Within the scope of the City-to-city cooperation of the International Urban Cooperation Programme, Ibagué, in Colombia, and Graz, in Austria, performed, from April 9 to April 12, their first bilateral meeting, in the Colombian city. The technical delegation from Graz got to know its Latin-American partner and the challenges that it faces, as well as their best practices examples. On the other side, Ibagué also learnt about Graz and its urban challenges.
During the four days of the meeting, the delegations have visited key places in the region, as the Cooperative University of Colombia, IBAL (Empresa Ibaguereña de Acueducto y Alcantarillado) and the city of Piedras, where they have visited the river Opia. This has been a great opportunity for the cities to project their images in the international arena.
The city technical groups worked on an initial Joint Workplan. The main priority areas of cooperation identified in the field of urban-rural integration are: Water Resource Management, Entrepreneurship and Smart Cities.
The cooperation coordinator, Juliana Izquierdo, considers that the visit was fruitful, since, in spite of the differences on the cities’ development levels, they have managed to identify cooperation themes that can benefit them mutually. Both cities recognize the importance of the integration and cooperation with their regions, once the identified cooperation areas are focused, not only on the city development, but also on the identification of projects with regional influence. “We have finished the mission with three clear cooperation themes defined, that are already being discussed so we can evolve on the cooperation before the second mission“, said Ms. Izquierdo.
In June, the delegation of Ibagué will visit Graz to get to know its partner and to continue the identification of cooperation themes and the formulation of joint plans.