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“Cities Looking to the Future”: thematic networks, superblocks and energy efficiency in buildings, the highlights of the first day of regional networking.

Today, October 6, the IUC-LAC “Cities Looking to the Future” regional networking event began. The central axis of the conference was the way in which cooperation between the European Union and Latin America and the Caribbean supports cities to transform their common challenges into opportunities for a sustainable future for them.

In the opening remarks, Maria Rosa Sabbatelli, Director of the Regional Team of Foreign Policy Instruments for the Americas (EEAS-BRASILIA) highlighted that “in 3 years of the project, 52 cities have participated through 26 pairings” and thanked the participants and to the cities that are part of the cooperation: “Thank you for having worked city to city from the basis of cooperation to promote the well-being of citizens.”

The event was divided into two blocks. During the first, the plenary “IURC and Focus on Thematic Networks” was held where Sandra Marin, Coordinator of IUC-LAC City-to-City Cooperation, spoke of the positive results of the IUC program in its more than 3 years of duration and of how this will evolve in the coming months to become the International Urban and Regional Cooperation program (IURC).

Then, the workshops “Superblocks” and “Energy Efficiency in Buildings” were developed simultaneously.

The “Superblocks” workshop was led by the President of the Urban and Territorial Ecology Foundation, Salvador Rueda, who showed how superblocks are catalysts for public space, sustainable urban mobility and environmental justice. Rueda highlighted that “one of the basic rights is access to the city”, clearly alluding to the need for cities to be healthy for their inhabitants.

The Energy Efficiency in Buildings workshop, for its part, presented the work of the Valencian Building Institute (IVE), a research institute in Valencia (Spain) whose work consists of improving the quality and sustainability of construction through research and development in the field of building. The experts Begoña Serrano and Miriam Navarro Escudero addressed the challenges of cities through practical cases, especially highlighting the opportunities offered by the rehabilitation of buildings, a more sustainable process than construction and that is aligned with the European Green Pact. During the presentation, Ana Sanchís, from IVE, highlighted that “the renovation of residential buildings presents an opportunity to achieve significant improvements in people’s health, comfort and well-being”. For Begoña Serrano, the mentality is changing and “if we want or no, rehabilitation is no longer an option but an obligation by the European Green Pact and by all the directives that will be derived from this pact “.

During the event, an innovative space was also opened, the “Networking Café”, a space that promoted the exchange between representatives of the cities of the IUC-LAC program to discuss common interests and forge relationships to advance the sustainability objectives of their territories .

Tomorrow, the 7th, the plenary will address “Financing through European Programs”, where financing opportunities through programs of the European Union and the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) will be presented. The workshops will address, specifically, “Smart Mobility” and the “Circular Economy”.

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