MONTERREY, MEXICO — April 26, 2022— Today, the Mayor of Monterrey, Mexico, Luis Donaldo Colosio Riojas, created an office that will focus on extreme heat and appointed Surella Segú to the role of Chief Heat Officer (CHO) in partnership with the Atlantic Council’s Adrienne Arsht-Rockefeller Foundation Resilience Center (Arsht-Rock).
Ms. Surella Segú – the first to hold the CHO position in Mexico and Central America– joins a global coalition of city leaders and experts committed to reducing the growing threat of extreme urban heat for vulnerable people. The appointment also marks Monterrey’s initiation into City Champions for Heat Action (CCHA), a cornerstone initiative led by Arsht-Rock.
We went to the COP in Glasgow with the objective of making clear that Monterrey takes tackling the climate emergency seriously. Because of that, we joined forces with the Adrienne Arsth-Rockefeller Resilience Center, and today in an unprecedented act, I am pleased to share that we opened an office where research, work, and solutions will be generated, and very importantly—we’ll also receive resources to increase the quality of life in the municipality hand in hand with a great ally
Monterrey is the fifth city to name a CHO as part of the City Champions for Heat Action initiative, closely following founding members in Miami-Dade County, U.S.; Athens, Greece; Freetown, Sierra Leone; and Santiago, Chile. Surella Segú is an architect and urban designer focused on urban renewal best practices and the use of interdisciplinary approaches to develop comprehensive and sustainable solutions to counter problematic urban development patterns still dominant in the Global South. Segú was head of the Urban Development Department at Mexico’s Institute of the National Housing Fund for Workers (Infonavit) since its creation in 2013 until the end of 2016.
“I am proud to become Monterrey’s Chief Heat Officer and the first one in Mexico and Central America to be entrusted with the important role of not only raising awareness about the dangers of extreme heat but to also identify and implement the climate solutions needed to safeguard our people, particularly our most vulnerable, from the mounting risks that extreme temperatures pose,” said Surella Segú. “I look forward to collaborating with Arsht-Rock and my fellow CHOs about the innovative steps they are taking to adapt to and reduce their heat risks for a more sustainable future.”
The increase in frequency, duration and intensity of heat waves will affect more that 3.5 billion people by 2070, with 1.6 billion living in dense urban areas. In 2020, 96% of the population of the state of Nuevo León where Monterrey is located lived in urban areas and only 4% in rural areas. This places an increased risk to most of the population that is concentrated in the metropolitan area, including Monterrey.
“Segú’s appointment as Chief Heat Officer for Monterrey provides further proof that a growing and urgent global movement is afoot to protect people disproportionately affected by climate driven extreme heat: the deadliest yet least understood of all climate hazards,” said Kathy Baughman McLeod, SVP & Director of the Atlantic Council’s Adrienne Arsht-Rockefeller Foundation Resilience Center. “The actions and policies that will be implemented will be critical to protect the health of people in Monterrey, a city highly prone to water scarcity and wildfires, conditions which will only be exacerbated by the increase in temperatures and expanding urban areas.”