Montreal, 19 November 2014 - A new network was created this week bringing together metropolitan authorities of South America, Central America and North America.
Known as the Network of Metropolitan Areas of the Americas (RAMA in Spanish, French and Portuguese) it is the brainchild of a joint initiative born in Cali, Colombia in 2013, particularly the fruitful cooperation between the Metropolitan Area of the Aburrá Valley (Medellin, Colombia) and the Metropolitan Community of Montreal, Canada.
During this first formal meeting, metropolitan institutions from Brazil (EMPLASA, São Paulo), Canada (CMM, Montreal), Colombia (AMVA, metropolitan Bucaramanga, and the Association of Metropolitan Areas of Colombia), El Salvador (Council of Mayors Office and the Planning Office of the Metropolitan Area of San Salvador) and Mexico (Institute of Metropolitan Planning of Guadalajara Metropolitan Area) were represented.
At a special ceremony also attended by the Prime Minister of Quebec, Mr. Philippe Couillard, Mr. Denis Coderre, the mayor of Montreal and president of Montreal Metropolitan Community, said: "Metropolitan areas are playing an increasing emerging role at the national and international levels. They facilitate the articulation between the local to the global and find solutions to current challenges. One third of the population of the Americas is currently living in these large metropolitan areas with more than two million souls. In this sense, today we applaud the creation of a Pan American network of metropolitan areas. Despite their differences, the metropolitan areas of the southern and northern Americas share enough issues and challenges to justify the creation of such network. We can learn from the experiences of each one of us. Our interest for a better understanding is reciprocal. "
UN-Habitat and United Nations Executive Director Dr. Joan Clos, sent a welcoming video message in which he said: "This project deserves a special mention. I'm sure that there are plenty of ideas and experiences that can be shared in the pursuit of improving the conditions of metropolitan areas across the continent. UN-Habitat welcomes the establishment of the network and offers its support. This Pan American union is an inspiring example of cooperation towards Habitat III. "
The regional office of UN-Habitat, ROLAC, will host the technical secretariat of RAMA.