November 9, 2017
The members of the Conference of Atlantic Arc Cities (CAAC), in its first General Assembly (Rennes, 2000), defined as a major priority the advancement of the external promotion of cities and international cooperation – especially through cooperative relationships with cities in Latin America, the African Atlantic Arc and the Mediterranean basin.
This early wish was endorsed in the XVII General Assembly of CAAC (Viana do Castelo, 2017). Therefore, the Atlantic Urban Forum is currently exploring different possibilities and funding to finally launch its most ambitious project – that is to start a Transatlantic Urban Cooperation.
Worldwide, urban centres are currently dealing with important issues: climate change, technologies, transport, energy, health, housing, education, gender-equality, poverty, etc. The UN Agency for Urbanization and Human Settlements –UN Habitat-, being aware of such challenges, presented the New Urban Agenda at Habitat III Conference (Quito, October 2016). This document is the new global cornerstone of Sustainable Urban Development.
In this respect, the European Union also approved the new European Urban Agenda (2016), with the support and expertise of numerous stakeholders, CAAC among them. Moreover, since the European Commission recognizes the necessity of designing global responses, it has launched the International Urban Cooperation Programme.
As the aforementioned initiatives illustrate, the moment to materialize transatlantic urban cooperation relations could not be more propitious. The Conference of Atlantic Arc Cities already pointed at the indispensable role of local entities in sustainable urban development and in decision-making processes at the Charter of San Sebastián in 2008. CAAC sees transatlantic cooperation as an excellent tool to claim for global policies concerning the Atlantic Ocean and cities.
From one shore to another, transatlantic cooperation is an excellent opportunity to defend Atlantic interests. The moment to play our role as Atlantic network in the global arena has come.
Beatriz García Soriano
CAAC – International RelationsAuthor : Atlantic Cities