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OCO/URB-AL III, promoting social cohesion in Latin America
Partner(s), UE:
Diputació de Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain (leader institution)
FIIAPP, Madrid, Spain
Tuscany Region, Italy
OICS (Interregional Observatory for Development Cooperation), Italy Partner(s), developing country:
Province of Santa Fe (Argentina)
Municipality of San Jose (Costa Rica)
City council of Bogotá (Colombia)
The Orientation and Coordination Office (OCO) of the URB-AL III Programme is a partnership of local administrations led by Diputació de Barcelona (Barcelona Provincial Council). The OCO provides technical support as well as strategic guidance to the projects funded by the Programme. Also, it promotes the sharing of good practices, carries out training activities and promotes initiatives to strengthen social cohesion in Latin America (ex: URBsociAL, Regional Dialogues, Local Leadership Platform, capitalisation, publications, etc.)
URB-AL III is a European Commission’s regional cooperation programme which aims to increase the degree of social cohesion in sub-national and regional communities across Latin America. The Programme, with 1.8 million beneficiaries, consists of 20 cooperation projects with direct impact in 74 Latin American territories and the OCO (some 500 municipalities with a total population of some 26 million people. The Programme has got 160 stakeholders from Europe and Latin America. The objectives of the URB-AL III Programme are:
  • General aim: to contribute to increasing the degree of social and territorial cohesion within sub-national and regional groups in Latin America.
  • Specific aim: to consolidate or promote social cohesion policies that can become models that generate debate and indicate possible solutions for sub-national governments of Latin America that wish to stimulate social cohesion dynamics.
Period of reference:
OCO / URB-AL III Programme was set for the period 2009-2012. It´s been extended until July 2013
Total resources (€):
  • Total budget of the URB-AL III Programme: 64.4 million euros
  • Total budget of the OCO: 9 million euros (Contribution of the UE: 6 million euros; contribution of the consortium partners: 3 million euros)
  • Total budget of the 20 cooperation projects: 55.4 million euros (Contribution of the UE: 44 million euros; 11.4 million euros)
Number of beneficiaries:
The URB-AL III Programme has reached 1.8 million beneficiaries (citizens, local authorities, municipal officials and technical staff). The total population of the intervention territories is 26 million people.
URB-AL is a European Commission (EC) regional cooperation programme with Latin America. It was launched in 1995 to strengthen decentralised cooperation between the two regions. The goal of its third phase has been to contribute towards an increase in the degree of social and territorial cohesion in subnational governments in Latin America. The programme was, for the first time, taking a political and strategic priority from the European and Latin American regional agenda, defined and endorsed at several summits of heads of state and government since 2004.
Outline description of the project, programme, strategy or instrument
By consolidating and promoting public policies and processes, the Programme has encouraged the construction of reference models capable of showing possible solutions to subnational Latin American governments keen to give an impetus to social cohesion dynamics. This highlights the pioneering and innovative character of URB-AL III, which has managed to develop from a "one-off project" into a "public policy", having demonstrated the importance of supporting local government processes and strengthening institutions as key elements for responding to the needs of citizens.
The areas worked on by the projects have been diverse and structured round the five dimensions of social cohesion: civic, productive, institutional, social and territorial. Taking into account the EC's considerations - in the sense that, to increase the degree of social cohesion, dealing with problems from an overall, multisectoral standpoint is what is important - all the projects opted to tackle various dimensions and adopted a cross-cutting institutional focus.
Within the framework of the Programme, and in 52 territories, the OCO has driven and implemented an innovative methodology for identifying the advances projects have made in the area of public policies that contribute to social cohesion. In addition it has mobilised over 3,000 players in the various events for reflection, produced 64 publications and/or documents, encouraged exchanging and capitalising on good practices and trained over 634 people.
Activities, (expected) results and prospects
Main results of the URB-AL III Programme consolidated figures of the 20 projects
  • Direct and semi-direct beneficiaries: 1.8 million people
  • Indirect beneficiaries (population of the intervention territories): 26 million people
  • Intervention territories in Latin America: 74
  • Municipalities with an impact: 500
  • Players that have taken part in the Programme in Europe and Latin America: 160
  • Promoted or strengthened public policies: 131
  • People given skills training: 23,446 people
  • Jobs created: 1,613
  • Building work, restoration work and land reclamation: 389
Main results of the OCO
Contacts for additional information
Orientation and Coordination Office (OCO)
Travessera de les Corts 131-159
Pavelló de Mestral, 4
Barcelona 08028
Tel (0034) 93 404 94 61
Contact person: Verónica Sanz
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