American Planning Association
  • Date submitted: 1 Nov 2011
  • Stakeholder type: Major Group
  • Name: American Planning Association
  • Submission Document: Download
Keywords: Green economy (1 hits),

Full Submission

American Planning Association (APA) and the Energy and Climate Partnership of the Americas (ECPA)

Objective: To secure renewed political commitment for sustainable development in the Western Hemisphere by assessing the progress to date and the remaining gaps in the implementation of the outcomes of the major summits on sustainable development, as well as addressing new and emerging challenges.

The American Planning Association (APA) has partnered with the U.S. Department of State, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, and a variety of educational and nongovernmental organizations in the U.S. and abroad to address the issue of sustainable development through improved urban and regional planning. Under President Obama?s leadership, APA was awarded two grants under the umbrella of the Energy and Climate Partnership of the Americas (ECPA), an intergovernmental agreement among over a dozen Western Hemisphere nations to cooperatively address the issues of climate change and energy consumption. We suggest that the framework established through our first ECPA grant, aimed at improving planning capacity in Latin America and the Caribbean, combined with the goals of our second ECPA grant, where we will identify and initiate pilot projects in housing and sustainable community development, will provide lessons for the attendees and their governments as they seek to reaffirm and commit to reducing remaining barriers in sustainable development.

Themes: (1) A Green economy in the context of sustainable development and poverty eradication; and (2) The institutional framework for sustainable development.

ECPA provides a thoughtful approach to engaging a wide range of interests and stakeholders? government, NGOs, educational institutions, and private sector companies?to collaborate across levels of jurisdiction and disciplines, thus placing more expertise at the hands of all parties directly responsible for community building. Primarily through a variety of networks, APA has already seen progress in changing the way people and communities view the role of planning in the overall effort to achieve more sustainable, economically prosperous, and equitable places. In our ECPA work, we have specifically targeted solutions that will simultaneously improve the living standards for the poor and those historically marginalized from the discussions related to infrastructure and economic investment, while also assisting communities to reduce energy poverty, build resilience to climate change, and promote community and national NGO bodies that will carry on this work after our initial technical assistance work ends.

A primary example of our success thus far is reflected by progress in the Caribbean to create a professional network of city and regional planners who will be able to provide more technical assistance, advocacy, and knowledge to local citizens and government leaders about energy and climate change issues. This effort transcends borders and languages, representing one of APA?s early achievements in the ECPA effort. In addition, we have advised a joint U.S.‐Brazilian graduate level urban and regional planning studio on a petrochemical facility outside of Rio de Janeiro and hosted two international conferences on sustainable urban planning and sustainable economic development that drew participants and case studies from across the Americas.

APA?s overall institutional framework combines training, targeted technical assistance, and the creation and enhancement of nonprofit organizations. As such, it is a framework that we feel should be of interest to the participants in Rio + 20. As a result of our ECPA program, APA feels that our work resonates well with both themes and that our successful outcomes will greatly assist in meeting the summit?s overall objectives
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