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The second day of the IUC-LAC Regional Congress had smart mobility and the circular economy as protagonists

The second and last day of the IUC-LAC Regional Networking addressed the financing opportunities available in institutional programs of the European Union and the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), the circular economy and smart mobility.

The welcome was in charge of the Project Attaché of the Regional Team of Foreign Policy Instruments for the Americas (EEAS-BUENOS AIRES), Bárbara Roces, who took advantage of the space to thank “especially in this very complicated context, all cities for continue working and looking to the future with commitment” and assured that their action “enables their citizens to incorporate small changes on a day-to-day basis” in favor of more sustainable cities.

She was accompanied by the leader of Unit C5 of the European Commission – Cities, Local Authorities, Digitization and Infrastructure, Paolo Cicarelli, and the Senior Specialist of the IDB’s Housing and Urban Development Division, Ophelie Chevalier. In their presentation on financing through European programs, both spoke about the financing possibilities that exist, both at the level of sectoral policy, local and national programs, with the formation of institutional capacities. “Until recently, all of our financing was distributed in projects at the national level, but now we are also doing it at the local level,” said Cicarelli.

The workshop on smart mobility was attended by the General Secretary of POLIS, Cities and Regions for Innovation in Transport, Karen Vancluysen, and the Director of Policy and Projects of POLIS, Ivo Cré.

Vancluysen spoke of the importance of understanding smart mobility as a great opportunity for the transformation of cities. “When we talk about smart mobility policies, we talk about making political decisions that are not going to be popular on the first day but which in the long run will improve the lives of citizens. We must be able to anticipate what may happen and mitigate negative externalities,” he said, adding the example of Paris as a city that “made critical mobility decisions but whose citizens understood them, as they re-elected their authorities”.

“According to the General Secretary of POLIS, there is also a window of opportunity to capitalize on the good things that emerged from this crisis, but it will have to be proactive by the authorities and supporting us at the different levels of government.”

The Director of Policy and Projects of Polis, for his part, spoke of the improvement situation of public transport in the framework of the pandemic and assured that “we have to work to build trust so that people use public transport again. We have to think about public transport in a multimodal way so that the city keeps moving”.

In parallel, the circular economy workshop was held, which included presentations by Mike Oliveira and Natália Espinola, from the Ellen MacArthur Foundation. The experts talked about how to carry out, based on the available information, the transition to a circular economy in cities, aligning priorities such as housing, mobility and economic development. Carolina Lafemina from the São Paulo Mayor’s Office also participated.

Oliveira alluded to the need to change a production model that is “totally linear: we extract, produce and waste”, in order to conserve our habitat. “Cities are responsible for 75% of consumption, 50% of the waste produced and between 60% and 80% of greenhouse gas emissions,” highlighted Oliveira.

Carolina Lafemina, for her part, highlighted that São Paulo works in line with the Sustainable Development Goals and presented the results of the Food Bank Program, developed by the city, which, in her words, “since 2017, has donated more than 300 tons of food and trained more than 10,000 people”.

The Regional Congress concluded in its first virtual version with a notable participation of government teams and experts from the cities part of the IUC-LAC program. It also highlighted the interest shown by the participants, reflected in the dozens of questions asked to the conference speakers, and in the fluid conversation that took place during the interaction spaces, the networking cafes.

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