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Jaime Pumarejo Heins

Executive Director - Breathe Cities
Jaime is responsible for the global roll-out, growth and impact of Breathe Cities.

Jaime Pumarejo Heins previously served as minister of Housing  and Urban Development for Colombia during the Juan Manuel Santos administration. Mayor of Barranquilla, Colombia, from 2020 to 2023, he gained national recognition for steering the city through the pandemic and establishing a model for sustainable and inclusive urban development, earning him recognition as the Best Mayor in Colombia (2020-2023) by the NGO Colombia Líder and as OECD Champion Mayor for Inclusive Growth. Honoured with the WRI’s Ross Center Prize for Cities and the OAS Award on Innovation in Effective Public Management, part of his legacy is to turn Barranquilla into the first city in the region with 100% bilingual public education in partnership with the British Council, a model now being replicated across Colombia. 
Some of Pumarejo’s achievements include reclaiming a degraded and forgotten mangrove forest, re-greening the city, kickstarting solar and wind powered infrastructure and fostering international collaborations for ambitious projects. As a co-founder of the BiodiverCities network of Latin America and the Caribbean, Pumarejo has demonstrated his commitment to regional environmental conservation and sustainable urban planning, earning him the 2024 Award for Urban Leadership from the University of Pennsylvania Institute for Urban Research. 
His commitment to democracy was honoured by the Colombian government, awarding him the Simon Bolivar Order of Democracy’s Great Cross. He serves on the Advisory Board of United Nation Environmental Programme’s Decade on Restoration, the World Economic Forum’s Global Commission on Nature Positive Cities, and the Global Commission on Urban SDG finance of the Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN). He holds an MBA from IE Business School and a bachelor’s from Purdue University. Jaime is currently collaborating on a documentary and book with Wade Davis, exploring Colombia’s rivers.