between economic development, mobility, land use and environmental sustainability.
Capacity Building
Capacity Building
Activity
Training and Continuous Improvement Program for private entities, companies and stakeholders to improve the technical quality of projects and works towards sustainable outcomes for dissemination of resilient thinking
The city must raise local youth’s voice for mainstreaming resilience in policy-making by redesigning the internship programme in local government as a youth leadership programme for urban and climate resilience in all policy sector areas.
Capacity Building
Activity
Structure City’s participation in focal groups, transnational municipal networks and programs for knowledge exchange
The city of Teresina has recently started its engagement in transnational municipal networks and international cooperation. However, this process should be organised in a single strategy, which guides and organises these activities towards agreed outcomes for urban resilience and increase efficiency gains.
Organisational Improvement
Organisational Improvement
Activity
Institutionalise the role of the Resilience Commission to foster cross-sectoral work around resilience building and RAR-S implementation
The Resilience Commission played a key role in building the RAR-S. This effort and capacity building should be harnessed to build a permanent Council for Urban Resilience, with a bi-annual plan of activities focusing on priority issues to be defined and follow up RAR-S Monitoring and Evaluation.
Line of action
Strategic
Related SDGs goals:
11
12
13
15
16
17
Improving urban management mechanisms for
a sustainable urban development
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Shifting towards a compact and sustainable urban form
Recommended action
1
Awareness Raising
Activity
Establish partnerships with Professional Associations and Academia for knowledge dissemination and practices for the implementation of the city's master plan
Despite having a Transport Oriented Development Master Plan, with large contribution towards risk reduction and preservation of urban basins, the new framework is complex and needs proper dissemination and appropriation by local development promoters both at public and private sectors. This activity proposes a partnership with Universities and Professional Associations to detail and explain the new master plan procedures, as well as highlighting the importance of this change for the reduction of flooding and flash flooding.
Capacity Building
Activity
Training and continuous improvement program for City Officers and Practitioners
A major bottleneck in the implementation of sustainable urban planning policies, plans and initiaves lies in the technical qualification and implementation chain from planning to exectution. The municipality needs continuous staff training for the correct implementation of legal frameworks from end to end.
Organisational Improvement
Activity
Creation of the Fund For The Capture and Management of Land Value Gains
To finance training programmes and awareness-raising campaigns, the municipality should use the resources resulting from land value gains and lad use concession, such as the Development Exempts and Impact fees, which must be collected under the Urban Development Fund.
Strategic Actions
Activity
Transit Oriented Development Programme
Teresina already has previous studies for the implementation of TOD programs in different areas of the city. They should be launched through the creation of autonomous bodies to manage their development, following the comprehensive model applied in Lagoas do Norte, which has yielded good results in the city.
Improving urban metabolism through green and blue infrastructure
Recommended action
2
Awareness Raising
Activity
Awareness programme through guided visits and tours to key infrastructures, sites of interest and pilot initiatives and experiences
In a city under the constant threat of flash-floods, it is essential to increase awareness and knowledge about nature-based solutions, such as green and blue infrastructure, as well as infrastructure and the functioning of the city in general, both for the general public, for administration technicians and from private companies. One of the most powerful and effective actions that can be carried out is the presentation and dissemination of existint projects, initiatives and experiences based on nature solutions that can serve as a model and inspiration for new initiatives. The visits and guided tours are in this sense a very powerful way to achieve this objective.
Capacity Building
Activity
Program for collaboration on information exchange and research with the Academia, Universities, Organizations and Research Centers
Teresina should seize the opportunity to position itself as a reference in urban and climate resilience building both nationally and internationally. A way to activate this initiative is through a call for a study grant on any of the city's environmental issues or priority matters.
Organisational Improvement
Activity
Creation of a Single Agency or at least a Municipal Unit for the Management of the Water Cycle in the City
The Municipality of Teresina should promote a collaboration agreement between all the administrations involved for the creation of a single agency for the Management of the Water Cycle in the City. In the event that legal and competencies issues prevent the creation of the Agency, it is proposed that at least the Municipality of Teresina should create a Centralized Unit for the Management of its Competences in the City's Water Cycle.
Strategic Actions
Activity
Refining the Urban Revegetation Strategy
Teresina, traditionally known as "a Cidade Verde" [the Green City] has nevertheless lost a considerable part of its vegetation cover in recent decades. The city must recover the vegetation of the streets, and promote the vegetal coverage of bulding surfaces.The beneficial results of this action are multiple: from air quality improvement and thermal comfort, to incresing urban biodiversity and resilience and citizens 'well-being. Green infrastructure also contributes to improving the urban metabolism, such as the city's drainage system, discharging it with water that can be dirverted and infiltrated into the subsoil.
Strategic Actions
Activity
Developing Strategy for Permeabilization and Soil De-sealing
According to future forecasts, an increase in torrential rainfall is expected in Teresina, events that the city will not be able to cope adequately without a powerful green and blue infrastructure. Thus, a program for permeabilization and unsealing of soils should be designed and implemented. This should work in conjunction with the urban greening and revegetation strategy. Both strategies strengthen and reinforce each other, generating in this way positive synergies for the city and as a result this would also enhance the outcomes of both initiatives.
Strategic Actions
Activity
Improvement and extension of recycling system to prevent water and soil contamination
In addition to the environmental benefits, a proper design and implementation of a recycling and material recovery system can have positive economic effects, such as generating a recycling industry. Beyond the above, it can also have positive social effects since it is one of the areas of action in which social insertion initiatives and projects are often developed, in collaboration with third sector entities.
Intra-governamental Coordintation for Coherent Urban Planning and Implementation
Recommended action
3
Capacity Building
Activity
Urban Planning and Implementation Guide Book, Checklist and Technical Manuals
In extensive administrative bodies organized in silos, it is necessary to establish common and general interpretation and implementation criteria, in such a way that the objectives and criteria set from the beginning into plans, programs and projects are not misinterpreted, distorted or blurred in the process of their implementation. These documents can be in a first phase guide books, checklists, technical manuals on paper. However, with the progressive development of the Recommended Action, the use or upgrade to other formats and supports should also be considered
Organisational Improvement
Activity
Organizational restructuring and coordination
Coordination in large administrations is often difficult and time consuming and this complicates the definition of agreed and shared strategies and hinders decision-making processes. For this reason, it is proposed to carry out a study and analysis of the organization chart and the proposal for greater functional and structural coordination between departments with overlapping competencies and work areas.
Line of action
Strategic
Related SDGs goals:
8
9
11
16
17
Building a strong and resilient local economy
Learn more
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Increasing local government capacity for municipal service modernisation
Recommended action
1
Capacity Building
Activity
Staff Capacity Building for Increased Municipal Revenue
In a city with few financial resources, it needs to improve fundraising strategies to finance sustainable development actions. The city of Teresina has limited own revenues, making it difficult to deliver adequate municipal services in all sectors. There is a challenge in Property Tax collection, and a large gap in comparison with other brazilian capitals.The diagnosis identified lack of technical skills, information deficits, overburdened responsibilities to staff, and staff overlapping activities. Capacity building is key to run the ongoing municipality programs, but it is also important that city staff is in the lookout of ways to increase municipal revenue as there are various tax collection opportunities that can increase economic development funding.
Organisational Improvement
Activity
Municipal strategy and mechanisms to improve the monitoring and evaluation of service efficiency
Better public services favours investment attraction, facilitates local entrepreneurship and improves people's quality of life. The data and indicator collection phase regarding municipal public services for the CRGP Diagnostic highlighted information gaps in this area and thus the need to establish monitoring mechanisms for municipal public services to improve service delivery, and thus development benefits to the population, as well as make public administration more efficient and less costly.
Improving Urban Mobility Management for Higher Productivity
Recommended action
2
Organisational Improvement
Activity
Create a Local Mobility Agency for Operations and Integrate Mobility Planning into the Macro-Area of Planning and Environment
The transport department current management model does not meet the need for agility in the planning, coordination and supervision of municipal mobility. It is thus recommended to update the model following the successful example of other cities, with a Local Transportation Agency, and integrating the mobility planning units with the other urban planning sectors under the Secretariat of Planning.
Organisational Improvement
Activity
Creation of a joint committee to ensure transport oriented development and relive discussion of the city's Logistics Plan
Interconnectivity challenges were identified as limiting factors to local economic growth. However, the city has not developed a logistics plan to guide the development and fund raising for the improvement of local logistics. Therefore, the creation of an inter-sectorial committee is proposed to resume discussions for the creation of a municipal strategy to improve urban logistics.
City Re-branding for Investment Attraction and Innovation r
Recommended action
3
Capacity Building
Activity
Set up City-to-City Cooperation for knowledge transfer
Creating new administrative mechanisms is challenging for a city when officials do not know in depth how to implement these changes. Cooperation with cities that have already implemented similar actions facilitates the anticipation and resolution of problems and offers possible paths for their feasibility.
Organizational Improvement
Activity
Set up a Local Economic Development Agency for Territorial Marketing (LEDA)
The municipality has struggled to implement its strategic economic development actions due to limitations in its organisational structure. The economic development department lacks the necessary resources and competencies to enable projects and coordinate the various actors required to leverage economic development strategies. Thus, the creation of a LEDA (Local Economic Development Agency) is proposed to overcome administrative limitations, facilitate knowledge exchange, conduct studies and coordinate multiple actors for place-based economic development strategies.
Organizational Improvement
Activity
Create a private, public, and academic committee to formulate a work agenda around science, technology, innovation, education
As a way to promote urban governance and coordination the city should make the effort of creating a private, public, and academic committee to formulate a work agenda around science, technology, innovation, education, and health. Part of the agenda can include a plan to increase the number of graduates of the cities who are knowledgeable in subjects that feed the high-tech industry and/or health industry.
Strategic Actions
Activity
Promote innovation in the city for and by the youth
Engage the city with private and academia stakeholders in activities that promote innovation to create more jobs around ICT as well as contribute to re-branding of the city, including creating a municipal support package for startups, fostering the set-up of youth committes, and expading the city's accelerator hub.
Enhancing Access to Markets & Employment Opportunities for the Informal Sector
Recommended action
4
Awareness Raising
Activity
Awareness-raising campaign for access to credits, grants and skills through civil society engagement
Although the city offers solutions for integration into the formal economy, including access to micro-credit allied to skills training, and others, public engagement is still limited and there is a lack of dissemination strategies. Therefore, a bold, continuous, and integrated action is proposed to offer integrated packages to micro-entrepreneurs in order to increase local entrepreneurship and more formal job opportunities.
Capacity Building
Activity
Strengthen Popular Bank's technical capacity through capacity building
The People' Bank of the municipality of Teresina had and continues to have an essential role during the economic crisis caused by the pandemic of COVID-19, proving to be a powerful policy for streghtening economic resilience, especially for the small and informal sectors. However, the diagnosis showed that their operating capacity is limited, requiring greater technical capacity to increase the supply of micro-credit, associated also with better management mechanisms.
Organisational Improvement
Activity
Strengthen collaboration with fundraising sectors to increase Popular Bank's microcredit fund
The People' Bank of Teresina operates with credits defined in the municipal budget, which has limited resources. This activity seeks closer cooperation with fundraising sectors to expand the bank's capacities to foster the local economy, becoming a reference place for supporting informal workers, encouraging formalisation and modernisation of small and micro-businesses.
Strategic Actions
Activity
Develop a study to identify and characterize the informal sector in Teresina through collaborations with academia and non-profit organizations
To better tailor municipal policies to include the informal economy, it is necessary detailed information regarding this sector and the municipality does not dispose of in-depth researches or studies about its informal economy. There is also an information gap concerning this sector in traditional databases. Thus, it is proposed to commission technical studies that characterise this sector and inform policy-making, improving the access to target beneficiaires, as well as service offer.

Report

The Teresina’s Recommendations of Actions for Resilience and Sustainability

The following documents report the Local Government, in this case, the Municipality of Teresina, of the city’s current state with regards to resilience and ongoing related trends, based on conclusions derived from the City Resilience Profiling Tool implementation process described in those documents.
English
Teresina’s Recommended Actions for Resilience and Sustainability
A set of activities and actions based on the project’s theory of change, guides municipal public policies in response to the priority issues previously identified.
"Teresina’s resilience program was a self-assessment—it was as if the city had attended a therapy session."
Cintia Bartz, Head of Teresina Agenda 2030 and coordinator of
the urban planning department of the municipality.

Resources

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