The European Union’s International Urban Cooperation Program (IUC) was represented at the 10th World Urban Forum 2020, held in Abu Dhabi (United Arab Emirates), from 8 to 14 February. In turn, the regional program for Latin America and the Caribbean was represented thanks to the participation of the city of Miraflores (Peru), which exhibited its work together with its European counterpart, Larissa (Greece).
Organized by UN-Habitat, the 10th World Urban Forum is the most important international meeting on urbanization and human settlements. The event brought together the main actors in terms of sustainable urban development in the world. It was a space for interaction between governments, international representatives, financing agencies, donors, young innovators, decision makers and other specialists in sustainable urbanization. It had more than 18,000 participants, 168 countries, and more than 450 speakers who discussed, among other topics, the importance of culture and innovation in sustainable urban development processes.
Space for debate on circular economy within the scope of the World Urban Forum
During the event organized by the IUC program, the European Commission officially launched the second phase of the International Urban Cooperation Program, which will feature 148 new cities in the European Union, America, Asia and Australia that will be added to the program in the coming months. The decision was announced by European Commissioner Elisa Ferreira, given the applause of the participants.
During the event’s program, the International Urban Cooperation Program – Latin America and the Caribbean (IUC-LAC) was responsible for two sessions. The first session had as main theme the implementation of the New Urban Agenda at the local level, in which the importance of cooperation between cities to promote sustainable urban development in the territories was explained. The representatives of the IUC-LAC program had the opportunity to showcase the successes and lessons learned during the three years of implementation of the program.
The space was attended by the Principal Advisor for International Relations of the European Commission’s General Directorate for Regional and Urban Policy, Rudolf Niessler, the head of the Office for Europe and the UN-Habitat European Institutions, Paulius Kulikauskas, the mayor of the city of Mannheim (Germany), Peter Kurz, Vice Mayor of Madrid (Spain), Begoña Villacís, and the Director of Planning, Development and Transport at Fort Collins (USA), Caryn Champine.
The afternoon session’s agenda dealt with culture and innovation as engines of sustainable urban development. IUC-LAC was represented by the pair of cities of Miraflores (Peru) and Larissa (Greece), who spoke about the promotion of cultural heritage through cooperation between cities, highlighting the practices of creating and implementing cultural routes and interventions in the historic center to boost low-impact economic activities. The exchange was presented by the president of the Municipal Council of Larissa, Dimitrios Tachos, the mayor of Miraflores, Luís Molina and by the representative of the IUC-LAC program, Juliana Izquierdo.
As a result of the work between the Larissa and Miraflores delegations under the European Union’s IUC-LAC program, teams from both cities signed a cooperation agreement, in which they undertook to work on some of the identified issues of interest, such as the implementation plan for the use of bicycles in both cities, the exchange of information for pedestrians in the center of Miraflores, in the improvement of risk systems in green areas, in addition to the mentioned protection and promotion of architectural and cultural heritage.
For the director of the IUC-LAC program, Claudio Acioly, who participated in the event in different activities, “the World Urban Forum offered a space for exchange and learning for Latin American cities to share their proposals and experiences and reinforce their policies with contributions and experiences from countless cities, programs and projects from around the world “.
About IUC-LAC (Latin America and the Caribbean)
The International Urban Cooperation Program (IUC) is a global program that supports cities in different regions to connect and share solutions to common challenges in sustainable urban development, within the scope of the New Urban Agenda and in the fight against climate change. The IUC program team for Latin America and the Caribbean is responsible for implementing the Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate and Energy.