Mayors Summit: Shared Challenges, Shared Solutions

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On June 7, 2022 the Office of the Mayor of Los Angeles, CAF-Development Bank of Latin America, and the Inter- American Dialogue jointly hosted a series of workshops featuring US and Latin American mayors, along with other experts and practitioners focused on the theme of shared challenges and shared solutions of cities in the Americas. The event highlighted the potential within and between cities and analyzing best practices in the areas of climate resilience and migration. The workshop spotlighted the positive role that border cities and those with large diaspora populations could and do play in fostering positive and productive Inter-American relations.

CLIMATE ADAPTABILITY, GREEN RECOVERY, ENERGY TRANSITION AND FINANCE AT THE LOCAL LEVEL

The first session of the Mayors Summit kicked off with remarks highlighting the importance of local governance and the ability of cities to change and grow. Participants emphasized on the importance of counting on a collaborative framework between cities and mayors in order to effectively respond to climate change. Climate adaptation is fundamental for cities, especially for those vulnerable populations living below the poverty line who in informal settlements whomore exposed to the severe effects of climate change. Mayors highlighted the need to increase investments on infrastructure, transportation and pollution reduction, which directly affect the quality of life of citizens and the ability for cities to respond to climate phenomena. Participants also stressed on the importance of reducing the gap between adaptation measures and the financing needed, stating that multilateral development institutions (MDI) such as CAF-Development Bank of Latin America and the World Bank are key for local governments to be able to acquire the necessary climate adaptation tools.

The importance that local initiatives can play as catalysts to projects on a broader national level was a recurrent theme throughout the discussion. One participant observed how these shared spaces for discussion contribute to fostering shared actions that help express the region’s potential. The conversation also shed light on green transportation initiatives, the interrelation between urban constructions and the transversal nature and effects of climate change and climate disasters on vulnerable communities, and the plight for more financing for climate adaptation initiatives. Panelists concluded this session by outlining a call to action to incorporate a social agenda of collective action to face the effects of climate change and create initiatives that focus on the sectors of the population most affected by it, such as women and youth.

SOCIAL INCLUSION AND LEVERAGING MIGRANT ECONOMIC CONTRIBUTIONS AT THE LOCAL LEVEL

The second panel focused on the issue of migration. The conversation began with an introduction which recalled on the current migration patterns in the region and on the centrality of host communities in dealing the efforts to welcoming migrants. One of the questions of the panel dealt with the action points that CAF-Development Bank of Latin America put together to help cities deal with the challenges of human mobility. Migration was described as an increasingly urban problem, given that while decisions in immigration policy are taken at a national level, pressure is mostly generated on the ranks of local governance. Keeping this in mind, the participants emphasized on the opportunity to define a new urban agenda that supports human mobility processes and reduces the indexes of forced migration.

The focus of the discussion then shifted from problems to solutions. Participants underscored the urgent need for MDIs to place equity at the centre of their investment strategies dealing with migration. The civil society perspective was also represented during this exchange and the important role that communities have in humanizing the figure of immigrants. Panellists acknowledged the challenges involved in the competition for jobs and resources, recognizing the challenge involved in working on this issue without stigmatizing migrants as an essential step to foster inclusivity. The participants concluded by agreeing that this could be addressed by investing in social inclusion programs for migrants, building excitement around the issue of migration instead of fear and therefore showcase the opportunities that migrants bring to the host communities.

This workshop was followed by a networking lunch with the participation of the United States Under Secretary for Economic Growth, Energy, and the Environment, Jose W. Fernandez and a high-level session with the participation of the 71st United States Secretary of State, Antony J. Blinken.

MAYORS AND LEADOFF SPEAKERS

Mayors

Neyla Amu – Mayor of Timbiqui, Colombia

Hardie Davis – Mayor of Augusta, Georgia, United States

Mario Durán – Mayor of San Salvador, El Salvador

Eric Garcetti – Mayor of Los Angeles, California, United States

Michael Hancock – Mayor of Denver, Colorado, United States

Tim Kelly – Mayor of Chattanooga, Tennessee, United States

Yamileth Lopez Obregon – Mayor of Upala, Costa Rica

Claudia Lopez – Bogota, Colombia

Joel Martinez – Mayor of Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago

Orlando Morando – Mayor of Sao Bernardo, Brasil

Ron Nirenburg – Mayor of San Antonio, Texas, United States

Alcides Gaspar Paz Morales – Mayor of Goascoran Valle, Honduras

Miguel Romero – Mayor of San Juan, Puerto Rico

Leonardo Stelatto – Mayor of Posadas, Misiones, Argentina

Special Guests

Anthony Blinken – United States Secretary of State

Jose W. Fernandez – United States Undersecretary for Economic Growth, Energy and Environment

Sergio Diaz-Granados – Executive President of CAF- Latin American Development Bank

Rebecca Bill Chavez – President and CEO of the Inter-American Dialogue

Carlos Felipe Jaramillo – World Bank Vice President for the Latin America and the Caribbean Region

Christian Asinelli – ­­­­ Corporate Vice President of Strategic Programming for CAF- Latin American Development Bank

Mary Ann Walker – Managing Partner WH Legal Group LLP, Founder of Walker Advertising/Los Defensores LLC

Heide Fulton – Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Programs in the Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement

Eduardo Cisneros – United States Covid-19 Intergovernmental Affairs Director

Sara Aviel – President & CEO of the Inter-American Foundation

Alicia Montalvo – Manager of Climate Action and Positive Biodiversity for CAF-Latin American Development Bank

Manuel Orozco – Program Director, Migration, Remittances and Development, Inter-American Dialogue

Santiago Canton – Program Director, Peter D. Bell Rule of Law Program, Inter-American Dialogue

Angel Cardenas – Manager of Urban Development and Creative Economies, CAF-Latin American Development Bank

Luis Felipe Lopez-Calva – United Nations Assistant Secretary General and UNDP Director Latin America and Caribbean

Dan Restrepo – Founder and Managing Director of Restrepo Strategies, Senior Fellow Center for American Progress


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