Sustainable Communities in Central America and the Caribbean

“Towards Sustainable and Resilient Communities in the Americas” - A Forum for Mayors. Miami, Florida. December 3-4, 2013.

Over the past few decades, the Americas has become the most urbanized region in the world, with 81% of the region’s population living in urban areas generating serious threats to sustainable development, and the strength of municipalities. As the Hemisphere continues to grow and change, the communities of the region are faced with challenges in the areas of effective public management, productivity and economic growth, infrastructure, housing, transportation, waste management health, citizen security, and susceptibility to natural and man-made disasters, especially climate change and sea level rise.

In order to address these challenges, the forum aimed to lead a discussion that outlined a clear and effective vision for sustainable development, incorporating strong leadership, good governance and access to social services at the sub-national level. These issues will be key in developing sustainable cities throughout our hemisphere.

The specific objectives of the forum included:

  • Catalyze hemispheric cooperation among city leaders, managers, business leaders and partners in support of the growth of sustainable and resilient communities in the Americas;
  • Provide a platform for sharing challenges, solutions and experiences among Mayors in the Americas in the run-up to the World Urban Forum in Medellin. Colombia in April 2014.
  • Bolster regional cooperation, improve the quality of municipal governance in the hemisphere and establish a framework for effective collaboration and exchanges between regional municipal leaders and counterparts in the United States.
  • The forum— entitled “Towards Sustainable and Resilient Communities in the Americas” — aimed to initiate a pilot program to encourage cooperation, the exchange of knowledge and implementation of best practices related to municipal development, economic opportunity and democratic governance. The forum served as an opportunity for mayors from the Caribbean, Central America, Colombia, and the United States to share perspectives and experiences with their colleagues from other parts of the hemisphere. As part of the program, Miami-Dade County hosted site visits and briefings on city governance and disaster preparedness at The Port of Miami and the Miami-Dade Emergency Operations.