The Fifth UCLG Retreat and Campus helped lay the groundwork for the UCLG Congress and Summit, which will take place in Durban in November 2019. During the course of the Retreat, the themes and the structure of the Congress were touched upon by the participants and the Presidency of the World Organization.
The day kicked off with a stocktaking session boasting an all-female panel, with the aim to inspire the attendees of the Retreat, challenging them to rethink the world that we live in and how to address the challenges and opportunities of the future.
The session addressing the World Congress, the Feast of the Municipal Movement, began with president Parks Tau addressing how the World Summit of Local and Regional Leaders needed to marry the priorities of both the membership and partners of the World Organization while still being relevant to other stakeholders. If UCLG is to remain relevant for the coming decade, he reminded, the Congress needed to strike a balance between what matters to the world and what is relevant to the organization.
“We want a Congress that brings the voices of our cities to the world but also the voice of the world to our cities” Emilia Saiz, UCLG Secretary General.
The World Congress, key for the Strategy of the World Organization
The Presidency of the UCLG laid out its hopes towards building a Congress that leaves no-one and no place behind, a Congress that places value on peacebuilding and local democracy, and a Congress that focuses on dialogue among all stakeholders. President Parks Tau emphasized, in his opening remarks, how it was key for the World Organization to lead by example in the struggle to develop a governance model that takes into account all stakeholders and to not simply wait for other organisms to do so.
For this reason, he argued, the UCLG World Congress is set to provide a space for multi stakeholder engagement; a space for dialogue among all relevant parties that would allow for dialogue that can foster the transformation of the governance system.
Further, the World Congress would become the link between the strategy of the organization building up to the World Summit, and will be the event that will bring the World Organization into the next decade,
“Our 6th World Congress is the consolidation of our strategy, but also the beginning of a new era for our World Organization. Building the Congress needs to allow us to develop new ways of thinking, new formats of debate, to develop new solutions for our communities.” Parks Tau, President of UCLG.
Members of the UCLG Regions and constituencies who participated on the way to shape the upcoming Congress. Financing, gender equality, migration, as well as placing the focus on local democracy and intergenerational dialogues as keys for peacebuilding were highlighted by members of the Regional Sections as essential topics to be brought to Durban. Partners from the private sector, the UN SDG Action Campaign and ACCORD showed their excitement towards the Congress and the possibilities for exchanges, for partnerships and for generating knowledge that would come in Durban.
eThekwini-Durban, ready to host the World Congress
Representatives of the Municipality of eThekwini-Durban and from the South African Local Governments’ Association (SALGA) gave a presentation showcasing the host city of the World Congress, during the Retreat.
Throughout the presentation, dialogue and peacebuilding were highlighted as key values in the municipality, and shared the commitment of both the city and South Africa in carrying out the event, and argued for the need to carry out the Congress beyond the venue and ensure that the it is intertwined with the city.
- Read more details about the UCLG World Congress 2019 here.