Maceió, Brazil, 27 August 2018-- UN-Habitat recently hosted a lecture on “How to implement the global agenda for sustainable urban development in Alagoas: Considerations and connections with international experiences”. The event was held in Maceió, the capital of the State of Alagoas, Brazil.

Claudio Acioly, UN-Habitat’s Head of the Capacity Development Unit delivered the lecture and led a number of capacity development building activities for state civil servants who work with formulation and implementation of urban policies and programmes within the project “Sustainable and Inclusive Urban Prosperity in the State of Alagoas - an Integrated Initiative”. The local team also organized technical visits to the Maceió slums  (locally known as “grotas”) that received accessibility, mobility, infrastructure and housing improvements from the State Government in the scope of the “Programa Vida Nova nas Grotas” (“New Life in the Grotas Programme”).

Mr. Acioly explained the connections between the 2030 Agenda, the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the New Urban Agenda during his lecture. Representatives from the State Government, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the Maceió Municipality, the Council of Architecture and Urbanism in Alagoas (CAU/AL), the Institute of Architects of Brazil - Department of Alagoas (IAB/AL), scholars, teachers and students attended the lecture.

The President of the Council of Architecture and Urbanism in Alagoas, Heitor Maia, encouraged his technical team to participate in the event. Mr. Maia considered the topics addressed highly relevant as they connect global agendas of development with local slum upgrading projects and the various forms of access to adequate housing. He also highlighted that these events are very important for the state as they bring the global discussions on how the goals and urban indicators of the Sustainable Development Goals and the New Urban Agenda can be localised in the urban spaces of Maceió.

In addition to the lecture and technical visits to the grotas, capacity development activities for Secretaries and state civil servants of the following secretariats were organized: Treasury; Planning, Management and Patrimony; Transport and Urban Development as well as Infrastructure. The meetings aimed at carrying out a preliminary Training Needs Assessment of the State Government´s staff, which will inform a Capacity Development Programme for state projects and public policies that will be later implemented in partnership with UN-Habitat.

The Special Superintendent of Transport and Urban Development Andreia Estevam stated that a Training Needs Assessment is very important to map her team's needs for skills and opportunities of performance improvement and also considered relevant to get to know the current methodologies of UN-Habitat´s Capacity Development Unit.

Finally, Mr. Acioly evaluated the mission to Alagoas as an important step to recognize the State Government’s efforts towards the improvement of the quality of life in the slums of Maceió. He also highlighted the opportunity to identify the abilities, thematic priorities and needs for upgrading, training and institutional enhancement to be developed by the local team in the implementation of the project in the State of Alagoas.

UN-Habitat in Alagoas

In 2016, the State Government started a programme entitled “Pequenas Obras, Grandes Mudanças” (“Small Works, Great Changes”), that consisted of construction of staircases, sidewalks, bridges and handrails in a few small grotas in Maceió. The recognition of the improvement of dwellers´ quality of life following these initial works and a cooperation agreement signed by the State Government and UN-Habitat led the program to expand to all the other grotas in the city under the banner “Programa Vida Nova nas Grotas” (“New Life in the Grotas programe”), the largest integrated initiative of urban, social and economic development in Maceió.

As a result, UN-Habitat has been implementing the project “Sustainable and Inclusive Urban Prosperity in the State of Alagoas - an Integrated Initiative” in partnership with the Government of the State of Alagoas since October 2017. The project is focused on the production of qualified data, assessments and strategies in the following areas: indicators of urban prosperity, informal settlements and housing, public safety, public funding, local economic development, and institutional and staff capacities.