7th World Urban Forum Networking Event

“Clean Energy and Transport Solutions in an Urban Hemisphere: Lessons from the Americas.”

Thursday, April 10, 2014 4:30 PM-6:30 PM

WUF7       WUF7          WUF7      WUF7

The OAS, the U.S. EPA, and the U.S. Department of State held an event titled “Clean Energy and Transport Solutions in an Urban Hemisphere: Lessons from the Americas,” on April 10 at the Seventh World Urban Forum held in Medellin, Colombia at which experienced practitioners from four communities across the Americas discussed successful strategies and tools that promote the use of clean energy and innovative, practical transportation solutions.

Attendees had the opportunity to engage with these experts to share ideas for creating similar sustainability initiatives around the world. Implementers from San Jose (Costa Rica), Salt Lake City (USA), Baja Verapaz Department (Guatemala), and central New York (USA) presented their experiences in developing sustainable transport and clean energy projects, including the role of community engagement. These four projects were supported by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Climate Showcase Communities Program and the Organization of American States (OAS) Sustainable Communities in Central America and the Caribbean Project. This event included an introduction to the urban sustainability resources available through U.S. EPA and the OAS.


Delivering the keynote address, Ambassador Carmen Lomellin, U.S. permanent representative to the OAS, reaffirmed the United States’ support for collaborative solutions to global challenges such as air pollution, the growing demand for energy and transportation resources, environmental protection, and sustainable housing and infrastructure development.

Ambassador Lomellin and the Executive Secretary for Integral Development of the OAS, Sherry Tross announced the launch of the second phase of its Sustainable Cities and Communities in the Americas Project, which includes new grant opportunities related to the promotion of urban sustainability. Executive Secretary Tross highlighted that the first 14 grants are almost completed and that “the member states of the OAS have gleaned a vast array of valuable information on capacity building, technology transfer, and citizen participation -- and generated replicable projects, suitable for scaling up throughout the hemisphere of the Americas.”


Ambassador Carmen Lomellin
U.S. Permanent Representative to the OAS
Permanent Mission of the U.S. to the OAS Keynote Remarks
  Richard Huber
Department of Sustainable Development
Organization of American States Presentation
Megan Samenfeld-Specht
International Environment Specialist
US Environmental Protection Agency Presentation
Huberth Mendez
Executive Director
Red Ambiental de Movilidad Urbana Presentation
Kate Lilja Lohnes
Communications Manager, Division of Sustainability and the Environment
Salt Lake City Corporation Presentation
Marta Ximenez de Rivera
Energy Coordinator
Fundacion Solar Presentation
Chris H. Carrick
Energy Program Manager
Central New York Regional Planning and Development Board Presentation
  V. Sherry Tross
Executive Secretary for integral Development
Organization of American States Closing Remarks

Sustainable Transport Solutions Project Profiles

Sustainable Transportation for a Sustainable Future
Salt Lake City, Utah
To reduce air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions, Salt Lake City used community-based social marketing to improve existing vehicle travel reduction programs run by the city, county, and state government. To improve these programs and reduce vehicle miles traveled and the accompanying emissions, the City worked with state agencies and consultants to develop effective community-based social marketing. First, targeted research was conducted into the barriers and benefits for each major travel group. Then, three to four programs were retooled, including the development of initiatives for corporations, community groups, and local schools. The programs were launched, and the results were assessed. The team then took the resulting Sustainable Travel for a Sustainable Future toolkit to launch vehicle travel reduction programs in at least two other Utah communities. The toolkit was refined based upon feedback from these communities. The project reduced vehicle miles traveled and, as a result, improved air quality for county residents. In addition, the project reduced greenhouse gas emissions. The program helped prepare the community for other sustainability initiatives in Salt Lake City.
Promoviendo sistemas alternativos y articulados de transporte urbano en Costa Rica
San Jose, Costa Rica
The project seeks to contribute to the implementation of an alternative integrated urban transport system in the greater metropolitan area of Costa Rica by identifying opportunities and obstacles related to expanding the bicycle paths and the interconnection with the urban train. Likewise, this initiative will contribute to the development of bicycle paths by installing infrastructure such as traffic signs and bicycle parking while raising awareness within the local authorities to promote bicycle use.

Clean Energy Solutions project Profile

Central New York Climate Change Innovation Program
Central New York
The Central New York Climate Change Innovation Program aimed to improve energy efficiency in municipal operations, increase the use renewable energy, and encourage land use and transportation policies that manage GHG emissions and reduced vehicle miles traveled. The Central New York Regional Planning and Development Board (CNY RPDB) achieved these goals by:
  • providing energy reduction, renewable energy, and climate change management sub-grants to local governments, and
  • providing technical assistance through education programs and outreach materials to local government staff.
Each year, the Innovation Program awarded competitive sub-grants to three local governments to support energy efficiency retrofits, measures to introduce alternative-fuel vehicles and fueling systems, vehicle travel reduction projects, transportation efficiency improvements, and feasibility studies for renewable energy projects. The Innovation Program provided technical assistance to local governments grantees.
Promoting the development of sustainable communities through good environmental practices and clean energy
Baja Verapaz, Guatemala
The project seeks to promote the integral development of four communities through a sustainable approach by reducing carbon emissions and indoor pollution from the use of wood through the implementation of organic waste biodigestion technology for the production of biogas, strengthening the productive use of organic composting and adopting sustainable environmental practices in the micro watersheds of Xeúl Canchel and Chibalám Chimachó. All this, through participative methods where the community members are the main actors in the transformation of their community into a sustainable one.

For further information on this project please contact Richard Huber at rhuber@oas.org.