In T&T: IDB includes PoS in emerging sustainable cities initiative

13 April 2012


“Goal of the initiative is to form alliances”…”develop long-term strategies for sustainability in environmental, fiscal, and urban management…”

Port-of-Spain is one of five cities that the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) has included in its Emerging Sustainable Cities Initiative. The IDB plans to expand its programme to include at least one city in each of its 26 borrowing member countries. In addition, the bank will enable donor governments, firms, and foundations to sponsor the participation of additional cities.

The announcement was made by IDB President Luis Alberto Moreno in the seminar, Emerging Sustainable Cities Initiative: From Diagnosis to Action, which was held on March 20 in Montevideo, Uruguay. The event was co-sponsored by the municipality of Montevideo.

The initiative was launched last year to support cities with populations between 100,000 and two million people that are growing much faster than the region’s mega-cities.  The IDB estimates there are 140 of these emerging cities in Latin America and the Caribbean. The goal of the initiative is to form alliances with cities that wish to develop long-term strategies for sustainability in environmental, fiscal, and urban management, and to plan for the impacts of climate change.

Emerging cities

The initiative’s pilot phase included Montevideo, Port-of-Spain, Santa Ana (El Salvador), Trujillo (Peru), and Goiânia (Brazil). In each city, a team of sector experts from the IDB made a comprehensive and rigorous diagnosis and evaluated challenges that affect sustainability. Later, city officials used these inputs to prioritise problems and design an action plan to solve them. The IDB is now helping the cities to prepare investment projects and obtain funding from international sources to support these plans. In his keynote presentation, Moreno described how the diagnostic and planning methodology was applied. He also provided examples of how the pilot cities are preparing to address such challenges as digital connectivity, public transportation, solid waste management, and the restoration of a historical centre.

Jamaica, Bolivia
Ana Olivera, mayor of Montevideo, gave a presentation in which she explained how the IDB methodology will support a comprehensive programme to upgrade low-income neighbourhoods. In the coming months, Moreno said, the IDB will identify cities in Bolivia, Argentina, Colombia, Nicaragua, and Jamaica for inclusion in the initiative. More cities will continue to be added over the next five years. Moreno said that the bank is also partnering with organisations that want to expand and accelerate this process. He noted that the IDB has created a multi-donor fund to facilitate the participation of other cities that wish to use the IDB’s diagnostic and planning methodology.

The government of Austria made the first contribution to the fund for one million euro.The five member countries of the Nordic Fund announced a grant of two million euro during the Montevideo seminar. Moreno invited the private sector to follow the example of FEMSA Foundation and the International Community Foundation, which recently agreed to finance the participation of the city of La Paz in Baja California, Mexico. “The enthusiasm sparked by this initiative reflects a deep yearning in our societies,” said Moreno.” The population of Latin America and the Caribbean is still young, and we have 30 years to reach the peak of our growth.

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