The Development Bank of Latin America and the Caribbean-CAF- held in the Dominican Republic the third meeting of BiodiverCities of the Caribbean and Central America, organized in partnership with the Ministry of Tourism, which seeks to create a model of urban development that is in harmony with nature.
At the meeting, the mayors of Curridabat and Nicoya, Costa Rica; Bocas del Toro, Panama; San Nicolás, Honduras; La Palma, El Salvador; Rio San Juan and Nagua, Dominican Republic, signed the agreement of adhesion to the Declaration of Barranquilla, through which these signatory cities reaffirm their commitment to a model of urban management in harmony with nature and formalize their incorporation to the Network of BiodiverCities of Latin America and the Caribbean.
A BiodiverCity is a city that effectively and integrally incorporates local and regional biodiversity in its planning, as an essential axis and instrument of its socioeconomic development.
The Vice President of the Republic, Raquel Peña, expressed that the BiodiverCities concept is an interesting initiative that comes to place biodiversity as the main axis, adopting all the efforts and the planning and territorial ordering of the countries.
“It is the goal of the Dominican Republic to continue advancing with strong steps towards a territorial planning of our tourist destinations and to diversify the tourist offer taking advantage of the different attractions we have in order to reduce the impact on the environment”, said Raquel Peña.
The Vice President of the Republic recognized the Development Bank of Latin America and the Caribbean for promoting this network of cities of biodiversity and for organizing events where they can exchange successful experiences and share the challenges that each of the countries face, as well as the Ministry of Tourism, which has been a great ally in the development of the meeting.
The Vice Minister of International Cooperation of MITUR, Carlos Peguero, on behalf of Minister David Collado, said that the vision of a new tourism policy from the environmental perspective is based on maintaining a dynamic balance that allows the satisfaction of the needs imposed by the tourism development process and at the same time guarantees the environment and favors a sustainable use of resources.
He indicated that these policies are based on making optimal use of environmental resources, maintaining essential ecological processes and helping to conserve natural resources and biological diversity, as well as respecting the sociocultural authenticity of host communities and ensuring viable long-term economic activities, such as stable employment and income opportunities that contribute to reducing local poverty.
Sergio Diaz-Granados, executive president of CAF, announced that CAF’s sustainable tourism unit will move to the Dominican Republic and visualize all sustainable tourism issues in Latin America from Quisqueya, while informing that they are interested in working in the future, some projects that interest the country, hand in hand with the Dominican government and the private sector.
“We have great challenges in our region, jobs for young people and women, greater equity in the fight against poverty and marginalization that can only be solved from the territory. For this reason, CAF believes and trusts in the power of transformation at the local level, and mayors have a great responsibility on their shoulders,” said Diaz.
During the conclave that took place on June 13 and 14 in Punta Cana, Ángel Cárdenas, CAF’s manager of urban development and creative economies, introduced the event, which included the presentation of Hernando García Martínez, general director of the Humboldt Institute of Colombia with the dissertation “BiodiverCiudades al servicio del turismo sostenible” and Shaney Peña, director of Planning and Projects (DPP) of MITUR, with the topic “Repensando la planificación territorial turística en República Dominicana” (Rethinking territorial tourism planning in the Dominican Republic).
The dialogues “Territorial planning in coastal areas”, “Restoration and preservation of natural assets for sustainable tourism” and “Biodiversity as a factor in tourism competitiveness” were also held.
The World Economic Forum recently began a process of collaboration with the Government of Colombia on a new global initiative that will support city governments, businesses and citizens around the world to create an urban development model that is in harmony with nature and which it has called BiodiverCities for 2030.
The BiodiverCiudad concept arises from the need to promote the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity and ecosystem services and incorporate them into territorial planning and management, promoting the bioeconomy, science, technology, innovation and circular economy in order to achieve greater well-being of citizens and the fulfillment of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
On December 1, 2021, CAF and the Mayor’s Office of Barranquilla (Colombia) hosted the Latin American BiodiverCities Forum, which brought together mayors of the region and leaders from different fields, in order to present their experiences and discuss the strategy to boost the promotion of BiodiverCities in Latin America and the Caribbean, as well as their future network articulation.
CAF has promoted the development of BiodiverCities Meetings -at national and regional level- that serve as a space for the exchange of experiences, good practices and challenges among cities throughout the region. The cycle began in Argentina, with the participation of more than 30 local authorities, and continued in Ecuador, bringing together 22 mayors from that country.