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City-to-city cooperation to address public utility challenges is initiated in Milan


MILAN, Italy—Policy makers and urban experts from Europe and Latin America today initiated a series of discussions that will result in the formation of ties among local officials on both sides of the Atlantic to address the challenges of providing public services in large metropolitan areas.


The seminar, held in conjunction with the 44th Annual Meeting of the Inter-American Development Bank, was sponsored by the City of Milan, Italy’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and the IDB.


The central theme for addressing urban problems “can be summed up in one word: integration,” said Mario Baccini, deputy secretary of state for foreign affairs of Italy. He said that designing and carrying out policies for public utilities can constitute a “new model of synergy” and a focal point of cooperation among government, civil society, and international organizations.


Speakers at the seminar also included Adolfo Urso, deputy minister of productive activities of Italy, and Javier Perez de Cuellar, Peruvian ambassador to France and former secretary general of the United Nations. The opening session was highlighted by a round table discussion with the mayors of Milan, Montevideo, Caracas, Lima, Buenos Aires, and Guadalajara.


Other sessions addressed such urgent urban issues as mass rapid transit, environmental services, restoration of historic districts, airport services management, and local energy systems.


According to speakers, the focus for solutions to urban problems can be found neither in privatization nor in statist models, but rather in direct city-to-city cooperation.


At the close of the meeting tomorrow, a memorandum of understanding to promote the exchange of knowledge and experiences related to public utility services will be signed by the mayor of Milan, the IDB president, the governor of the Prefecture of Okinawa, and mayors and senior officials of a group of Latin American cities.


Upcoming IDB annual meetings in Lima and Okinawa will be the venue for future meetings to discuss the provision of public services in urban area.




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