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Report from the Challenges of Metropolitan Management in Federations Conference in Brasilia – March 2004

Report from the Challenges of Metropolitan Management in Federations Conference in Brasilia – March 2004 By Diana Chebenova, Forum of Federations The Forum, in co-operation with the Secretariat for Federative Affairs of the Brazilian Presidency, the Congress Commission on Urban and Interior Development, the Ministry of Cities and the Institute for Applied Economic Research organized a two-day international conference on the Challenges of Metropolitan Management in Federations that was held on 30 and 31 March 2004 in Brasilia. The main objective of the conference was to resume the debate on metropolitan issue in Brazil, reintroducing it in the political agenda of the federal government, states, local governments and civil society. The conference examined the current status of metropolitan areas in Brazil and the experiences of Brazil with metropolitan management and analyzed new proposals that are being formulated by the federal government to support the restructuring of metropolitan areas. The first day of the conference was devoted to a general overview of the situation of metropolitan regions in Europe, Latin America and Brazil. The European Union regional urban policies and in particular the dynamics of intergovernmental relations between the European Commission, the States and the Regions were discussed. The necessary changes to be adopted in metropolitan management structure in Latin America were also analyzed. Special emphasis was put on assessing the Brazilian experience in the management of metropolitan areas after the 1988 Constitution, on current problems and dilemmas in managing large urban agglomerations, and on financing of metropolitan areas. The second day of the conference was dedicated to some innovative experiences in metropolitan management from Canada, South Africa, India, and Brazil. The presentations highlighted how metropolitan policies are evolving in these federations. The last session brought the views and perspectives of institutional, political and social players in the area of metropolitan management in Brazil and highlighted the new management experiences and prospects for a new federal policy for metropolitan management. The conference attracted a large audience of around 300 participants. It was inaugurated by Deputy Luiz Piauhylino; Minister of Cities Olivio Dutra; Head of Federative Affairs of Brazilian Presidency Vicente Trevas; President of the Congress Commission on Urban and Interior Development, Silas Camara; and David MacDonald of the Forum, among others. The international experts invited to speak at the conference were the following: Jose Palma Andres, Director of Regional Policies for Denmark, Finland, Germany, Ireland, Sweden, and United Kingdom, General Directorate for Regional Policy of the European Commission; Alberto Paranhos, Senior Officer with the Urban Management Program for Latin America and the Caribbean, United Nations Centre for Human Settlement (UNCHS); Nico Steytler, Professor, University of the Western Cape, City of Cape Town, South Africa; Om Prakash Mathur, IDFC Chair in Urban Economics and Finance at the National Institute of Public Finance and Policy, New Delhi, India and Daniel Burns, former Deputy Minister with the Government of Ontario for Health and Long-Term Care, Economic Development and Trade, and Municipal Affairs and Housing.