The 2020 UCLG World Council, hosted by the city of Guangzhou and the Chinese Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries, addressed the priorities of Local and Regional Governments in the COVID era and the role that the World Organization would need to play in empowering the membership. It further commemorated the anniversary of the Durban Declaration and the election of the Presidency.
During the World Council, mayors and partners addressed some of the key policy issues for the future of humanity as we enter the Decade of Action in three High-Level debates. The Ecological Transition, Addressing Inequalities, and Leading the way to the Recovery are strategic areas that are reflected in both the work plan of our World Organization for the coming year as well as in the renewal of our strategic priorities; the development of our policy and research, and in learning tools. The debates held during the World Council will be a part of the red thread that will inspire our action, feed our work plan and ensure we remain relevant for the members and the communities that need us.
Throughout the three dialogues, participants addressed the need to transform the relationship between human beings and natural ecosystems; how to o ¡¡¡ensure that our patterns of consumption and production are in line with the wellbeing of our populations; the need to place public service delivery and the commons at the core of our efforts in the post-COVID era; and the importance of including local and regional governments in the conversations on the recovery to ensure that it is locally-driven and leaves no-one and no place behind.
It is in at this complex context, with a world that is resuming activity after a forceful stop at the beginning of the year, that local and regional government leaders, as well as partners, feel that we are at a foundational moment. The shared sense of purpose is inspiring our renewed strategic priorities, that are geared towards embracing Generation Equality, defining a new ecological reality, and working toward a new generation of rights and renewed inclusive multilateralism.
This is the reason behind the development of a far-reaching Pact for the Future, a pact that goes beyond mayors and towards human and planetary commitment. It will be powered by solidarity, equality, culture and accountable institutions that leave no-one and no place behind. The leadership of the municipal movement is convinced that the fruits of their discussions and shared experiences should feed into and shape global agendas, and this Pact is set to reflect the shared principles, values, and aspirations of our communities, and truly go beyond international agreements. The Pact will urge the international community to go further and will show the commitment and the capacity of all actors.
“Our renewed strategy, to be adopted in 2022, will build on the rich policy processes developed at the Durban World Congress and will certainly be marked by the lessons learnt and transformational aspirations triggered by the global pandemic, which are underpinned by the UCLG Decalogue.” Mohamed Boudra, Mayor of Al Hoceima, UCLG President.
This pact for the future will need to bring all stakeholders together, to bring about the necessary actions that will take us to ensure a future for the younger generations, reflecting on our shared commitments gearing towards the 100th anniversary of the United Nations, and truly build a world that leaves no one and no place behind. The Pact will be made up of three different elements around which the discussion was organized.
“UCLG Acting for people”, “UCLG Acting for planet”, and “UCLG Acting for government” were the three key elements of the Business Session of the World Council, mirroring the three components of the Pact for the Future, and were chaired by UCLG Copresident and Mayor of The Hague Jan Van Zanen, Copresident and mayor of San José Johnny Araya, and UCLG President and Mayor of Al Hoceima Dr. Mohamed Boudra.
Each of these segments included the views of mayors and political representatives members of the World Council, as well as partners from the civil society, Academia, and other stakeholders who aimed at bringing forward their views and their commitments towards the transformation of the planet and carrying out the Pact.
A total of 23 speakers took the stage at the business session. María Soledad Cisternas Reyes, UN Special Envoy on Disability and Accessibility; Sami Kanaan, Mayor of Geneva, Co-Chair of the UCLG Permanent Working Group on Territorial Prevention and Management of Crises; Salvatore Martello, Mayor of Lampedusa; José Ribeiro, Mayor of Valongo; André Viola, President of Aude County; Mustafa Tunç Soyer, Mayor of Izmir; Luca Bergamo, Vice-Mayor of Rome; and Dr. Gholamhossein Mohammadi, Advisor to Mayor of Tehran and president of Communications and International Affairs Center addressed the importance of a people-driven recovery at the UCLG Acting for Planet Segment.
Throughout the debate, participants argued for the need to redesign the multilateral system to include communities, re-evaluating the relationships with the United Nations and the role of local governments in international policy processes, and delivering a people-centred recovery to the pandemic through mainstreaming culture as the fourth pillar of sustainable development.
“Our city has taken immediate actions in response to the crisis: economic recovery and public services are at the core, as is the fight against global warming, the fight against inequality and inclusive recovery. In response to common global challenges, local and regional governance is providing a response everywhere” Arnaud Ngatcha, Deputy Mayor of Paris
“The contributions made today epitomize the relationship between our World Organization and the People, and how we are set to act to ensure a better future for all.” Jan Van Zanen, Mayor of The Hague, Copresident of UCLG
Pablo Jurado, President of the Consortium of Provincial Autonomous Governments from Ecuador (CONGOPE), Vice-President of UCLG for the Forum of Regions; Miguel Lunghi, Mayor of Tandil; Mohamed Sefiani, Mayor of Chefchaouen, Chair of the UCLG Forum on Intermediary Cities; Laia Bonet, Deputy Mayor of Barcelona; and Emilio Jatón, Mayor of Santa Fe, addressed the need for a true ecological transition, driven by communities, and a more positive relationship with nature at the UCLG Acting for Planet segment.
“Our approach to the climate emergency and the transformation towards sustainability must be political and involve a major change of mentality about our relationship with nature. Biodiversity, ecosystems and production and consumption patterns need to be transformed.” Johnny Araya, Mayor of San José, Copresident of UCLG
Ilsur Metshin, Mayor of Kazan, Chair of the United Nations Advisory Committee for Local Authorities (UNACLA); Philip Rode, Head of the London School of Economics Cities; Carlos Martínez, Mayor of Soria, Envoy of the UCLG Presidency on the New Urban Agenda; Nuria Marín, Mayor of L’Hospitalet de Llobregat, President of Barcelona Provincial Council; Souad Ben Abderrahime, Mayor of Tunis; José Alfonso Suárez del Real, Secretary of Government of Mexico City; Fatimetou Abdel Malick, President of Nouakchott Regional Council; Paola Pabón, Governor of Pichincha; Linda Voortman, Co-Mayor of Utrecht; and Carola Gunnarsson, Mayor of Sala, Vice-President of the Swedish Association of Local Authorities and Regions (SALAR), Vice-President of UCLG for Europe addressed the need for a renewal of local democracy and strengthening the link between institutions and communities at the final segment, UCLG Acting for Government.
“We need to establish dialogues with national government, bring the voices from local and regional governments to the decision-making tables. UNACLA has an important role to play in promoting the idea that the New Urban Agenda is the first step towards localization. It will guide us to achieve the SDGs and Paris agreement.” Ilsur Metshin, Mayor of Kazan, Chair of UNACLA
“In this crisis, there is one thing that has become very clear: regulation just by the market is impossible. We must think about the governance model: we need doors to be opened to us, we need a seat at the decision-making table to ensure the provision of public services.” Carlos Martínez, Mayor of Soria, Envoy of the UCLG Presidency for the Urban Agenda.
President Mohamed Boudra closed the session addressing the importance of the Pact for the Future as the main axis of the world organization to tackle the inequalities that have been exacerbated during the pandemic and ensuring that it is remains an important tool for our membership.
“Our objective is clear: that our strategic priorities and action remain relevant in the short, medium and long term, and that the tools we develop serve our communities and thus continue to ensure our Organization remains as relevant as possible to the demands of our members and communities.” Mohamed Boudra, Mayor of Al-Hoceima, UCLG President
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