The Cities for Life Forum and
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The area of Nuevo Chimbote, 420km north of Lima, was supposed to host the rapid urban growth coming from the city of Chimbote, which was largely destroyed by an earthquake in the early 1970s. To face this problem, government planning proposed to establish plots for self-constructed houses supported by roads, water networks and drains. Occupation of areas originally devoted to parks, gardens and other social uses weakened initial plans and the city grew in a disorderly way, creating problems that affect the quality of life of current inhabitants. It is estimated that today nearly 70 per cent of the city population live in areas characterized by deficient water services, pollution and disease.
The recent implementation of Local Agenda 21 in Nuevo Chimbote has meant the beginning of highly participatory processes striving to generate sustainable human development and the reinforcement of democratic transition at a local level. In these processes, a key role has been played by the creation of alliances and support brought by a private–public, inter-institutional network called the Cities for Life Forum. The Forum has ushered in the development of a self-diagnosis that has resulted in a shared socio-economic and environmental vision. A series of activities with children, young people, women and public and private institutions were developed in order to validate this shared vision of the future, which was subsequently approved and signed by local actors.
The Cities for Life Forum is an unprecedented initiative in Peru. It works for the promotion of democratic civic practices and unites efforts and local resources in order to design a new logic of sustainable development that:
- incorporates top-down and bottom-up actions;
- integrates social development, economic development and environmental management;
- promotes a planning culture with long-term perspective and practical short-term actions;
- channels state and private sector funds on the basis of participatory budgeting and applies the principle of shared responsibility among public and private actors.
- coordination among public actors and civil society;
- consensus-building among municipalities;
- the value of local spaces as the stage for development planning and management;
- connectivity between areas within the region;
- an inter-institutional forum;
- a cross-disciplinary and cross-sector approach.
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