From left to right: Pablo Maturana (Deputy Director AMVA), Sergio Andres Orozco (Environment Secretary Medellín), Eugenio Prieto Soto (Director AMVA) and Rodrigo Perpétuo (ICLEI SAMS Executive Secretary)

New ICLEI office established in Colombia to focus on low emissions development and biodiversity

To continue building strong supportive relationships with its members, ICLEI South America has recently opened its first coordination office in Colombia. The office is hosted by the Metropolitan Area of the Aburrá Valley (AMVA).

Eugenio Prieto Soto, the Director of the Metropolitan Area of Aburrá Valley welcomed ICLEI during the launch ceremony which gathered several mayors and political representatives from cities from the metropolitan area of Aburrá Valley on 27 February. 

The metropolitan area gathers 10 municipalities and counts over 4.5 million people. The central and biggest city, Medellín, has gone through a deep urban and social transformation, from a place deeply affected by violence and drugs, to a hub for social innovation, culture and technology. The city is known for its steep hills and colorful graffiti as well as its Metrocable System and shared public bike systems which won it ICLEI’s Ecomobility Prize for innovation in public transportation in 2016. Currently, the region is developing integrated urban plans and policies to tackle air pollution. This issue has become an important environmental and public health issue because of the increase of the number of vehicles in the city combined with the geographical location of the city which makes pollution dispersion harder.

"It is a great time to establish this office in Colombia. There are good public and innovative experiences here, and therefore we will also learn with our arrival in Colombia. The opening of the office here is very symbolic, because this was perhaps one of the regions that suffered the most with the terrible effects of drug trafficking, but managed to overcome through social cohesion and public policies", said ICLEI South America’s Executive Secretary, Rodrigo Perpétuo.

The partnership between ICLEI and the Metropolitan Area of the Aburrá Valley started during the Habitat III Conference in 2016, when the metropolitan area became an ICLEI Member. This strong partnership was cemented during COP23, when the opening of the coordination office was confirmed.

The new office will allow ICLEI to provide support to Colombian municipalities so that they can achieve their own sustainability objectives. It will focus on at least three fronts: climate change, low-emission freight and strengthening nature in cities.

During this official opening of the office, Rodrigo Perpétuo and Eugenio Prieto, alongside representatives from UN-Habitat and the European Union, officially launched the international project Urban LEDS in Colombia and invited cities to participate in the project. The new office will also work with Colombian cities on two International Climate Initiative (IKI) funded projects - Ecologistics, focusing on low emission urban logistics, and Local Protected Areas, that aims to enhance the recognition of local governments in protected areas legal frameworks.

Find out more at http://urbanleds.iclei.org/

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