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Latin American political representatives meet in Cartagena to discuss climate finance

More than 100 representatives between governments, municipalities, development banks, international organizations and associations of municipalities working to combat climate change and partners of the Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate and Energy, met in Cartagena de Indias (Colombia) among the September 25 and 26 to talk about financing sustainable urban development and climate action, in a workshop led by the European Union’s International Urban Cooperation Program (IUC-LAC).

The welcoming words, carried out by the representative of the European Union’s Partnership Instrument, Lise Pate, clearly reflected the reason for the event: “achieving high quality urban plans is a milestone that has been the main focus of our work with the IUC Program -LAC, but turning them into bankable projects is another big step. The objective of today’s workshop is to bring options to cities for their projects to be financed”, said Pate.

“It is in cities where we have the possibility to advance on important issues, such as sustainable urban development,” said DNP-Colombia Subsecretary for Housing and Urban Development, José Antonio Pinzón Bermúdez, who continued.


Lise Pate and José Antonio Bermúdez in the welcoming the Regional Dialogue on Climate Finance

Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) is undergoing an irreversible urbanization process where, despite the problems faced, cities seek to be agents of contributing solutions. However, they sometimes face the problem of not having enough funds to do so. According to the report by the Overseas Development Institute (ODI) and Fundación Boll, in the last 20 years, only 10% of the 17.4 million dollars in climate finance reached the local governments, unevenly, as they reached more strongly the big countries in the region, such as Brazil and Mexico.

Along with these difficulties in accessing climate finance, which is normally channeled by national authorities, is the lack of technical capacity at the local level, the lack of experience in developing financing projects and the deficit in alternative financial mechanisms.

After the introduction, in charge of the Director of IUC-LAC, Manuel Fuentes, and the Head of the IUC Global Coordination Unit, Giorgia Rambelli, the workshop focused on an interactive discussion on mobilizing investments for sustainable urban development, entitled “How can cities guarantee the necessary capital for sustainable urban development by 2030?” ”.

The Mayor of Bell Ville (Córdoba) Carlos Briner, spoke with the IUC about the importance of climate finance that was being discussed at the meeting, guaranteeing that in the workshop “it completely disintegrated this financing conflict that all mayors lack due to barriers with the central governments of each country, who do not understand how the issue of climate change works from the municipal level, that is, from the bottom up. ”

Debate on mobilizing investments for sustainable urban development

Subsequently, a session was started on the opportunities and obstacles for municipalities in terms of access to climate finance, where Sol Rivas Aguilar, responsible for the Department of International Cooperation of the City of Miraflores (Peru), took the floor. who commented that “in the global chain there is no city too small that it cannot teach nor too large that it cannot learn”.

The first day ended with the session “From planning to implementation: What to do and what not to do to finance local action”.

The Executive Director of the Cities for Life Forum (FCV), Liliana Miranda, meanwhile, pointed out to the IUC the work that 25 municipalities in Peru are doing “that have already signed up to the Pact and are working on identifying their climate risks, assessing vulnerabilities, defining adaptation measures and ensuring that “so that better than an event like this, it tells us what the financing possibilities are for these measures”.

The political representatives of Latin American countries participated in the meeting, such as Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Peru and Uruguay, as can be seen:

According to the Director of the International Urban Cooperation Program in Latin America and the Caribbean (IUC-LAC), Manuel Fuentes, the workshop is very important because “unlike what happens with the European Union, which offers financial support, such as donations and loans to cities in their member states, similar support does not yet exist in Latin America and the Caribbean. Hence the importance of workshops like this to learn how to apply for financing for the development of sustainable development policies in cities”.

Attracting capital investments for climate action is one of the main challenges facing cities in the region. So says the Representative of the Association of Ecuadorian Municipalities, Cecilia Pozo, who commented “this financing hardly reaches the municipal governments, the municipalities that carry out these activities. I think it is very good to look for a methodology to channel this funding and to really reach those who will carry out these actions for climate change”.

In the same vein was the Knowledge Management Coordinator of the National Advisory Committee of the Colombian Federation of Municipalities, Paola García, who stated that  it is necessary for small municipalities to be able to know where to find resources and define projects to have access to these resource banks ”.

Finally, the environmental professional from the Municipality of Temuco, Sergio Otth, stressed the importance of the event, guaranteeing that “it is very important to be able to participate in these activities in order to be able to connect, learn about experiences outside our country and, thus, work in together with other cities in our country to be able to come together and seek common goals, since our concerns are transversal ”.

During the second day of the event, September 26, the participants were divided into two working groups: Cooperation from city to city, implementation of the New Urban Agenda through local action; and the Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate and Energy in Latin America and the Caribbean, from commitment to action.

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