The URB-AL programme in brief
URB-AL is a decentralized cooperation programme of the European Commission that :
- Covers the main URBAN POLICY fields.
- Is intended at LOCAL COMMUNITIES of the European Union and Latin America, as well as OTHERS INVOLVED IN THE URBAN SECTOR
- Is DESCENTRALISED with activities that are all managed, proposed and implemented by the participants themselves.
- Is BASED on exchanges of experience between participants, to result MUTUAL BENEFITS.
The participants in this programme have FREELY come together to explore one or more urban issues, according to their affinities.
The programme has proven its worth since its creation, in 1995, with the participation of more than 750 local communities.
The programme provides a wide range of INTERNATIONAL CONTACTS leading to lasting relationships between European and Latin American local communities; which in turn GIVE RISE TO FURTHER FRUITFUL INITIATIVES.
With significant co-funding from the European Commission, the programme helps to meet a number of the priorities defined at the 1999 Rio de Janeiro summit of Heads of State and Government of European Union, Latin American and Caribbean countries and which have continually been reasserted since. These priorities include: combating poverty and social imbalances; fostering and protecting human rights; and promoting the information society.
To develop DIRECT AND LASTING LINKS between European and Latin American local communities through the dissemination, acquisition and application of the BEST PRACTICE in the urban policy field.
In particular :
- To help local communities play a more active role in the social, economic and cultural development of urban areas, including by putting public amenities into operation.
- To develop the structural capabilities of local authorities, among others by training human resources.
- To promote partnerships between local communities and representatives of civil society.
- To increase the capabilities for action of small and mediumsized towns (SMT) within the internationalization of their relations context.
- To promote the "best practices" in European and Latin American local development, whilst respecting local distinctiveness.
Organization of URB-AL
The URB-AL programme is in its second phase.
Phase one of the programme was a result of the Commission decisions of 20 December 1995 and 19 February 1998.
It was organized into the FOLLOWING EIGHT THEMES:
- Drugs and towns;
- Conservation of historic urban contexts ;
- Democracy in towns;
- The town as a promoter of economic development ;
- Urban social policies;
- Urban environment;
- Management and control of urbanization;
- Control of urban mobility;
Phase two of the programme is a result of the Commission decisions of 29 December 2000 and 31 July 2001.
It includes FIVE NEW THEMES in addition to those of phase one:
- Local finance and participative budgets.
- The fight against urban poverty.
- Promoting the role of women in local decision-making bodies.
- Towns and the information society.
- Citizens' safety in towns.
There is a THEMATIC NETWORK for each one of the 13 URB-AL programme THEMES; each network is coordinated by a single local community.
The thematic network includes all participants who wish to cooperate on the theme in question. The network disseminates information to its participants (members), holds periodic working meetings between participants and keeps them in constant contact. The thematic network is also the forum for a general consultation on a particular theme.
JOINT PROJECTS are designed and implemented within each of the thematic networks. The joint projects include those participants of a thematic network who wish to explore a specific aspect of the theme concerned in greater depth. The aim of joint projects is to put exchanges of experience developed in the thematic networks into practical application. This involves identifying solutions to problems raised by the participants AND adopting concrete means for implementing them with respect for their individual distinctiveness.