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17 de October de 201610 successful interventions in Latin American cities that could be replicated
1img - 10 successful interventions in Latin American cities  that could be replicated

Through the exchange of experiences among mayors and the accompaniment of CAF - Development Bank of Latin America- through the "Cities with a Future" program, several urban interventions have been carried out based on the region's characteristics and needs, which seek to generate comprehensive solutions for promoting social inclusion and productivity in cities.

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A network of experts composed of academics, think-tanks, a consultative board of former mayors and widely recognized international authorities is an essential part of the ecosystem that CAF's "Cities with a Future" program nourishes, whose objective is to provide knowledge regarding best practices in the region in order to create cities that are increasingly inclusive, connected and spatially, economically and socially integrated, with universal access to basic and environmentally responsible training opportunities.

Due to the accelerated urbanization process that Latin America has undergone, cities generate approximately 65% of the regional Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and are home to almost 80% of the population. It is for this reason that it is a priority to carry out interventions that are not only efficient, but that also require a comprehensive and territorial policy that allows for transitions toward sustainable development.

"CAF has deep knowledge of the region's cities and their needs. It is for this reason that it offers technical and financial support for the projects prioritized in governments' development plans. The interventions have a top-down approach, but always with clear leadership from authorities and their managing teams," states Jose Carrera, Vice President of Social Development at CAF, before participating in the Habitat III Conference which is to take place from October 17-20 in Quito.

Some of the most successful interventions in Latin America, highlighted at this event, include:

1. Water and sanitation in Panama City (Panama):

This is the main investment in environmental sanitation that is being undertaken in the country. Its objective is to improve public health and the population's quality of life by means of two strategies: reducing contamination of the urban waterways and rivers in the cities of Panama City, Arraijan and La Chorrera through the extension and construction of the sanitary sewer system, and environmentally recovering Panama Bay through the construction and commissioning of the entire sanitary infrastructure in all of the areas mentioned. With this CAF-supported initiative in which more than USD 400 million have been invested, more than 400,000 inhabitants who now receive treated water have benefitted.

2. Housing, urban development and regeneration in Guayaquil (Ecuador):

The initiatives to normalize land tenure and to relocate families who live in risk areas are tied to the recovery of the city's estuaries. The riverbanks with settlements were intervened, corridors of public space were created to contain the expansion as well as sewer projects to mitigate water contamination of waste waters. In addition, early childhood schools, health centers and recreational and public spaces were constructed, including water parks and sports areas. In total, the project has received USD 540 million in investments.

3. Transportation and connectivity in Lima (Peru):

With 10 million inhabitants, the city of Lima has one of the highest rates of motorization in Latin America, which generates a significant environmental impact and an urban mobility problem. The Lima Metro, a project to which CAF contributed USD 600 million, began operating in 2012 and provides a solution to these challenges. Day after day, 315,000 of Lima's residents transit through its 26 stations in a quick, efficient and safe manner. The Line 1 of the Metro forms part of a system of urban trains that the Peruvian government is developing. It is approximately 34.5 km. long and has the capacity to serve more than 4 million people.

4. Resilience in Manaus (Brazil):

The Social and Environmental Program of the Igarapés of Manaus aims to promote sustainable development, with stability and environmental sustainability in order to reduce poverty, support social inclusion and achieve greater social and regional equality. The project, to which CAF contributed USD 52.5 million, seeks to improve the living conditions of a significant part of the city's population, integrating anti-poverty actions against urban poverty and improvements to habitability, environmental quality and strengthening of the State of Amazonas' institutions.

5. Education and skill-building in Buenos Aires (Argentina):

The Programs of University Infrastructure I, IIA and IIB, in which CAF has invested USD 185 million, seek to increase access to higher education, expanding university infrastructure and optimizing the use of space; improve the teaching quality through equipment for laboratories, libraries, research centers and other facilities intended for this purpose; strengthen the functioning and services offered by universities, improving administrative facilities and commercial services; and optimizing the use of the infrastructure through an adequate functioning of its equipment. In total, there are eight works in different phases throughout the city, all of them for the University of Buenos Aires, in its different schools and in its main building.

6. Gender equality in Quito (Ecuador):

The inclusion of the gender approach in the planning of the public transportation system is fundamental for increasing the economic opportunities of women, and with that, social inclusion. CAF and Fundación FIA initiated a study on transportation, mobility and gender in order to collect data regarding the use and personal security of women in public transportation in the cities of Quito, Santiago and Buenos Aires. The study will allow for expanding knowledge, constructing a solid base of the current situation and providing tools that may be used by development and financing agencies to help improve public transportation planning, taking into account the gender approach.

7. Productivity and technological innovation in Medellin (Colombia):

The objective of the Regional Support Program for Business Innovation is to strengthen the capacities of innovative companies, research centers and innovation ecosystems in order to boost regional productivity. CAF carried out an exercise that sought to align the actors of the innovation system around a common agenda. It saw the participation of private sector representatives, knowledge agents (universities and research centers) and government representatives. Through four workshops, specific projects were detailed based on the companies' needs. The project managed to develop 50 concrete initiatives.

8. Public space and social cohesion in Fortaleza (Brazil):

To improve waste collection, solve sedimentation and contamination problems presented in the city's lagoons, and then to construct new dwellings, sports and recreational areas, a system called Ecopuntos was designed, pertaining to the Fortaleza Selective Collection Program. In addition, 3,000 trees were planted. This initiative, to which CAF contributed USD 240 million, is the result of lengthy discussions in which the civil society actively participated.

9. Public Safety in Bogota (Colombia):

Through a comprehensive intervention, public oversight for residents is being promoted. A municipal team is responsible for the repair of public lighting, tree pruning, cleaning of non-artistic graffiti and waste collection. Further, police presence is increased at sites in which more crimes are generally committed. This represents a great effort to rigorously measure the intervention's impact on crime. The initiative is carried out in two phases: the first is a diagnostic visit in which the necessary activities are identified at each site, while the second phase consists of the actual intervention, which is programmed and organized by the Bogota Mayor's Office.

10. Carbon footprint in La Paz (Bolivia):

The "Footprint of Cities" Project of CAF, CDKN (Climate and Development Knowledge Network) and Fundación Futuro Latinoamericano has as its main objectives the calculation of the carbon and water use footprint of municipal governments and of Latin American cities, the defining of plans of action in order to reduce the footprints, the development of pilot actions and the inclusion of the population and private sector in these processes. The implementation of this technical cooperation in La Paz contributes to identifying mitigation measures with respect to climate change and to increasing its resilience and impact area.

These are some of the issues that will be delved into within the context of the United Nations Conference on Housing and Sustainable Urban Development (Habitat III), which will be held in Quito from October 17-20, and will project the future of cities during the next 20 years.

Social inclusion and productive transformation as transverse and fundamental axes in planning and territorial integration are some of CAF's priorities, and are taken on through initiatives such as the Cities with a Future program and pro-inclusion policies.

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