Cartagena, Tuesday, 14 June 2022
Cartagena de Indias D. T y C., May 10, 2022. The Mayor's Office of Cartagena has agreed to adopt the Netherlands innovative program to combat climate change, “Water as Leverage”, to fend off some of the most severe problems the Caribbean city faces from rapidly rising water levels.
Water As Leverage is designed to promote the formulation and implementation of sustainable infrastructure projects that increase climate adaptation and urban resilience of the city, as well as its relationship with water.
The project was launched at a forum to socialize the project with local business leaders, academics, environmental institutions, urban planners and the general public.
“We are very grateful to the Dutch government for choosing Cartagena. They are the undisputed global experts on managing water and will contribute decisively to the implementation, FINALLY, of the Plan 4C”, said the mayor of Cartagena, William Dau Chamat, during the installation of the forum.
Also present at the high-level launch was deputy ambassador of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, Caroline Ramaekers; the senior adviser for International Cooperation of the Netherlands, Robert Proos; the senior advisor of the embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, Mónica Parra; the director of the Environmental Public Establishment (EPA Cartagena), Javier Mouthón; the Secretary of Infrastructure, Luis Villadiego; and Mayor Dau’s Special Advisor on International Cooperation, Ana María González.
The deputy ambassador of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, Caroline Ramaekers, said that an important part of the program was changing the collective mindset of water being a solution for the city’s development goals rather than a problem. "In our country we love water and we believe that we can collaborate with the city of Cartagena to design projects that better manage its water wealth, and that make it more resilient to climate change.”
With 74 km of coastline, Cartagena is one of the cities in Colombia and the world most at risk from the rise in ocean levels due to global warming. Strengthening Cartagena’s ability to adapt and respond to these challenges is one of the priorities for the incumbent mayor.
Luis Villadiego, Secretary of Infrastructure of the Mayor's Office of Cartagena commented that "Water As Leverage" is an essential technical component to plan for the future.
“There are solutions,” Villadiego said. “You have to look for the mechanisms that unlock the knots. There are technical solutions of all kinds, the problem is moving from design to execution.”
Having the knowledge, experience and financial support of The Netherlands, the country with arguably the greatest success in managing water for its own economic development, laying the foundations for what will be the main component of Cartagena’s own long-term development plan, Plan 4C, is extremely positive, said Villadiego. “This is the opportunity to take the first big step to execute the necessary improvements that will prepare Cartagena for the challenges ahead”.
Plan 4C is the roadmap to achieve a resilient, competitive and climate compatible Cartagena de Indias. Cartagena is the first city in the country to have created a long-term vision where the climate of the future will become an opportunity for its development.
The director of the Environmental Public Establishment of Cartagena, Javier Mouthon Bello, stated: "With this cooperation program a concrete path has been laid to improve the comprehensive management of our water resources and integrate our bodies of water into our urban planning. The government, private sector and communities must work together to carry out projects that encourage resilience and adaptation to climate change in our city".
The Water As Leverage program is already being implemented with success in three countries in Asia that face situations similar to those of Cartagena: India, Indonesia and Bangladesh.
In these three countries, experts from the Kingdom of the Netherlands have provided support in the following ways:
With this important initiative of International Cooperation with the Kingdom of the Netherlands, Cartagena will receive funds for studies drawn up by local and international technical experts and the creation of forums where local, national and international actors can propose solutions.
Robert Proos, Senior Advisor for the “Water as Leverage” program highlighted the importance of investing well at the beginning of a transformation process. “Investing in the project formulation stage is essential to have a more informed and effective execution. That is why it is necessary to invest millions to spend trillions wisely,” he said.
The success of the project depends on the collaboration of communities, experts and entrepreneurs in the workshops of the program. Let's save Cartagena together!
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