The U.S. Embassy Nassau is excited to announce that Freeport, Grand Bahama has been selected as one of 129 cities across Latin America, the Caribbean, and the United States to participate in the Cities Forward program. The U.S. government has partnered with ICLEI-Local Governments for Sustainability, Resilient Cities Catalyst and the Institute of the Americas to create this flagship urban sustainability initiative.
Freeport has been paired with Coral Springs, Florida to share successes and challenges in priority areas, including but not limited to extreme heat, watershed and water resource management, greenhouse gas reduction, renewable energy, mobility/transportation access, green infrastructure and greenspaces for underserved communities, circularity and plastics pollution control.
A collaborative partnership, both cities will provide peer-to-peer exchange, capacity building, and diplomatic engagement, focused on implementing projects that solve critical urban challenges around sustainability, inclusivity, and resiliency.
In June 2022, U.S. President Joe Biden and U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken announced the Cities Forward program at the 9th Summit of the Americas, and officially launched the program at the Cities Summit of the Americas on April 27, 2023.
The goals of this initiative are to mitigate pollution, strengthen climate resilience, and improve the health and welfare of underserved populations.
Three key principles will guide Cities Forward. First, it is city-led, with local stakeholders leading the action plan design and local project implementation. Second, the actions taken will benefit the cities’ underserved and underrepresented residents. And third, solutions derived from this program will be environmentally, economically, and socially sustainable.
The first phase matched 12 large, medium, and small cities in Latin America and the Caribbean with counterparts in the United States.
The second phase will consist of a multi-stakeholder planning process, training workshops, and networking conferences held in participating cities to help them develop their own sustainability action plans.
In the third phase, Cities Forward will help cities achieve the goals they have set for themselves through tailored connections and partnerships with the private sector, the research and academic community, philanthropies, non-government organizations, development finance entities, multilateral organizations, and U.S. government agencies.
Best practices from phase two will be shared with more than 50 cities across the hemisphere through an online training platform called the Cities Forward Academy.
The selected cities in the Western Hemisphere and their identified pairings are as follows:
- Freeport, The Bahamas + Coral Springs, Florida, United States
- Montego Bay, Jamaica + Hoboken, New Jersey, United States
- Guatemala City, Guatemala + Dallas, Texas, United States
- Cartagena, Colombia + Denver, Colorado, United States
- Cali, Colombia + Baltimore, Maryland, United States
- Fortaleza, Brazil + Hawaii County, Hawaii, United States
- Manaus, Brazil + Stockton, California, United States
- Rosario, Argentina + Chattanooga, Tennessee, United States
- Mérida, Mexico + Austin, Texas, United States
- Hermosillo, Mexico + Dubuque, Iowa, United States
- Ambato, Ecuador + Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States
- Renca, Chile + Evanston, Illinois, United States