1 March 2013 - On Friday, 22 February, 2013, the Federation of Industries of Paraná (FIEP) State, Brazil and the United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR) renewed an agreement for three years. The new partnership agreement, which guarantees the maintenance of the International Training Centre for Local Actors for Latin America (CIFAL Curitiba) within the framework of FIEP in Curitiba, was signed by the President of the Federation, Mr. Edson Campagnolo, the superintendent of SESI in Paraná, Mr. José Antonio Fares, and the manager of the Local Development Programme of UNITAR, Mr. Alexander Mejia.

Responsible for developing training programs and promoting technical cooperation contributing to local development, CIFAL was installed in Curitiba in 2003. In November 2009, when the first agreement was signed between UNITAR and SESI, the center was relocated and housed in FIEP. The new agreement signed on Friday renewed the cooperation between the two entities from 2013 through to 2016.

"Much has been achieved by CIFAL Curitiba thus far, but much remains to be done," said the president of FIEP. "Curitiba is one of 10 cities worldwide selected by UNITAR to house the CIFAL, and it is important that it is within FIEP. UNITAR can count on the commitment of our partnership," added Mr. Campagnolo.

Mr. Mejia also highlighted the importance of partnership between UNITAR and FIEP. "CIFAL has 10 centers worldwide. These Centres are partners who work in the same way to build capabilities in partnership with a local partner. For UNITAR, FIEP is a unique institution because it allows us to work not only with the public sector, but also with the private sector. This interaction is crucial to achieve positive results," he said.

He also stressed the importance of empowering leaders responsible for the development of the localities. "Rio +20, last year placed a priority focus on local development. The concept of nation state is ending, and local government emerges. And if there is no local governance, it is very difficult for a country to achieve sustainable development."

Since 2009, CIFAL Curitiba has promoted training activities that attracted an audience of nearly ten thousand people. Trainings are geared especially towards decision makers directly involved in local development, including representatives from academia, public sector, and civil society organizations.

For the coming years, the programs of the CIFAL should primarily address regional challenges for advancing sustainable local development, such as urban mobility and traffic safety, creative economy and job creation, and the use of ICT and social media communication tools in building sustainable cities. Moreover, one of the most important goals of CIFAL Curitiba will be training municipal administrators to develop and manage projects to access funding, through more innovative homegrown financing models such as the Consortiums approach. "Many small local governments do not know how to ask for financial support from a financial institution or do not know how to effectively draft a high quality project proposal. It is a crucial issue for local development and promotion - CIFAL acts in this capacity," said Mejía.

Another topic that will occupy the agenda of CIFAL Curitiba in the coming years is a focus to enlarge the role of political or "social entrepreneurship" within governance issues in Paraná States. In this respect, Mr. Mejia noted, "You need a balance between public and private. The only way to achieve this balance is with public officials who understand the private sector and entrepreneurs who understand the public sector."

The ceremony of renewal of the contract between UNITAR and FIEP was also attended by representatives of the city of Curitiba, which declared an interest in expanding partnerships with CIFAL and FIEP. Among those present were the president of the Institute of Urban Planning and Pequisa Curitiba (IPPUC), Sergio Pires, and President of URBS, Roberto Gregório.

For more information visit: www.cifalcuritiba.org.br