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About Recife

Recife is the capital of Pernambuco State, Brazil. The city was founded in 1537. Recife is very concerned with climate change as it is one of the large cities most vulnerable to climate variability and extreme hydrometerological events according to IPCC.

Geraldo Júlio, Mayor of Recife about Recife's commitment in the Urban-LEDS project: “We have made the commitment to a social and economic model structured on a sustainable basis. The Urban-LEDS initiative is a key factor in helping us to meet our targets.”

About the City

Land area (km2)

218.5 km2


1,537,704 (2010)

Population growth rate

0.78% per year (2000 - 2010)

Population density (hab / km2)

64.78 inh./km²

Main economic activity

Industry, Services, Fishery, Tourism

Community type

Metropolitan area

About the Local Government

Official name

Prefeitura do Recife

Official name in English

Municipality of Recife

Number of municipal employees


Annual income in USD

USD 1.47637 billion (2012) 

Annual expenditure in USD

USD 1,67591 billion (2012) 

Mayor or senior elected representative

Geraldo Júlio de Mello Filho

Municipal Commissioner or senior appointed representative

Vicente André Gomes: President of Chamber of Municipal Representatives

City vision and mission statement

Recife aims to become a model at the regional level in addressing climate change and sustainable development. Recife also intends to be a role model taking into consideration the main topics of its sustainable agenda. A Bill of Law on climate change is under analysis of the Municipal Chamber. These activities are part of the Current Government Program ( 2013-2016).



Urban systems, infrastructures and services managed by the Local Government

Waste management, wastewater drainage

ICLEI Membership


Member of regional/national/global initiatives


Original vision and practise

Description of relevant existing development policies

Recife plans to invest in high performance and capacity public transportation, with a reduction in the use of fossil fuels. Recife metropolitan region produces 4,982.30 tons per day, which almost 100% is sent to landfills, only 0,17% of the waste produced is recycled.

To overcome the problems regarding waste management the city of Recife has developed the Municipal Integrated Waste Management Plan, and implemented a campaign to collect electronic waste.

The LEDS is a way to achieve a better waste management process, with the implementation of the screening and recycling systems will result in emission reductions by reducing the amount of waste sent to landfills. Recife has o project to change the public lighting with more efficient LED lamps, not only for street lighting but also for public spaces and buildings.

Current review process of existing policies , plans, strategies and activities

Recife is a pioneer on implementation of innovative management actions that incentive other cities in the region and wishes to become a reference in sustainable cities.The priority sectors of Recife are transport and mobility, waste management, urban planning, environment and sustainability, public health and education. 

At a glance

% access to electricity


% access to district heating


% access to district cooling


% served by municipal water system


% served by municipal wastewater drainage system


% served by municipal solid waste collection system


Solid waste generation per inhabitant

657 kg/inh./yr.

% living in informal settlements


Energy profile

Energy consumption in the community per inhabitant

2.794.880 MwH (2007)

Total GHG emissions from the community: 169,677 tCO2e tCO2e (2012)

GHG inventory established in project:

For more information on the city's GHG emission reporting, visit their profile on the carbonn Climate Registry.

The Municipal Integrated Waste Management Plan

The Recife Metropolitan Region produces 4,982.30 tons of waste per day, of which almost 100% is sent to a landfill. Only 0.17% of the waste produced is being recycled. To overcome the problems regarding waste management, the City of Recife has developed the Municipal Integrated Waste Management Plan and implemented a campaign to collect electronic waste. To reduce emissions by decreasing the amount of waste sent to landfills, the implementation of waste separation and recycling systems is being explored in the Urban-LEDS project – a first initiative recently decided on, is to start a domestic composting program in 2015.

Public LED Lighting and Biofuel for the Municipal Fleet

Recently, Recife also selected a pilot area in the historical center for replacing conventional light bulbs with light emitting diodes (LED) lighting to save energy. It is planned to extend this later to public spaces and buildings. The Urban-LEDS project has supported the city to make this a priority action, leading to an investment of USD 1.7 million. The overall goal is to save 50% to 70% in energy consumption in this pilot area and then to replicate this approach in other areas of the city. Some traffic lights were also substituted. In the near future, the city plans to make its municipal fleet more sustainable by replacing gasoline with ethanol (biofuel). Recife will also be the first city in Brazil to have an electric car sharing scheme in partnership with the State Government.

Carbon sinks

Recife’s afforestation is among the priorities of the urban and environmental development policy. The presence of trees in the city is important to maintain the ecological balance. 6,716 trees will be planted in 451 Streets in 8 neighborhoods.

Creation of bus corridors (North/South and East/West)

These exclusive corridors will improve passenger transport flow in Recife and to other cities in the Metropolitan Region. Recife is the third Brazilian Capital and the sixth city in the world where most time is lost in traffic, which compromises the quality of life. Citizens will regain 3 hours of their day, once it operates. Implementation support comes from an urban planner from the International Society of City and Regional Planners (ISOCARP).

Increase of bike lanes in the city

Recife is a flat city with beautiful landscapes. The majority of the population did not have dedicated bike lanes. Mayor Geraldo Júlio authorized the use of bike lanes, using streets especially on weekends when car access is restricted.

Capibaribe River Navigability Project

Boats to transport passengers is explored as an additional transport option on 2 routes – at an average speed of 18km/h – respectively covering 11 km (western route) and 2.9 km (northern route). Stations for arrival and departure are to be linked to the metropolitan transport system. This will allow passengers to use their ticket in the whole public transport. The new system will attend eighty thousand passengers per month.

Green Roof Law

In December 2014 Recife has approved a municipal law on Green Roofs demanding that buildings with more than 4 floors must have the roofs covered with native vegetation. Moreover any commercial building with more than 400 sq meters will have to cover roofs as well.

Sustainable Construction Code

Green building policy is quickly advancing through the newly developed Sustainable Construction Code and municipal green roof mandate. Together, Recife continues to face its climate challenges head on with low-carbon actions.

Spatial Planning Technical Assistance

Recife received technical assistance from an ISOCARP (International Society of City and Regional Planners) accredited spatial planning expert who analyzed and recommended strategies to improve mobility and urban infrastructure in Recife. The expert’s report developed guidelines to revise the City’s Master Plan and implement dynamic “made in Recife” low emission development strategies.

Low Carbon Development Preliminary Plan 

The City of Recife held its 4th Climate Change Forum (COMCLIMA) meeting to finalize the main guidelines of the City's Low Carbon Development Preliminary Plan, which is being developed under the Urban-LEDS project. The meeting identified priority initiatives in the transport, waste, energy and urban sustainable development sectors. The next step of the Low Carbon Preliminary Plan will consist in setting reduction targets.

Further engagements

  • Reporting in the carbonn Climate Registry (www.carbonn.org)
  • Earth Hour City Challenge participant (2014)
  • GHG inventory is compliant with the Global Protocol on Community-Scale Gas Emissions (GPC)

For more information on the city's mitigation activities reporting, visit their profile on the carbonn Climate Registry.

GCC tracking for Recife
Step I
Step II
Step III

GreenClimateCities methodology - Legend

GreenClimateCities Methodology - Chart

Urban LEDS

Main factors for city selection

Recife is the capital and largest city in the State of Pernambuco, considered a hotspot by IPCC 4th Assessment Report. It is also part of the fifth-largest metropolitan area in Brazil.  ICLEI had the opportunity to implement in the State the Project “Developing State Policies and Action to Combat Climate Change, under which state level policy and legal framework was established. The selection also took into account that the Northeast region in Brazil has lacked opportunities for cooperation on sustainable urban projects and is one of the fastest growing regions in the country. It is a great opportunity to jointly address social development, low emissions strategies and resilience.

  • Rapid population and urban growth (2000-2010: approx. +115.000 inhabitants) with a number of relevant challenges (see below).
  • Co-host of FIFA World Cup 2014.
  • Municipal Bill of Law on Sustainability and Climate Change Policy is under analysis by the Municipal Chamber, with a well-established institutional and legal capacity on climate change.
  • These activities are part of the Government Program (2013-2016).


Low carbon vision

The city is committed to be a model of social and economic development based on sustainability. To this end Recife has developed a Municipal Policy on Climate Change and Sustainability to guide actions on sustainabibility and climate change mitigation and adaptation. These activities are part of its Current Government Program (2013-2016). Recife aims to be a leader in the Brazilian North-eastern region. 


  • Final energy consumption in the community: Data available only for electricity consumption (per inhabitant): 2.794.880 Mwh (2007)
  • GHG emissions from the community: 3.115.341 tCO2e (2012)
  • Main economic activity: Industry, Services, Fishery, Tourism
  • Main priority sectors for Low Emission Urban Development: Transport/ Mobility, Urban Planning/Spatial Development, Green Spaces, Waste, Buildings




The city is in the process of analyzing data in order to set specific commitments based on factual information from the GHG inventory.


City's main challenges

Urban Planning ( narrow main avenues, restrict areas for construction)

  • Prepare to co-host the FIFA World Cup 2014.Waste and wastewater management deficit. The lack of a sewage system and inefficient waste management system is affecting impoverished population.
  • Mobility and transportation. There has been rapid growth in the use of vehicles creating serious problems in urban mobility.
  • The majority of municipal staff is not familiar with climate change and urban low emission development.


Main LED priorities of the city and LED aspirations

Recife is committed with a model of social and economic development based on sustainability. Recife believes it has to be a leading figure in the Pernambuco State development and in the Northeast Region.

  • Interested in strengthening capacity on climate change and environment.
  • Aims to become a model at the regional level in addressing climate change and sustainable development, taking into consideration the main topics of its sustainability agenda.


Lessons learned and replication

  • Strong partnerships propel LEDS planning and action.
  • Urban-LEDS spatial planning creates livable cities. Through the Urban-LEDS Spatial Planning Competition, the City is also currently reprioritizing its Master Plan to align with low-carbon approaches.
  • Recife’s low-carbon future depends on the community at large. Everyone’s actions count, therefore the Municipal Administration is looking for funding to develop a broader educational campaign to disseminate relevant information on climate change mitigation and improve sustainable behavior among the local population.

Pre-existing city policies and strategies (climate and energy)

Public announcements & commitments to low emission development

Currently the city is on the process of approval of the Municipal Climate Change Bill which tackles Low Emission Development influenced by Urban LEDS aspirations

Urban-LEDS process / GreenClimateCities methodology implementation

Urban-LEDS MoU with ICLEI ( name of document, date)

Memorando de Entendimento, April 23, 2013.

General description of process

Implementation of GCC is being udertaken as planned with some minor delays in the process of data collection for the GHG inventorydelayed due to internal political arrangements

Local Government  department responsible for Urban-LEDS activities and implementation

Secretaria de Meio Ambiente e Sustentabilidade ( Secretary of Environment and Sustainability)

Actors involved in the City LEDS development and implementation

Recife has built its Climate Chaneg Committee, which is composed by Secretaries fo Environment, Urban Planning, Transport, Waste Management, habitation and Mayor, also includes representatives of civil society

When and how were higher levels of government involved?

The Mayor is currently supervising the progress of Urban LEDS in regular meetings ( Monthly/bi-monthly) with all Secretaries

When and how were the stakeholders involved?

At the launch of the Climate Change Committee at the 1st National Seminar Urban LEDS

How was the public debate during the process?

The contributions were made through the institutional website and through meetings. Currently the Municipal Climate Change bill is under the debate process, contribution can me made via institutional website and at a meeting that is due to be called.