EXCELLENCE IN QUALITY OF LIFE

Ecuador 2013 | DIPLOMACY | FOCUS: CUENCA

Improving the quality of life of our citizens is possible through the efforts, dedication, and determination of the Municipality of Cuenca by implementing programs and projects that show, day by day, that Buen Vivir, or Good Living, is possible.


It has been four years since Dr. Paúl Granda was elected Mayor of Cuenca. During this period, the challenges in working to overcome poverty, raise the quality of life, and boost the economic and social development of the inhabitants of Cuenca have been matched in perfection.

The main objective of Cuenca City Hall has been to perform its articulated and strategic role with equity, where the cultural identity has been recovered and flourishes in a healthy environment through an inclusive public policy agenda based on citizen input through its urban and rural leaders in a model of shared management and responsibility aiming at the best quality of life.

Focused on these principles, Mayor Paúl Granda has developed a model of public management, the main goal of which is to decrease the wealth gap between urban and rural areas.

Nowadays, as a result of the adopted public policies agenda, access to basic services and technologies has led to significant achievements:

• Cuenca was nominated by the WHO as a “Healthy City" due to its sanitary infrastructure.

• High levels of drinking water coverage (95%), as well as sewage system coverage (84%), achieved through an important rise in investment of $85 million over the last four years.

• The quality of drinking water index (ICAD) stands at 99.6%

• Unaccounted for water index (IANC) in Cuenca reaches a maximum of 29.8%, compared to a national rate of 65%.

• Garbage collection stands at 98%.

• Currently, there are 50,000 broadband connection users, which represents an increase of 1,400% compared to 2008.

• The first 10 Centros del Saber, or Knowledge Centers, have been built in the last four years and they have provided educational and cultural services to more than 100,000 children.

• Cuenca is the city with the lowest unemployment rate in Ecuador (3.42%), while the national rate is 5.42%.

• The city's rate of illiteracy is 6.7%.

• Recuperation of more than 155 public areas, including parks, green areas, and public heritage spaces.

CUENCA: A MODEL CITY

In order to turn Cuenca into a safe and organized city, the Integrated Transport System (SIT) seeks to improve the urban mobility and road infrastructure. As the backbone of the SIT, the tram system, Tranvía 5 Ríos, complemented with the construction of bridges and footbridges, as well as the resurfacing of sidewalks and roads, will improve mobility for the rural and urban Cuenca population.

THE TRAM SYSTEM: “TRANVÍA CUATRO RÍOS"

With an investment of $232 million, 78% of it financed through the national government, this mega project is the core of the SIT and will recover and improve public space, achieving a physical environment in an excellent state of conservation. It will transport 120,000 passengers per day through 27 stations along its 21-kilometer route. For the comfort of the city's population, there will be 14 trains travelling with a regular frequency of six minutes apart from each other. These characteristics will turn this project into one of the most innovative mobility initiatives of Latin America.

COMMUNITY HEALTH NETWORK

Cuenca City Hall has increased access to medicine through its public company FARMASOL EP, created in 2010. It provides an integral stock of lower-cost healthcare supplies (25%-30% lower than the commercial cost). Nowadays, Cuenca has a network of 23 community pharmacies receiving a monthly average of 114,000 people from urban and rural districts.

The Municipal Women and Children Hospital, the network of Medical Centers, and the mobile medical units that visit the rural districts of the country, receive an average of 330,000 people per month.

EMPLOYMENT PROMOTION INITIATIVES

Cuenca City Hall has developed several initiatives to promote employment opportunities. The most important is the Municipal Employment Program, which has 14,187 positions in different sectors.

In 2013, Cuenca inaugurated the Circo Social, or Social Circus, project, which benefits 140 children and teenagers that live in underpriviledged conditions.

Other projects focused on social inclusion comprise of the Centros Infantiles del Buen Vivir, or Children Centers for Good Living, Centros Municipales de Salud Infantil, or Municipal Child Development Centers, the Proyecto Vida, or Project Life, and CEMISOL, or the House of First Reception, which are reducing the number of homeless people on the streets and children at risk.