Within the framework of the European Week of Regions and Cities, a space took place where the member cities of the International Urban Cooperation Program for Latin America and the Caribbean, North America and Europe presented the results of their cooperation with peers from other regions on sustainable urban development.
Organized by DG Regio, and started with the words of its main advisor, Rudolf Niessler, the session featured two thematic panels: mobility and digital transition, where experiences, lessons learned and recommendations from the cities of Buenos Aires (Argentina), San Diego (United States) and Turin (Italy) were presented; and a panel on circular economy and energy transition, where Barranquilla (Colombia), Edmonton (Canada) and Bologna (Italy) participated.
Niessler highlighted “the committed work of the cities and governments” participating in the IUC program and assured that “IUC has produced great results in areas such as mobility, transport, urban regeneration, tourism or innovation.”
He was followed by the words of Nelson Jorge, Member of the Foreign Policy Instruments Service (FPI), of the European Commission, who highlighted the importance of the program continuing to be implemented in the coming years and assured that “there is still a lot of knowledge that we can share among us”.
The panel highlighted, in the first place, the work experience between Buenos Aires (Argentina) and Madrid (Spain), part of IUC-LAC, which shared knowledge to improve their main arteries, Corrientes Avenue and Gran Vía. The Subsecretary of Urban Landscape of the Ministry of Public Space of Buenos Aires, Juan Vacas, assured that “the project to improve Corrientes Avenue with IUC-LAC was a great opportunity for Buenos Aires. We work with Madrid, specifically with Gran Vía, on challenges similar to those of our avenue, such as high traffic, pollution, noise, or complex waste management”. “As a result of that work, now more than 60% of Corrientes Avenue is only for pedestrians,” he said.
Secondly, the work of San Diego (USA) with Strasbourg (France) was put into words by the Deputy Director of Environmental Policy, Mobility and Public Spaces, Alyssa Muto. The partners worked on information systems to guide people through physical environments (wayfinding), the reorganization of public space for the use of other vehicles such as bicycles and dialogue with communities.
The work of Turin (Italy) with Grande ABC (Brazil), a consortium of 6 Brazilian municipalities, which focused on improving their transportation systems, was also exposed. Thanks to the collaboration framed in the IUC-LAC program, Grande ABC will become the first public consortium in Brazil to centralize the mobility management of a group of municipalities. The person in charge of transport and mobility of the Mayor’s Office of Turin, Giuseppe Estivo, assured that “a great work was carried out on mobility with Grande ABC, specifically in the axes of intelligent routes, transport integration and mobility plans. Our desire is to continue collaborating in the future, improving the integration between the public and private sectors”.
The space continued with the panel on circular economy and energy transition, which was presented by the IUC cooperation coordinator, Juliana Izquierdo.
Regarding these axes, the presentation of Barranquilla (Colombia) stood out, which with the Italian cities of Rome and Velletri has been working on an urban agriculture project to alleviate the problem of food insecurity in their city.
“In the Villas de San Pablo neighborhood, where the project is being developed, only 5% of the population has knowledge of agriculture and more than 78% do not have guaranteed food security,” said the Head of International Relations of the Mayor’s Office of Barranquilla, Manuel Trujillo.
“We are extremely grateful to the European Union and the IUC program for having allowed us to be part of this project and we hope that the work can continue in the future,” said the Colombian representative.
Also highlighted were the pairings in Bologna (Italy) and Austin (USA), which prioritized their work in circular economy over agriculture and innovation, and the pairing in Edmonton (Canada) and Riga (Latvia), which dealt with innovative models of heating and hydrogen-based transport.
More than 100 representatives of cities participating in the IUC program gathered at the event, which was held virtually for the first time.
Since 2017, the International Urban Cooperation Program (IUC), funded by the European Union, supports 165 cities in different regions of the globe to connect and share solutions to common problems in sustainable urban development within the framework of the New Urban Agenda and the fight against Climate Change. More in www.iuc-la.eu