Carolina Cosse: Challenges. Mercocities* 2023

12.02.22.- Mercocities is the main Network of local governments in South America and a prominent benchmark in the integration processes in the region, it was held from November 29 to December 1, 2022 in the city of Montevideo; the presidency is rotating and today is in charge of the mayor of Montevideo Carolina Cosse, who will have great challenges in 2023 with issues such as Habitat-Environment to achieve more inclusion, sustainability in our Latin America, while Fabiana Goyeneche will be in charge of the executive secretary. This edition of the summit was developed under the slogan «Friendly cities, greener cities» and the agenda to be considered had three major thematic axes: environmentally sustainable cities; Care cities and Innovative cities. Mercocities is the main network of local governments in South America and a prominent benchmark in integration processes.

It was founded in 1995 at the initiative of the main mayors and prefects of the region with the aim of favoring the participation of local governments in the regional integration process, promoting the creation of an institutional environment for cities within Mercosur and develop exchange and horizontal cooperation between local governments in the region, as stipulated in their Statutes.

Since then, the Network has been expanding and incorporating new members. It currently has 364 associated cities in Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay, Uruguay, Venezuela, Chile, Bolivia, Ecuador, Peru and Colombia, where more than 120 million people live.

Montevideo Declaration: 2022 Mercocities Summit

After three intense days of reflection and work, more than 70 cities from 9 South American countries closed the Mercocities Summit, expressing their commitment to redouble their efforts to build a more inclusive, supportive, peaceful, integrated and sustainable region; and the conditions at a global and regional level to make those commitments effective. The closure of the summit also gives rise to new appointments, among which the new presidency stands out, which will be applied by the city of Montevideo for one year.

The declaration begins with a reflection on the regional and global context and on the great challenges of our continent to achieve social inclusion, equity and sustainability. It also highlights the challenge of prioritizing in local plans, policies and actions, the following: Caring cities, «more egalitarian and just, that are sustained by the community and social organization, that incorporate the perspective of gender equality, encouraging other ways of living and managing the common.»

Environmentally sustainable cities, «that plan, manage and invest in green infrastructures and solutions based on nature, from an inclusive, egalitarian, innovative perspective, in which the cultural changes necessary to achieve environmental sustainability are implemented.» Innovative cities, “that implement disruptive solutions or new ways of organizing to improve the quality of life and the participation and social inclusion of those who inhabit cities.”

Finally, the declaration also draws attention to specific demands on international and regional organizations. Regarding Mercosur, the need to «deepen local autonomy, advance local, national, and regional financing tools, and recognize the legitimate right of local governments to have representation spaces in the bloc» is emphasized. While on a global scale there is an urgent need to strengthen local capacities for adaptation to climate change and improve access to financing to combat the climate crisis.

Press coverage: SOCINCE, News Agency for the Americas. *Mercocities refers to cities which are part of the MERCOSUR (The Southern Common Market).

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