The Localizing Agenda 21 (LA21) Programme in Cuba was initiated in response to a request by the Government of Cuba to strengthen the capacity of local actors to conduct urban planning and management processes. The LA21 programme supports the strengthening of intersectoral and citizen participation and provides ways of ensuring that the planning exercise translates into concrete actions. The Cuba National Programme builds on activities initiated in 2003 with the establishment of a national capacity-building centre in Santa Clara. During 2003 the centre was rehabilitated, allowing the creation of a state-of-the-art training centre. The training centre is meant to deliver the Environment Planning and Management training course. A large training hall can accommodate up to 30 students. A computer room has been set up for specialized training. A library brings together the latest literature on the Urban Environment provided by UN-HABITAT, project partners such as the Programa de Gestión Urbana and others. An Environment Planning and Management (EPM) training course was prepared during 2003. This course was jointly prepared and delivered by the Institute of Physical Planning, the universities of La Habana and Santa Clara and the Bayamo Local Agenda Project. The diploma course, organized through a series of 10 training sessions of one week each, delivered over a period of 15 months (October 2003 to December 2004). The course was attended by 2 students from each of the 11 provincial capitals. The course provided lectures on the various steps and components of the environment planning and management process, illustrated from real life experiences of the LA21 Bayamo project. Practical exercises prepare the students in conducting Local Agenda 21 processes. Based on the experience acquired through the Bayamo Local agenda 21, the current project supports the replication of this initiative in the cities of Santa Clara, Cienfuegos and Hoguin. The project is part of the joint UN-HABITAT/UNEP Regional Strategy for the Urban Environment in Latin America and the Caribbean.
With the leadership of UNEP, the project is currently supporting the preparation of GEO City Reports, which will provide an overview of the relation between urban development and the environment and analyse existing mechanisms for managing the urban environment. These profiles will offer a common information base for all actors involved in the project. They will also serve as a basis to identify priority urban environment issues which will be discussed during City Consultations to be held at the end of 2004 and the beginning of 2005. These Consultations, which will bring together key local and regional actors, will lead to the creation of inter-sectoral working groups around selected priority issues. These working groups will prepare issues-specific strategies and action plans and will initiate their implementation through small-scale demonstration projects.
- Training mechanisms are well established for capacity building activities and a national team is able to provide technical support to local teams.
- Local teams have been set up.
- Local actors have been sensitized to the Local Agenda 21 approach and political support from national and local authorities has been mobilized.
- GEO City reports are being prepared drawing information from a very large number of local and provincial actors.