“Our primary goal is to advance in territorial justice in a city characterised by its inequality and social segregation. We seek to learn from the experiences of others, and share ours. Being part of this important network will allow us to identify how other cities have addressed similar challenges, how they have articulated with other actors and made citizens part of the difficult path of constructing more inclusive and equitable cities”.
– Claudio Castro, Mayor of Renca
Claudio Castro was first elected as Mayor of Renca in December 2016, and was re-elected in 2021, winning 92.8% of the popular vote and earning the first national majority. He was part of the Christian Democratic Party (PDC) from 2011 to 2019, and is now an independent politician. Prior to becoming the Mayor of Renca, Castro served as Social Director for Latin America and the Caribbean at the NGO Techo and worked in the Ministry of Education of Chile, and founded the Office for Equity and Inclusion at the University of Chile. Claudio Castro is a civil engineer; he graduated from the Pontifical Catholic University of Chile where he chaired the Student Federation (FEUC) in 2006. He also has a Master’s degree in Public Administration from the London School of Economics.
Renca is home to nearly 6,000 companies that generate around 98,000 jobs, of which only 14% are held by residents of the commune. With this information, obtained from a Production Chaining Study commissioned by the University of Chile, the city of Renca seeks to transform local employment by building alliances with the private sector to increase work opportunities locally for city residents. One such initiative is the Platforma de Opportunidades Para Pequenas y Grandes Empresas platform (POR) that promotes business between large, medium and small enterprises in Renca by providing a single website that local businesses can search for partners and suppliers.
To address unemployment, which is higher than the average of the Metropolitan Region (7.2% unemployment as of December 2021), especially with regard to female inactivity, the city of Renca is working with companies and international organisations to increase employment opportunities for women. Examples of this are ‘Energia de Mujer’ a program aiming to support and strengthen entrepreneurships through the provision of training and seed capital, in partnership with local companies, and ‘Mujeres Emplea’ to provide women with safe, reliable childcare available flexible hours, to enhance their employability and help women back into the workforce, in partnership with UN Women.
An employment programme called ‘Contrata a tu vecin’ (Hire your neighbor) also aims to promote the ‘city of proximity’ by increasing the hiring of local workers and suppliers to promote economic growth that generates more and better opportunities for the residents of Renca.
The Municipality of Renca joined the global initiative “Race To Zero” in 2021, to commit to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050. Renca’s first action was to develop an inventory of local emissions that provides a baseline against which the city can annually measure emissions. To tackle climate change, Renca has promoted joint actions between the city and stakeholders such as local companies and residents. Actions include neighbourhood clean-ups, education campaigns, and the reforestation of the “Cerros de Renca” Metropolitan Park. These public-private alliances allow Renca to generate joint sustainability projects, and provide the means to generate joint emissions reduction reports and develop agendas that are coordinated with local policies such as the energy efficiency strategy, water efficiency strategy and the local climate change plan, all of which were designed with members of the community.
Mayor Claudio Castro places a great emphasis on ethical policies in Renca. In early 2022, the city joined the Anti-Corruption Alliance of the United Nations Convention Against Corruption (UNCAC), an initiative promoting public-private cooperation to generate and implement a first municipal code of ethics. This resulted in the creation of a committee and the Code of Ethics or Integrity. This code will serve as a behavioural guide for workers. With the aim of forging a policy of transparency and citizen participation, Renca also completed a community workshop to co-design the Municipality’s Action Plan.