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ECLAC wants new cities based on equality, sustainability and productivity

Saturday, October 07, 2017

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SANTIAGO, Chile (CMC) — The inaugural Cities Conference ended  on Friday with Latin America and the Caribbean calling for the construction of cities cantered on equality, sustainability and productivity.

Executive Secretary of the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC), Alicia Bárcena, said that Latin America and the Caribbean is the most urbanised developing region in the world, adding that, if the United States and Canada are added, it would become the most urbanised continent on the planet.

She said that the countries of the region are undergoing a mature and consolidated urbanisation process compared with other regions of the world, albeit with differences and asymmetries within countries and among different sub-regions.

However, Bárcena noted that, according to current estimates, in 2030 there will be more than 92 million additional people living in cities in the region, entailing significant additional demand for services, equipment, mobility, housing and urban land.

The senior ECLAC representative underlined that, despite significant progress made to reduce poverty rates, regional metropolises, large cities and medium and small human settlements are still marked by disparity, with high degrees of socioeconomic residential segregation.

Most capital cities in the region exceed the inequality warning line, Bárcena indicated.

“Socioeconomic segregation – the spatial expression of inequality – deepens inequity and contributes to social fragmentation and the high levels of violence that characterise many cities in Latin America and the Caribbean,” she said, adding it is necessary therefore to guarantee the right to the city as a basic requirement for achieving sustainable development.

The three-day conference was co-organised by ECLAC, MINURVI and UN-Habitat, and delegates were presented with the Regional Action Plan for the implementation of the New Urban Agenda in Latin America and the Caribbean.

The document that proposes interventions and actions, in addition to pertinent and priority policies for the countries of the region, to work toward the sustainable development of its cities and human settlements going forward to 2036.

The Regional Action Plan is a proposal developed by ECLAC, MINURVI and UN-Habitat with the aim of enabling cities and human settlements to consolidate their ability to act as the “engines” of sustainable development. It contains six action areas and strategic objectives that are fundamental components for implementing the New Urban Agenda in the region and thus achieving inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable cities and human settlements.

The Plan's six action areas are national urban policies; urban legal frameworks; urban and territorial planning and design; Financing urbanisation; local implementation; and monitoring, reporting and revision mechanisms.

Director of UN-Habitat's Regional Office for Latin America and the Caribbean, Elkin Velásquez said the Regional Action Plan positions the region as an example to the world.

“Latin America and the Caribbean is taking the New Urban Agenda and putting it at the center of the 2030 Agenda,” Velásquez said.

According to the statement issued at the end of the meeting, the Sub- regional Action Plan for the Caribbean was also presented, which considers the specificities of that sub-region and is guided by the need to develop resilient communities, cities and territories.

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