Inclusión social

Medellin, Colombia. More than 50 mayors from 17 different countries from Latin America, the Caribbean and Spain met in Medellin, Colombia to exchange experiences and knowledge around social inclusion. This annual meeting is part of the Network of Cities promoted by the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) to enhance the work of subnational governments in the region.

At the opening event of the Annual Meeting and Seminar “Inclusive Cities: Learning from Medellín” Luis Alberto Moreno, President of the IDB; Federico Gutiérrez, mayor of Medellín and Juan Luis Mejía Arango, president of EAFIT University, had a space to talk about the context and the expected results of the meeting. After the opening, the Mayor of Medellin made his presentation “Transformation of Medellin: progress and challenges of the city towards inclusion”, followed by a conversation with representatives of the University-Private Sector- State Committee (CUEE in Spanish) of Medellín.

“The Mayors’ Forum in Medellín is the ideal scenario to exchange experiences and knowledge among cities and discuss topics which are relevant to all mayors and the IDB. As Mayor of Medellín, I would like to express our interest and enthusiasm in participating in this important decision-making space which allows us to advance towards the objectives we share with other territories. We believe that we are able to connect with cities that face challenges similar to ours, in order to create sustainable changes in local environments,” Gutierrez said.

On the other hand, EAFIT’s President said: “EAFIT University is honored to be the center of such important meeting on inclusive cities as well as IDB’s Annual Meeting of Mayors. We consider it to be an opportunity, not just to offer our customary hospitality, but to show how this city has evolved and how EAFIT has contributed to its transformation and change. The creation of our Center for Urban and Environmental Studies and the generation of studies which positively impact and generate well-being in society confirms this effort. It is a way to highlight how a university can be linked to the transformation of a city. So, we are very happy to host this event. We hope the meeting will be a success and that attendees will keep an indelible memory of Medellín and EAFIT. ”

From September 17 to 19, the event will feature presentations and discussions of mayors, technical officers, experts and directors of the IDB on urban security, social inclusion in neighborhoods, sustainable mobility, and effective and efficient fiscal management. The seminars were organized in collaboration with the Santander City Council, the University of Cantabria and the Menéndez Pelayo International University, both universities are Spanish.

“The Mayors’ meeting is one of IDB’s initiatives which represents our commitment to advancing towards a sustainable development agenda for the region. This is a way to support our countries and their local governments in the efforts to improve the quality of life of its citizens through the acceleration of economic growth and the reduction of poverty and inequality, ” said Juan Pablo Bonilla, Manager of the Climate Change and Sustainable Development Sector of IDB.

The issues to be addressed in the Meeting were identified in line with the main demands that mayors face in their cities. For instance, from 2005 to 2015, the region doubled its total vehicle fleet, adding 100 million vehicles to its roads, increasing the demand for transportation services and the problems of pollution and traffic congestion.

One out every five people living in urban areas live in informal settlements, without property title and minimal access to basic services, exacerbating inequality. On the other hand, insecurity is one of the main concerns of the citizens of the region and one of the greatest challenges for the competitiveness of companies. According to an IDB study, crime costs 3.5% of the region’s GDP. The levels of violence are higher in poor urban neighborhoods and in peripheral areas of the city.

Despite the above, there are many positive and innovative experiences on how local governments are overcoming these challenges. This is why, IDB promotes the Network of Cities – in which 150 cities participate – as a mean to facilitate exchange spaces between cities and to have a platform to share knowledge and best practices on issues related to improving the quality of life, always focused in achieving sustainable and more inclusive cities.

About IDB

The mission of the Inter-American Development Bank is to improve lives. Founded in 1959, IDB is one of the main sources of long-term financing for economic, social and institutional development in Latin America and the Caribbean. It also conducts cutting-edge research projects and offers policy advice, technical assistance and training to public and private clients throughout the region.

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