ANTIGUA, Guatemala – City mayors, development planners, and civil society representatives met on Monday in Antigua, Guatemala on the margins of the 43rd Organization of American States (OAS) General Assembly to discuss challenges linked to rapid urbanization in the Americas and exchange best practices for the sustainable development of cities and communities.
Participants also discussed priority areas for cooperation on urban sustainability ahead of the 7th World Urban Forum in Medellin, Colombia, in 2014.
The public roundtable discussion on the theme Building Sustainable Cities and Communities in the Americas: From Demonstration Projects to Scale was hosted by the Spanish Agency for International Development (AECID) Cooperation Training Center in Antigua and jointly organized by the Department of Sustainable Development of the OAS and the Permanent Missions of Guatemala and the United States.
The meeting took place in the context of the Sustainable Communities in Central America and the Caribbean initiative, which was launched in 2012 under the framework of the Energy and Climate Partnership of the Americas (ECPA) with support from the U.S. Department of State. This initiative supports the implementation of 14 community-level demonstration projects in the following priority areas:
- Clean energy and energy efficiency;
- Resilience to natural disasters;
- Sustainable transport solutions; and
- Waste management and recycling (including electronic waste).
Representatives from all 14 projects were on hand.
Ambassador Carmen Lomellin, U.S. Permanent Representative to the OAS, emphasized the need for collective action to address shared challenges and invited all OAS member states to contribute to future collaboration on urban sustainability through the OAS. She noted that the roundtable provided an important opportunity for dialogue that facilitates the exchange of lessons learned and best practices in urban design and planning. Ambassador Lomellin pointed to the Sustainable Communities initiative as an example of fruitful cooperation under ECPA.