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Due in part to climate change, the extreme weather events we’ve experienced across the Americas this past year (which may have once been considered historically atypical) are now becoming a regular occurrence.  The impacts have ranged from a mega drought across the U.S. Southwest and Mexico;  historic flood conditions in the U.S Southeast; and wildfires along Argentina’s Parana River waterway as well as the recent hurricanes impacting coastal residents from as far north as Canada’s Atlantic Provinces to the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean.

Q3 – 2023

President’s Column

This past Spring at the Cities Summit of the Americas, the Cities Forward Initiative was announced. Cities Forward is a collaborative partnership of the U.S. State Department, ICLEI, Resilient Cities Catalyst and the Institute of the America (IOA) that aims to provide peer-to-peer exchange, capacity building and diplomatic engagement to support projects addressing critical sustainability-focused challenges in municipalities across Latin America & the Caribbean.

In support of Cities Forward, in August, IOA and our partners selected twelve US and LAC city pairs to take part in this flagship program.

Over the past week, IOA joined our partners to organize a two-day agenda setting workshop in Mexico City with selected Cities Forward cities and our work is off to a good start. IOA is proud of our advances to date on Cities Forward in collaboration with our partners and look forward to keeping you appraised on our progress over the next two years.

Features

Cities Forward’s Kickoff Summit in Mexico City

On September 26-28, the Institute of the Americas (IOA), together with its partners, ICLEI, Resilient Cities Catalyst and the U.S. State Department co-convened the Cities Forward’s kickoff summit in Mexico City with the program’s city pairs from the U.S, Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC). Cities Forward is a collaborative partnership that aims to provide peer-to-peer exchange, capacity building and diplomatic engagement to support projects addressing critical sustainability-focused challenges in municipalities across LAC. 

In Mexico City, US and LAC city pairs (ranging from Baltimore/Cali, Colombia; Hoboken/Montego Bay, Jamaica and Merida/Austin-Travis County) began exploring ways to share knowledge and collaborate in addressing key sustainability priorities including responses to climate stresses (e.g. extreme weather events, sea level rise, biodiversity loss) and climate adaptation solutions including urban & green infrastructure and food systems; neighborhood redevelopment plans; and adaptation strategies for coastal areas and river corridors.

IOA partner, CAF-the Latin American Development Bank, hosted a reception and participated along with the Inter-American Development Bank in a panel discussion for City Forward LAC city officials on overcoming project implementation challenges and financing gaps. IOA’s team members participating in the Cities Forward’s Mexico City convening included Richard Kiy, Tania Miranda, Shane Christensen and Carlos Eduardo Correa. 

To learn more about Cities Forward visit the following link:  https://iamericas.org/cities-forward/

Programs

Energy & sustainability

Brazil Energy & Sustainability Roundtable

June, July and August saw the Energy & Sustainability program very active in the Southern Cone. In late June, in collaboration with the Brazilian Center for International Relations (CEBRI), we convened our Brazil Energy & Sustainability Roundtable in Rio de Janeiro. The conference summary report in English is

Argentina Energy Roundtable

In late August, we co-hosted our annual Argentina Energy Roundtable in collaboration with our partner, CEARE – the Center for the Study of Energy Regulatory Activity at the University of Buenos Aires. It was an opportune moment to assess the outlook for the economy and the role of the energy sector given the electoral cycle and the results of the primary elections (PASO). Check out our brief event summary and photo gallery.

The forum in Buenos Aires also featured an important new aspect of the IOA-CEARE collaboration, with the official launch of the Theodore Gildred Scholarship, in honor of the founder of the Institute of the Americas and former United States ambassador to Argentina. Through the scholarship, we will support postgraduate training in interdisciplinary energy issues.

During his visit to Argentina in August, Jeremy Martin participated as a panelist at the AmCham Argentina’s Energy Forum and assessed the topic of energy security and importance of Vaca Muerta in Argentina.

Brief: China’s Consumption Challenge – Why It’s Important for Latin America

We also published the first of what we expect to be several insightful briefings by Thiago de Aragão, our China-Latin America Non-Resident Fellow. The briefing examines domestic economic issues around consumption and why it’s relevant and important for Latin America.

Our Flagship Annual Event: XXXII La Jolla Energy Conference

Next week, on October 11-12, we eagerly await over 100 of our closest friends coming to town for the XXXII annual La Jolla Conference. We invite you to check out our amazing roster of Steering Committee member participants, thought-leaders, speakers and sponsors.

For more on the longstanding La Jolla Energy Conference, check out our teaser and moments videos. Best of all, there’s still time to register and join us!

ENVIRONMENT & CLIMATE CHANGE (EC2)

Storymap on Shipping Emissions and Water Pollution

The EC2 program worked on an interactive storymap where we follow the “Sapphire of the West”, a fictional but representative cruise ship on a typical 5-day journey from San Diego, CA to La Paz, Mexico, doing two port of calls along the way. We analyze the impact of different environmental regulations on atmospheric and marine pollution—particularly of ships’ exhaust gas cleaning system discharges, AKA scrubbers, since they are highly polluting and they are not allowed in California, yet they are in Mexican waters. Explore here what happens as ships use one type of fuel on one side of the border and a more polluting, yet cheaper type of fuel on the other.

Digital Transformation for Sustainability – A Latin American and Caribbean Journey

As Artificial Intelligence, blockchain, and other technologies revolutionize the world—as they have the power to transform industries, increase efficiency, and boost transparency—we must understand where Latin America and the Caribbean stands in the digital transformation process. In this issue paper, we embark on a journey to explore how the digital transformation can help enable a more sustainable future in the region. This term captures the essence of our exploration into the fusion of technology and sustainability and underscores the ongoing nature of a truly transformative process.

Unlocking Sustainable Finance: Green & Sustainable Taxonomies

Sustainable finance, in its simplest definition, is a set of financial regulations, codes, bills, taxonomies, standards, norms, and products intended to accelerate and scale up the transition from carbon-intensive products, services, and activities to greener ones. For years, the lack of definition behind green and environmentally friendly products triggered greenwashing practices. Regulators around the world have thus started to enact regulations in the form of green and sustainable taxonomies that serve as frameworks to classify and compare green, social, and environmental indicators for investors and companies. The main target users are banks, institutional investors, project developers, and investment funds.

In this brief, co-authored by IOA non-resident fellow Soffía Alarcón and EC2 director Tania Mirada, we explore a few featured taxonomies, including all of those in Latin America, as well as the region’s existing challenges, opportunities stemmed from this instrument, and what comes next.

Ecological Monitoring: 25 years of studying rocky reefs in the Gulf of California

This year marks the 25th anniversary of the longest-running rocky reef monitoring program in the Gulf of California, Mexico. This annual research program, which has been coordinated by IOA’s Gulf of California Marine Program since 2008 and is one of our core activities, allows data to be generated and provides opportunities for hands-on field experience for students and young professionals. In September, a team of 18 scientists from five different institutions embarked on a month-long expedition to study marine and coastal ecosystems from Bahía de Los Ángeles, in the northern gulf, to Cabo San Lucas, on the southern tip of the peninsula.

With over 120 study sites in the itinerary, our partners from Scripps Institution of Oceanography of UCSD and the Centro para la Biodiversidad Marina y la Conservación will lead six research teams focusing on assessing blue carbon ecosystems, invertebrate and fish communities and pelagic and rare species. Upon their return, the GCMP will coordinate work sessions with participating researchers to analyze data and publish a report with findings related to biodiversity and reef health status.  We look forward to learning about the results from this expedition and sharing them with the world very soon, but in the meantime, you can explore and access the data generated so far through the GCMP’s dataMares platform.

Upcoming Events

Brian A. Nichols

U.S. Assistant Secretary of State
for Western Hemisphere Affairs

October 10 | La Jolla, California

XXXII La Jolla Energy Conference

October 11-12 | La Jolla, California

Sen. Chris Dodd

Special Presidential Advisor for the Americas

October 11 | La Jolla, California

Madrid Energy Conference

– 5th Edition- 

April 9-11, 2024 | Madrid, Spain

Announcements

Shane Christensen

First U.S. Diplomatic Fellow

Read bio »

IOA In The News

Energy matters – As easy as 1-2-3

Anzmex| September 1st

Los pozos de Vista son 25% más productivos que los de Permian

Más Energía| August 28

Vaca Muerta: seguridad jurídica, inversiones por u$s10.000 millones y el rol de YPF y el Estado

Ámbito| August 23

Royon instó a “aprovechar de manera inclusiva” a la transición energética

ANDigital| August 23

Las tarifas de luz suben en septiembre y se permitió diferir el pago de retenciones para marzo para fijar el precio de la nafta

LaNación| August 22

Recursos naturales, transición energética y desarrollo industrial

Argentina.gob.ar| August 22

City of Austin Selected as one of 24 Cities for U.S. Department of State Cities Forward Program

Austintexas.org| August 18

Hermosillo elegido como parte del programa Ciudades en Movimiento

Expreso| August 16

State Department Announces Cities Forward Selected Participants

U.S. Department of State| August 15

Ciudades en movimiento: En qué consiste el programa para el que fue seleccionada Guatemala y que la vuelve ciudad hermana de Dallas

PrensaLibre| August 15

Un sector marítimo más competitivo y sustentable: un ganar-ganar para México (Parte 2)

ElHeraldo| July 26

Un sector marítimo más competitivo y sustentable: un ganar-ganar para México (Parte 1)

ElHeraldo| July 25

Energy matters – Mexico: A decade of change?

Anzmex| July 17