Local and Regional Governments believe this decalogue will transform the world
The COVID-19 pandemic is working as magnifying glass that highlights the aspects in which we were already behind,
at a global scale. In a context of unprecedented and universal challenges we, the local and regional governments around the world, are at the forefront of the efforts to overcome these proving times as allies of other spheres of government, of the scientific community, and as global actors with important transformational and convening power.
We know our cities and territories will never be the same
The Decalogue for the COVID-19 era is our political charter for the aftermath.
It is the document that will guide our international advocacy, and shape our thinking for the future of humanity, focusing on the commitment of local and regional governments to build a world of solidarity.
This document aims to transform how the governance system interacts with communities by protecting those that need it the most,
transforming the multilateral system, and ensuring that the sacrifices that we are undertaking do not become a burden for the communities of the future. We are convinced that the new normality needs to have vulnerable populations in mind, it needs to reassess how we interact with technology and protect our rights, and it needs to tackle inequalities, protecting the common goods and basic needs from speculation through a rights-based approach.
Solidarity has become a beacon of security in this crisis, and it needs to guide transformation in the aftermath.
We will need a renewed multilateral system, with inclusivity to ensure that the wants and needs of citizens are present within all governance mechanisms
Local and regional governments, through a strong local democracy, will be the guardians of this international solidarity.
The Decalogue has been inspired from the lessons learnt from our membership during exchanges held in the first 3 weeks of the outbreak. It is still in consultations within our membership, to ensure that this process also feeds into our inputs on the UN75 Dialogue, and our advocacy for the future.
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Our collaboration with UN75 is now more relevant than ever, with the recommendations of the decalogue being an integral part of how local and regional leaders envision the future and thus contribute to the UN75 dialogue. A renewed multilateralism, a world that guarantees public service provision, that fosters proximity models of consumption and production, and an interurban system that builds on the force of cities and regions will be key to develop the next generation of multilateralism that our communities are calling for. Our Decalogue will further serve as reference for the consultations on UN75.
1. Guaranteeing Public Services
Development of strong systems of universal health care, supported by strong basic service provision.
Protection of local service provision systems that shall continue to run, even in critical conjunctures.
Public transportation, all over the world, ensures key workers are able to go to their working spaces, and is essential to guarantee the basic needs of the population. It is critical to ensure that it is well resourced in light of the times to come.
Ensuring the right to adequate housing for all, and inclusive housing systems are key for disaster preparedness and beyond. If we are able to guarantee the right to housing to people in the midst of the pandemic, we cannot afford to go back to business-as-usual after the crisis.
The aftermath, the new normal, needs to tackle inequalities, by protecting common goods and basic needs such as housing, water, and energy, and ensuring that they are free of speculation so all citizens can have equal access to them.
Ensuring access to internet for all as a basic service, as a tool to access not only information, but other essential services such as education, in order to leave no one
2. Financial Support Packages
hat allow local and regional governments to continue to work at the frontline for the communities during the crisis and in the post-COVID-19 recovery phase.
Developing stimulus measures at national level that will ensure the consistency and sustainability of essential services as the income of local and regional government decreases.
An International Municipal/Territorial Relieve Fund can unlock access to funds for both emergency and reconstruction.
3. Proximity models of global consumption and production
Proximity production models will need to be fostered, and should consider the informal sector, small and micro enterprises and start-ups, allowing us to harness inclusive innovation.
The pandemic has shed a light on the consumption model of many cities with an over-reliance on tourism and unsustainable delocalized systems of production, and it will be essential to rebalance the relationship between economic growth, environment and public priorities.
Re-evaluate the relationship between technology, inclusiveness and economic growth, developing alternative technology that is accessible to all. Technology and digital rights can and must go hand in hand.
A territorial approach to food systems should guarantee not only security but also greater sustainability models in which many small producers, and small processors respectful of the environment, would restore life to our territories and encourage job creation and local development.
4. A worldwide green deal
It is essential to ensure that the measures that need to be taken to address climate change carry on in the post COVID-19 world. We need to ensure that measures to reinvigorate the economy do not undermine legitimate environmental concerns. The response to COVID-19 needs to include a worldwide green deal that makes our communities more resilient to future outbreaks, and this means returning to full economic activity through sustainable models. Fostering telework at a larger scale can enable us to cut down on emissions, contribute to more sustainable mobility models, and reconcile work and personal life.
5. New citizenship and freedoms for renewed democracy
There is no false dichotomy between security and health, or privacy and civil liberties. Human and civil rights need to continue being the cornerstones of our societies worldwide. Strong local democracy can be the custodian of those values.
It is imperative to ensure that security and surveillance are carried out in a rights-preserving manner, shaped by our communities, and put to the service of democratic societies. It is technologically possible and it should be our framework once the crisis is over.
It is essential to ensure that the recovery is done with the more vulnerable populations in mind, and not against them, by tackling false narratives and guaranteeing a rights-based approach to the aftermath of the pandemic.
6. Generation Equality
The time has come to place an equality framework in urban planning, in legislation and development. Time has come to ensure full inclusion, full participation of women and girls in politics and the social fabric of cities and regions.
Nearly one in five women worldwide has experienced violence in the past year. The pandemic has exacerbated this reality for many women, and it is critical to put in place gender-violence responses to protect women worldwide and ensure their access to basic services
Social safety nets must be expanded to ensure special protection to particular groups with special needs like boys and girls, the elderly and people with disabilities.
7. Territories that care for their public providers
The crisis has highlighted the importance of protecting public servants. It is up to local and regional governments to take care of those who work day-to-day to provide basic services to our communities, to value their contributions to society, to ensure decent work and to foster a model of production that is people-centred and that puts service provision, and providers, at the forefront.
It is further imperative to acknowledge the jobs, mostly done by women in the care sector, often underpaid or even unpaid. Their care is not only an indispensable safety net but also a critical contribution to our economies.
8. Culture as an antidote for the secondary effects
The cultural actors and sectors haves responded and offered critical inspiring contents
that are helping us through the crisis. People have turned to culture to create meaning, to
show solidarity and to boost general morale. There cannot be a better illustration of why
culture needs to consolidate as the fourth pillar of sustainable development. In the aftermath, it is essential to carry out a conversation on how communities interact with, and access, culture.
The full cultural sector will need special attention as its financial sustainability is in jeopardy.
Addressing inequalities with be more important than ever, by developing programmes on heritage, creativity and diversity, available to all (that is, implementing cultural rights at a local level) as will nourishing the broad conversations on the values that bring humanity together
9. An interurban system
An international system built on the force of cities, local and regional governments that learn and define policies together supported by strong associations that will allow scaling up of actions. This system will put sharing and local democracy at the core, defining solidarity and resource capacity as the backbone of humanity.
10. Next Generation Multilateralism
A global plan is needed. International measures that are vast, inclusive, and effective to reach all territories can only be achieved by solid international and regional governance, and will require systems to be strengthened in order to face the challenges to come.
In view of future pandemics, we need a strong World Health Organization with a multistakeholder governance structure with the capacity to facilitate procurement of medical supplies, testing kits, and Personal Protective Equipment.
Subsidiarity is necessary for the success of actions at all levels. Dialogue amongst all spheres of government and an effective decentralization must be carried out to ensure that the wants and needs of citizens are present within all governance mechanisms and that they reflect reality on the ground.
Bringing all stakeholders together is essential to carry out a holistic approach to the emergencies that we are facing, and will face, and said approaches must not adversely affect individual and collective rights, the backbones of democracies.
More than ever, international cooperation is proving to be essential to respond to the current pandemic, but will prove to be even more essential in the aftermath. It will be critical to guarantee exchanges of knowledge and experiences, through decentralized cooperation to build back better, stronger, and more inclusive after the pandemic. Local and regional governments must be the guardians of this international solidarity.