Sustainability Week

Expert Panel and Dialogue: Sustainable Cities in the Americas Monday, November 24, 2014


Latin America and the Caribbean has the highest rate of urbanization in the developing world at 78% and may increase to 88% by 2050 according to forecasts by the United Nations Population Division. This phenomenon has serious implications at the political, social, economic and environmental level affecting the quality of life of its inhabitants. Rapid urbanization poses serious challenges in terms of infrastructure and housing, common spaces and sustainable transportation, the prevention and correction of pollution the disposal of industrial waste, the promotion of pollution free consumption habits, and the management of sustainable technologies. In this framework, the imperative of building sustainable cities and communities in the hemisphere was first acknowledged during the First Summit on Sustainable Development in the Americas held in Santa Cruz de la Sierra in December 1996. In this context, a Plan of Action was released as one of the main outputs of this Summit. Said Plan referrers to an urgent need to move towards sustainable development by strengthening social awareness with a broad vision that promotes public participation, integration, hemispheric cooperation, equity and social justice, with special emphasis on women, children and vulnerable groups.

Actions from the OAS

Through the support of the US State Department, the Executive Secretariat for Integral Development (SEDI) through its Department of Sustainable Development (DSD) has been implementing a sustainable cities program that contributes to the sustainability and development of communities in the Americas.

Meeting Objective

In the context of the Seventh World Urban Forum recently held in Medellin, Colombia, the event aims to provide within the framework of the Inter-American Council for Integral Development (CIDI), a space for discussion and exchange of ideas between government representatives and other key stakeholders (IDB, WB WRI and NGOs) to promote sustainable cities and communities in the Americas and to share with the OAS member states the current status of this issue in the region, best practices, challenges and next steps in the future sustainability of cities that emerge in the Americas; Furthermore, the meeting will highlight the importance of these issues in economic development, social stability, environmental protection and governance in Cities in the Americas. The specific objectives of this exchange of experiences are:

  • Subnational dialogue, capacity building and sharing on urban development, sustainability and local governance
  • Dissemination of knowledge and lessons learned from experiences in the topic of sustainable cities in the Americas
  • Use and application of new technologies that contribute to urban sustainability
  • Update OAS Member States delegations on the work that SEDI and other key players are doing in this area and its potential impact on the region



Nerina Paz Lopez
Chief of the Plans and Programs Department of the Regional Ministerial Secretariat of the Valparaiso Region, Chile
Chile's Ministry of Housing and Urbanism Presentation
  Claudia Adriazola
Director of Health And Road Safety
World Resources Institute Presentation
Patricia Torres
Principal Specialist of Urban Development
Inter-American Development Bank Presentation
Chris Pyke
Vice President of Research
U.S. Green Building Council Presentation