Cuidades Sustentables

According to UN data, between 2007 and 2050, the urban population worldwide will increase by 3.1 billion. This growth will have a serious impact on existing infrastructure, government services, natural resources, climate and many other aspects that are critical to quality of life both in urban and rural areas.


The Latin American continent is a leader in this global phenomenon, being the most highly urbanized developing region, as well as the one with the most disparity in income. Seventy-five percent of the population of Latin America lives in urban areas, which in absolute figures is 375 million of the region’s 500 million inhabitants, and 120 million of these live below the poverty level. The urban challenges facing Latin America will be repeated on an even larger scale in Africa and Asia in coming years. Solutions being tested right now in the region may well be extremely relevant internationally if they prove successful and replicable.


Opportunities identified by AVINA and its allies
Demonstrate that the mobilization of different sectors of society and their cooperation can transform the way Latin American cities are managed, ensuring that public policies respond to transparent indicators and targets that promote a better and more sustainable quality of life.


Shared strategy for action
AVINA began supporting an emerging "Sustainable Cities" movement in Latin America in 2007. It is currently made up of 31 cities in seven Latin American countries. Initially inspired by the success of Bogotá “Cómo Vamos" movement, members have succeeded in producing innovations in the areas of public participation and citizen control, most importantly in the case of “Nossa São Paulo” in Brazil, an example that has in turn spread to cities in Chile, Argentina and elsewhere. The Sustainable Cities in each country not only seek to stimulate citizen participation in policy decisions, but also propose concrete actions to respond to a variety of common urban challenges across the region. AVINA believes that the network of Sustainable Cities provides a unique opportunity to promote change throughout the continent through local leadership, actions and initiatives.

Critical action areas linked to the development and extension of this continental strategy include the following activities:

  • Increase political, social, and economic inclusion, integrating new voices through capacity building and support of innovative approaches to public participation and inclusive business.
  • Strengthen citizen participation and accountability through a common indicator set to monitor progress and the exchange of lessons learned among cities and countries.
  • Promote innovative practices through support to pilot projects in key areas
  • Build capacity, raise awareness and spread know-how, providing training to local leaders to increase citizens' understanding of urban issues.


International alliances
AVINA Americas established a co-funding alliance with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to help strengthen the Sustainable Cities movement in the entire Latin American continent. The proposal is strategically focused on the implementation of citizen participation efforts and on the actual impact of the social, political and economic inclusion of excluded sectors of society in the dynamics of political decision-making by the cities. AVINA Foundation will lead the promotion of the movement in Latin America and AVINA Americas will seek to build new continental and global alliances to support it.


The Nossa Belo Horizonte movement created a governmental multi-year action plan to strengthen government action with citizen participation.



Changes in public administration practices in Belo Horizonte
AVINA and the “Nossa Belo Horizonte” movement were successful in assuring public discussion of the city’s multi-year plan. The proposed Multi-year Plan for Government Action (PPAG) that will dictate public spending in the Brazilian city between 2010 and 2013 was for the first time discussed in a series of six public hearings organized by the Belo Horizonte city government. The participatory process resulted in a number of changes to the PPAG. AVINA brokered negotiations with the city government, ensured that the PPAG decision-making process was participatory, and supported the publication “A plan for our city,” a guidebook for public participation in city planning that was made available in a number of Brazilian cities.


Quality of life indicators in São Paulo
The “Nossa São Paulo” movement developed and launched a public debate regarding a proposed set of quality-of-life indicators for São Paulo, one of the largest cities in the world. Nearly 35,000 people completed the survey. The indicators will provide a common reference to guide the priorities and actions of companies, governments, and civil society. AVINA was an early ally of the Nossa São Paulo movement and supported public debate of the quality of life indicators.


Creation of the “Ciudad Medellín” group
AVINA was instrumental in bringing together key experts, actors and allies to set the agenda for the sustainable city movement in Medellín, Colombia. The city, an icon of progress and economic and cultural inclusion in the country, has seen an increase in local violence, which has motivated citizens to seek innovative and long-term solutions. A series of seven preliminary meetings held in 2009 succeeded in producing a common proposal and shared objectives.


Mendoza joins the network of Sustainable Cities
The “Nuestra Mendoza” movement took the decision to develop a program of indicators and goals to measure the quality of life among the population of this Argentine province. In parallel, it promoted a public discussion of a city ordinance that would expand the accountability requirements of the mayor’s office, mandating the publication of a municipal plan. The initiative was inspired by the experiences and results of similar processes developed by AVINA allies in more than 30 Latin American cities. In addition, AVINA brokered an exchange of experiences among cities in the network and financed the first stage of the initiative along with the business association Valos and the daily newspaper Diario los Andes.


Citizens launch “Nuestra Córdoba”
A group of organizations from the social, business and academic sectors signed a letter of principles and purpose to give rise to the “Nuestra Córdoba” movement as the result of a novel effort to coordinate across traditional boundaries. The group established an ambitious work plan involving thematic working groups, strategy discussions, and the definition of indicators and goals. AVINA was involved in the initial civic mobilization, motivating interest, promoting the exchange of experiences, and providing financial support.


The partnership and work among different sectors of society resulted in the creation of the Nuestra Córdoba movement in Argentina.