Updated: Feb 15, 2018
On February 5th I had the honor to visit the Mayor of Cochabamba José Maria Leyes together with Ricardo, my colleague from La Paz.
Mr Leyes, together with the secretary for environmental affairs, Mr. Eduardo Galindo, also joined the visit of the delegation of mayors to the Netherlands in April 2017.
Long-term well defined strategy
In several conversations we had during the visit to the Netherlands back in April 2017, it became clear to me, that mayor Leyes and his staff have a well-defined ambition and long term strategy to develop the city of Cochabamba in a sustainable way. There is an integrated strategy to promote economic growth, diversification, attract tourism and investments and improve the livability and sustainability of the city.
My colleague from the embassy in Lima, Giorgio Melis, already visited mayor Leyes in December 2017 to discuss the use of bicycles as a mode of transport. Cochabamba is located in a relatively flat valley and with a moderate climate is quite optimal for biking.
During our meeting we discussed about several aspects of sustainable growth and opportunities to cooperate in the field of transport, waste management and public lighting.
On a personal note
Being a Dutchmen, i grew up with biking to school from young age onwards. When we were walking around in the center of Cochabamba and the surrounding neighborhoods, I noticed that there are already good separate bicycle lanes in Cochabamba. The Netherlands has around 300 days of rain a year, in Cochabamba there are on average 60 days of rain a year. I am sure - I would prefer to bike in Cochabamba to my work. Lot's of scenic green views and flowers to be enjoyed on one's biking trip - we were impressed by the greenness of Cochabamba.
Some facts about Cochabamba
On 14th of September Cochabamba celebrates it's independence (as from 1810!)
Cochabamba metropolitan area constitutes of 7 municipalities
Cochabamba has a total population of around 1.5 million
Cochabamba municipality has slightly less than one million inhabitants
Cochabamba has joined the UNESCO Creative cities initiative as a city of gastronomy