Rio de Janeiro, 11 February 2016 – The phrase belongs to Elkin Velasquez, UN-Habitat´s Regional Director for Latin America and the Caribbean, during the signing of the agreement between the UN agency and the government of Risaralda (Colombia). Pact for Sustainability and Competitiveness is a document that includes actions for development in 14 municipalities through the implementation of a State Organizational Plan. "It is important that cities generate joint strategies to deal with the reception of people in rural areas, ensuring better living conditions," said Velasquez.

Sigifredo Salazar, Governor of Risaralda, said the government plans to implement actions in 28 settlements. "We will make a judicious and responsible action to work for the sustainable development of all our territory, taking into account the urban but hand in hand with rural". Participants included representatives from the public and private sector, local governments, unions and academia. The centrepiece of the pact aims to improve the living conditions in rural areas for200,000 people, which represents more than 20 per cent of Risaralda’s population. Risaralda is the first state in Colombia to sign this type of agreement and hopes that other areas of the country will join.

"The purpose of this agreement is to achieve a competitive and sustainable human development in the state, therefore the primary focus of this administration will strengthen partnerships with public, private and academic sectors of Risaralda, developing actions jointly,” said secretary of Diana Yaneth Osorio Bernal, Economic Development and Competitiveness of Risaralda.