Virtual Executive Bureau - 2020 Rome


The formal session of the UCLG Executive Bureau took place virtually on 28-29 May.

The Institutional Committees; the Financial Management Committee and the Committee on Statutory Affairs met on the 27th May. A Mininisterial Dialogue with Local and Regional Governments was organised on the 28th of May in the framework of the UCLG Executive Bureau, which aimed to assess how to integrate climate action into COVID19 response and recovery measures and prepare the way for COP26 for Local and Regional Governments. The formal session of the Executive Bureau was held on 29th of May. Members discussed the UCLG Consultation on the UN75 process as well as the UCLG strategy in the post-COVID era.

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Programme of the Virtual Executive Bureau:

 Day 1: Wednesday 27 May 2020 - Institutional Committees

 Day 2: Thursday 28 May 2020 - Ministerial dialogue with local and regional governments

 Day 3: Friday 29 May 2020 -  UCLG Executive Bureau


Day 1: Wednesday 27 May 2020 - Institutional Committees - Strengthening the Work of the World Organization 

The new situation has called us to intensify our interaction, and we have responded by having frequent contact and providing an important space for our members to exchange and learn. I hope to continue to learn from the UCLG Galaxy with all of you” Mohamed Boudra, President of UCLG

The first day of our first ever Virtual Executive Bureau, hosted by Rome, set the scene for the days to come through the celebration of our Institutional Committees: The Financial Management Committee, chaired by Berry Vrbanovic, Mayor of Kitchener and Madelaine Alfelor, Mayor of Iriga, the Treasurers of UCLG, evaluated the financial health of the organization and addressed the budget and the financial state of our organization moving forward.

I am excited to see such participation in virtual meetings, a testament to our commitment. I am sure we will remain as committed as ever even in difficult times”. Berry Vrbanovic, Mayor of Kitchener, UCLG Treasurery

“It is essential to keep close in these difficult times in order to recover, together, from this crisis”  Madeleine Alfelor, Mayor of Iriga, UCLG Treasurery

The Committee on Statutory Affairs, chaired by President Mohamed Boudra, Mayor of Al-Hoceima, and by Co-President Jan Van Zanen, Mayor of Utrecht addressed the renewal of the Policy Councils of the Organization and on mechanisms to ensure that UCLG remains meaningful and relevant in the covid era.

The work of our policymaking and consultation mechanisms has contributed significantly to the work of UCLG as a whole, allowing us to develop good practices and new narratives for our movement” Jan Van Zanen, Mayor of Utrecht, UCLG Co-President and President of the Association of Netherlands Municipalities

Tomorrow, our Executive Bureau kicks into gear by hosting the Ministerial Dialogue with Local and Regional Governments, a step forward in  strengthening multilevel dialogue, and reinforcing local and regional governments’ role in the climate agenda. Don’t miss it!

Day 2: Thursday 28 May 2020 - Ministerial dialogue with local and regional governments

In the framework of our Executive Bureau, UCLG held, together with UNEP, UN-Habitat, UNDP and the members of the Global Taskforce such as ICLEI, CLGF, and the Global Covenant of Mayors, a Ministerial Dialogue. The 5-hour event gathered over 200 participants and more than 50 panelists, with the participation of the heads of 3 United Nations agencies (UNEP, UN-Habitat and UNDP), Ministers from Italy, Indonesia, Ivory Coast, Ethiopia, South Africa, Chile,and over 25 Mayors and Governors from all world regions.

The meeting provided an unprecedented opportunity to open channels of communication and trust among spheres of government, boosting coordination efforts for a more effective implementation of the climate agreements, keeping in mind the need to raise the global ambition and accelerate action. 

For the transformation of our planet to take place, as local and regional governments and their associations, we need to play the catalyst role that we are best placed to play by being at the decision-making table. This high-level event is an opportunity to foster our coordination work and make the Paris Agreement happenJan Van Zanen, Copresident of UCLG, Mayor of Utrecht, President of the Association of Netherlands Municipalities

President of UCLG Mohamed Boudra commended the championing role of ICLEI and the Global Covenant of Mayors as pioneers in the local climate discussion, and highlighted how this work would allow for the Global Taskforce to be more recognised by the international community.  UCLG Co-President, and Mayor of Utrecht, Jan Van Zanen, made a plea for the local, regional and national spheres to work in collaboration, in order to fulfil our role as guardians of the universal development agendas.      

When we look back and the influence that cities have had since the Paris agreement, it is clear that the the issue has shifted from this being a completely national one to a local endeavour, with the reality that climate change happens at the local level.” Bill Peduto, Mayor of Pittsburgh, ICLEI Board member

Ministers and local and regional representatives made it clear that climate change continues to be a dramatic threat to sustainable development, already causing an unprecedented impact that disproportionately burden the poorest, marginalized and most vulnerable part of the population. The discussions made clear that it is “one decade” window of opportunity, especially in the context of the current universal crisis.

The Ministerial Dialogue confirmed the need to establish a consistent definition for and guidance around the possible contribution that regional and local governments can make towards the implementation of the Paris Climate Agreement.

 “ We must ensure that green urban growth happen, and that the future is greener, and cities will be crucial in determining how countries will recover from the pandemic.” Maimunah Mohd. Sharif, Undersecretary General of the UN, UN-Habitat Executive Director.

We have the commitment to delivering the sustainable development goals and the climate agreements, we need to create opportunities for local and regional governments to be involved, and deliver more sustainable NDCs,” Steven Heddle, Environment and Economy Spokesperson, COSLA

Local, regional and national representatives mentioned that the recovery will need to ensure that this does not deliver a backlash in environmental impacts and greenhouse gas emissions.  Instead, this must be seen as a unique opportunity to realize that a return to business as usual post-crisis would not only be a failure in the race against climate change but also for human health.

The solutions, impact and cause of climate change lies, in a large extent, in urban centers. We need to put courage and optimism together to take the right quality steps to address climate measures. “ Inger Andersen Executive Director of UNEP

“To those who want to distance us from each other for political reasons and divide us, the greatest antidote is in our cities and communities which are staying together and strong", Achim Steiner, UNDP Administrator

The #UCLGMeets Virtual Executive Bureau continues tomorrow, with the Business Session and the UN75 consultation. Don’t miss it!

 Day 3: Friday 29 May 2020 -  UCLG Executive Bureau

The sacrifices made by this generation and the next must be recognized and accompanied by measures to ensure a better future. We are convinced that the framework of the SDGs is still valid for transforming societies in a more sustainable way; and local and regional governments are ready to lead the debate on how to achieve this transformation.” Mohamed Boudra, UCLG President, Mayor of Al-Hoceima

We need to recover better, breathe new life into the SDGs and environmental protection, redouble our efforts to combat climate change, work on the next generation of multilateralism that fully recognizes the critical role cities and local communities play.Fabrizio Hochschild, United Nations Under Secretary-General and Special Advisor for the 75th Anniversary of the United Nations

The third day of our Executive Bureau was dedicated to showcasing the vision of local and regional governments towards multilateralism through the celebration of the Global Consultation Towards UN75, in which local and regional leaders from all over the world provided their visions, their hopes and their expectation for how the world will look like in 2045, and how multilateralism will have changed in order to meet this vision.

Over 50 participants from all regions of the world responded to the consultation which was structured along three guiding questions that directly addressed the immediate recovery from the pandemic, and aimed at providing mayors with instruments to imagine the trends in the next 25 years, and how the international system will have changed to, by 2045, include all stakeholders and ensure a true multilateral system.  The event was followed, as well, by almost 300 participants and streamed through the YouTube platform.

The President of UCLG Mohamed Boudra introduced the Consultation in an opening panel with  Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of the World Health Organization; Fabrizio Hochschild, United Nations Under Secretary-General and Special Advisor for the 75th Anniversary of the United Nations; Maimunah Mohd. Sharif, United Nations Under Secretary-General and UN-Habitat Executive Director; and Virginia Raggi, Mayor of Rome

We need to create deeper and more extensive bonds between people and also make use of technology without losing our identity. We have to support international cooperation based on solidarity and we recognized the UN role in promoting this”. Virginia Raggi, Mayor of Rome

 “The COVID-19 pandemic  has taught us that timely and comprehensive approaches make the difference. As mayors you are champions for green, healthy, prosperous urban societies of the future.” Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of the World Health Organization

I am convinced that in today's world, full of great challenges, we need the UN more than ever, we need it to be the common project of human rights defenders.” Ada Colau, Mayor of Barcelona, UCLG Special Envoy to the United Nations.

Participants rose to the challenge to responding to the Consultation by highlighting just how the next years will be critical to overcome the pandemic. With the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as a framework, equality will be us at the centre of policies, ensuring all people have access to basic services, that public service providers will be valued, and that the next generation of multilateralism will secure everyone has a voice at the decision-making table.

As we began this year we also launched the Decade of Action for the 2030 Agenda. It is clear that if we are to achieve the SDGs, cities will be at the forefront. UCLG has been a critical partner in identifying areas where we must invest time, energy, and vision in support of these shared goals Maimunah Mohd. Sharif, United Nations Under Secretary-General and UN-Habitat Executive Director

The Business Session of the Executive Bureau took place immediately after the consultation, opened by President Mohamed Boudra who praised the diversity, the creativity and the vision of the network and highlighted the incredible ability of the World Organization to adapt to the new reality while maintaining the priorities shared in Tangier.

The session was also chaired by Copresidents Thembisile Nkadimeng, Mayor of Polokwane, and Johnny Araya, Mayor of San José. Copreisident Nkadimeng highlighted how women in the entire world were suffering the pandemic more deeply than male counterparts, and commended the Live Learning Experiences, in particular the one on gender equality, as an opportunity to learn from each other.

Johnny Araya, Mayor of San José, commended the UCLG Decalogue for the Post-COVID Era, all the while arguing that the measures are not just intended to be implemented in a few months or years, but are necessary right now in order to ensure that rights are respected, and to maintain the link with the Sustainable Development Goals.