URBELAC: Urban European and Latin American and Caribbean cities
Promoting sustainable urban development is a key element of EU regional policy which is implemented through the design and implementation of tailor-made, integrated development plans prepared where possible in partnership with the authorities in Europe's cities.
EU urban policy experience shows that cities have to adopt a holistic model of development and work across sectors (social, economic, environmental and energy, cultural and political components) to deal with challenges in an integrated way. This comprehensive/integrated approach to urban problems is necessary to analyse problems, identify solutions and design projects taking into account the linkages that exist between different areas of intervention.
Since 2011, DG REGIO and the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) support a network under the name of URBELAC (Urban European and Latin American and Caribbean cities). It aims to promote sustainable development in cities and to help to meet the challenges of promoting social development, higher urban productivity and greater environmental protection through the creation of networks, the exchange of experiences, benchmarking and the preparation of action plans in Latin American cities. In two successive editions, URBELAC has allowed 9 EU cities and 13 Latin-American cities to exchange experience and good practices (by means of round tables, working groups, field visits and continuous exchange) covering a wide range of topics such as management models for specific urban areas, the complex and compact city as a sustainable model within an integrated view of the city, or, management of tourism with implications for the city development model.
In 2012, participating cities are: Cochabamba (Bolivia), Cuenca (Ecuador), Manizales (Colombia), Mar de Plata (Argentina), Pereira (Colombia), Edinburgh (United Kingdom), La Laguna (Spain), Malaga (Spain), Oporto (Portugal) and Venice (Italy).