Brussels and Quito sign Memorandum of Understanding

Brussels Minister-President Rudi Vervoort and Secretary of State for International Relations Pascal Smet have signed a memorandum of understanding with their colleagues of the Ecuadorian city of Quito. In the coming two years, both cities will examine how they can cooperate in various fields. Themes such as heritage (the centre of Quito is a UNESCO World Heritage Site), urban development and, of course, chocolate are high on the list.

"I strongly believe that cities worldwide should work together to address metropolitan challenges. Together with our partner cities, we want to build the sustainable and inclusive city of tomorrow,” Rudi Vervoort.

"I strongly believe that cities worldwide should cooperate to address metropolitan challenges and seize opportunities. Brussels can learn a lot from other metropolitan cities, share its own knowledge and there are plenty of opportunities to work together. 
I am very positive about our contacts with Quito. For example, I can already identify many concrete opportunities related to three themes. The first one is heritage, the beautiful city centre of Quito being UNESCO World Heritage. Urban planning on a human scale is another one, since Quito is currently developing its first metro line and is focusing a lot on its public space. The third one is chocolate. Ecuador is an important chocolate producer, while we are the chocolate capital of the world,” says Pascal Smet


The Memorandum of Understandig was signed during a digital meeting. Rudi Vervoort and Pascal Smet signed the document in Brussels, in the presence of the Ecuadorian ambassador, while at the same time Jorge Yunda Machado, the mayor of Quito, did the same in the Ecuadorian capital, in the presence of the deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Arturo Cabrera Hidalgo. A livestream was available to follow the entire ceremony.

With this document, both cities have agreed to explore, over the next two years, the possibilities of long-term structural cooperation. This approach reflects the Brussels Region's international strategy of thoroughly analysing potential cooperation before making a long-term commitment.

During these two years, Brussels and Quito will examine which information can be exchanged, which joint initiatives can be set up and how cooperation can be developed on various specific themes.



Quito is the highest capital city in the world and is surrounded by no less than 14 volcanoes. It is home to one of the largest and best-preserved historical centres in Latin America and the entire city centre is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Brussels, for its part, is internationally renowned as the Art Nouveau capital of the world and for its impressive Grand Place. This “most beautiful square of the world” is also part of UNESCO's World Heritage List. So it will come as no surprise that both cities are very interested in working together on themes such as heritage and monument care.

Urban development and mobility are also a priority. In recent years, Brussels is evolving into a human scale city with a focus on high-quality public space and soft mobility. In 2017, Quito won the Momentum for Change Award from the United Nations for its efforts towards sustainable urban development.

In the trade category, chocolate immediately stands out. Equator is a major chocolate producer and Brussels, a major processor of the raw material, is known as the “chocolate capital”. Both cities can certainly seize interesting opportunities to intensify cooperation for the famous delicacy.

But also themes such as LGBTIQ+, public health, culture, environment, tourism, and scientific research will be examined with a view to intensifying cooperation between Brussels and Quito.

Contact us
Damiaan De Jonge Kabinet Pascal Smet
Zeynep Balci Kabinet Rudi Vervoort
Damiaan De Jonge Kabinet Pascal Smet
Zeynep Balci Kabinet Rudi Vervoort
About Pascal Smet

Brussels Government, Secretary of State for Urbanism and Heritage - European and International Relations - Foreign Trade - Fire fighting and Emmergency medical Assistance

Member of the Board of the Flemish Community Commission (VGC), responsible for Culture, Youth, Sport and Urban Policy

Pascal Smet
Koning Albert II laan 37 - 12de
1030 Brussel