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UCLG Bulletin

Volume 231 Number 6 | Friday, 14 October 2016

2016 World Summit of Local and Regional Leaders Highlights

Thursday, 13 October 2016 | Bogotá, Colombia

Visit our IISD/ENB+ Meeting Coverage from Bogotá, Colombia at:

On Thursday, 2016 World Summit participants attended parallel workshops, policy dialogues and learning forums that introduced and discussed a range of tools, techniques and concepts intended to promote culture, urban transformation, decentralization and bottom-up national development.

An afternoon plenary addressed ‘Links between the 2030 Agenda and the New Urban Agenda,’ and was followed by a meeting of the UCLG Executive Bureau. Throughout the day attendees explored new topics through films at the cinema forums and 30-minute talks in the presentations corner.


Aromar Revi, Indian Institute for Human Settlements (IIHS), emphasized that no person or place can be left behind in implementing the SDGs. Angel Gurría, Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) Secretary General, said it is necessary to ensure the 21st century is one of greater wellbeing and people-centered prosperity.

Denis Coderre, Mayor of Montréal, Canada, UCLG North America President and Metropolis President, stated that Habitat III will only be a success if cities are included, recalling the think global, act local principle. Speaking on global governance, Manuela Carmena, Mayor of Madrid, Spain, and Union of Ibero-American Capital Cities (UCCI) Co-President, said cities are governed by both mayors and the rights established in societies, adding that a major challenge is to overcome social conflict and private interests.

Edgar Pieterse, Director, African Center for Cities, described emerging frameworks for the current cultural revolution, where everyone is an active participant, and full transparency and accountability are essential.

Thomas Gass, Assistant Secretary-General, UN Department of Social and Economic Affairs (UN-DESA), reviewed the participatory process that brought about the new social contract at the global level in the SDGs, underscoring that we must understand who are the most vulnerable and the risks they face in order to integrate resilience into strategic programming.

Mónica Fein, Mayor of Rosario, Argentina, said it is the job of mayors to ensure citizens are empowered to build their cities together and to achieve the 2030 and New Urban Agendas. She declared that cities should be central actors for a more “human economy,” which requires local and regional governments to act in partnership, including on shared finance.

Parks Tau, Councilor, Johannesburg, South Africa, emphasized the need to go beyond silos in implementing the SDGs, as a basic municipal intervention such as solid waste management can become a comprehensive intervention as it relates to: land use, energy, the environment, water and food security.

Panelists further discussed: building consensus on international agendas at the local level; the impact of decentralization on accountability; devolution of power and functions to local governments; and how to achieve all 169 targets of the SDGs. Panelists agreed that sustainability is a transversal agenda and the challenge for local authorities is to create new forms of government in which citizens are protagonists.


RIGHT TO THE CITY OF LEARNING: Bernardo Gutiérrez, Medialab-Prado Madrid, invited contributions to the open documents capturing the discussions of the permanent working platform to help define the concepts of a learning city.

Aurore Brachet, Seine Saint Denis, France, discussed social inclusion, pointing to the recent development of a center for educational resources on international solidarity. Nelson Saule, Instituto Pólis, shared a video used as a tool to help sensitize government and citizens to the challenges of discrimination and cultural diversity.

Through Google Hangouts, several activists from around the world brought their experiences to the table on, inter alia: organizing communities and collectives around creative commons; comparing gentrification strategies and impacts in different cities; developing open learning opportunities using the internet; and occupying schools to influence policy.

During ensuing discussions, Susana Villarán de la Puente, former Mayor of Lima, Peru, added perspectives from the “city for all,” sharing how cultural diversity and zoned parks have contributed to open classrooms, linking justice to education. Participants offered personal experiences, proposing free access to software, mechanisms for influencing social policy, and continued exchange to advance the collaboration.

RIGHT TO THE DEMOCRATIC CITY: Reminding participants of the Arab Spring and Occupy movements, Bernardo Gutiérrez, Medialab-Prado Madrid, noted that technological tools enabling participatory methodologies in cities would be the focus of the session.

Videos from organizers with the Sunflower Movement and Occupy Wall Street, explained how these movements have acted as laboratories to learn about and develop tools, such as livestreams, for building collective power.

Reviewing the collaborative document for this session, Gutiérrez highlighted its premise that participation, facilitated by technology, has become a necessity for radicalizing democracy in the context of a global political representation crisis.

Susana Villarán de la Puente, former Mayor of Lima, reminded participants that women have unequal access to technology in many places, undermining democracy. Fernando Pintado, Barcelona, Spain, cautioned not to confuse participation with democracy, noting the former is one component of the latter.

Hassan Hmani, Nanterre, France, presented the idea behind the model of a permanent platform used in his city to put citizens at the heart of co-creation of the city.

During discussions, participants considered: how land-use plans have not always accounted for future growth in cities or democratic values; the usefulness of institutional websites and whether these platforms’ “gatekeepers” suppress the feeling of open space; and how to link the narrative about lack of political representation with what is happening on the ground continuously, not just in election years.


LAYING THE PATH FOR INCLUSIVE CITIES – AFFORDABLE HOUSING, GENTRIFICATION, ACCESSIBILITY AND URBAN DEVELOPMENT: Josep Roig, UCLG Secretary General, highlighted the need for cities to create balance to reduce inequality, especially with respect to: land use, governance, investment and capital, the labor force, technology and the environment. 

Angel Gurría, Secretary General, OECD, said cities have a staggering amount of inequality and launched the report ‘Making Cities Work for All: Data and Actions for Inclusive Growth.’

Federico Gutiérrez, Mayor of Medellín, Colombia, emphasized the need to create quality education, integrate city transportation systems and guarantee urban security to reduce inequality. He said Medellín transformed from being the most violent city of the world to a peaceful one not through “magic” but through the peoples’ strong sense of belonging.

Manuela Carmena, Mayor of Madrid, Spain, argued it is necessary to know what is happening within neighborhoods and houses to end inequality, citing a programme to rehabilitate poor quality houses in disadvantaged neighborhoods. 

Denis Coderre, Mayor of Montréal, Canada, focused on living together in the city, especially regarding migration, ensuring migrants contribute to economic and social solutions. He noted the need to have a balance between openness and vigilance in cities to prevent crime, without over-policing.

TERRITORIAL GOVERNANCE FOR FOOD SECURITY: Benoît Faucheux, French Regions Association, said food security is part of our “collective responsibility” and noted that one major challenge is to feed a growing global population quantitatively and qualitatively.

Gabriella Jaramillo, Member Association of Autonomous Provincial Governments (CONGOPE), argued there is a need to create new strategies to drive the interaction between rural and urban areas to ensure food security, noting the importance to democratize land access and motivate youth to stay in rural areas.

Maria Alejandra Saleme Daza, International Cooperation Agency of Medellín, stressed that aid-oriented approaches to food security (i.e. provision of subsidies) are not sustainable. Marie-Eve Buist, University of Laval, argued that there is a legal gap at the international level that fails to account for food security, noting that an economic approach remains hegemonic.

Joaquim Oliveira Martins, OECD, called for a change in policy instruments from cash-transfer to more integrated investments, and noted that a multilateral focus for food safety neglects the local community. Rafael Zavala, Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN (FAO), highlighted the lack of solidarity between rural and urban areas, cautioning against the lack of engagement with local authorities.

Makiko Taguchi, FAO, stressed that environmental sustainability must be part of food security initiatives. Henri Rouillé d’Orfeuil, Project ‘100 Sustainable and Responsible Food Initiatives,’ highlighted the need to mobilize consumers as triggers for more sustainable production and consumption of food.

SDGs LOCALIZATION: Johannes Krassnitzer, UNDP, reflected that “no one understands the SDGs yet,” which could promote critical thinking and cooperation. Paula Lucci, Overseas Development Institute (ODI), questioned how to prioritize among targets and indicators, as well as with other international agreements and agendas. Mpho Moruakgomo, President, Botswana Association of Local Authorities (BALA), called for focused implementation and contextualizing international agendas locally.

Christine Musisi, UN-Habitat, explained that the New Urban Agenda will provide a mechanism, with specific drivers, to achieve the 2030 Agenda. Ute Böttcher, Development Partners Network on Decentralisation and Local Governance (DeLoG-GIZ), presented participatory planning processes to get the SDGs into local development plans.

Sylvie Goneau, FCM, shared experiences to engage citizens through a system of evaluations and a social media campaign, while Santiago Gallo, La Federación Latinoámericana de Ciudades, Municipios y Asociaciones Municipalistas (FLACMA), hghlighted a manual for mayors to help match SDGs with local indicators of development. Mohamed Saadieh, President, Union of Dannieh Municipalities, Lebanon, recounted the development, despite limited resources due to the Syrian refugee crisis, of a mobile application promoting transparency by sharing the government’s budget, income and spending.

Gemma Aguado de la Fuente, UNDP, shared the recently launched Toolbox for Localizing the SDGs, highlighting how to use the online platform to access concrete tools for implementation.


CULTURE AS A DIMENSION IN URBAN TRANSFORMATION: Eduardo Vázquez Martín, Mexico City, Mexico, said, via video message, that culture plays an essential role in the development of societies. María Claudia López, Bogotá, Colombia, emphasized how cultural values can help the victims of armed conflict feel a sense of belonging and community.

Won Hee-ryong, Governor of Jeju, Republic of Korea, outlined efforts to sustain their cultural heritage in a modern world, especially with their work to sustainably revitalize their old downtown.

Karim Hendili, UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), said cities are living heritage, and that culture should not be absent from development and urban planning. Sun Kanglin, Standing Committee of Beijing, China, highlighted culture as the “soul of the city” and outlined Beijing’s policies to promote culture in development.

Lucina Jiménez, Consejo para la Cultura y las Artes de Nuevo León (CONARTE), Mexico, said culture is often the last to be included in development programmes and the first to be cut if there are financial constraints. Guy Pilon, Mayor of Vaudreuil-Dorion, Canada, and Michel Vallée, Vaudreuil-Dorion, outlined examples of increased participation and inclusion through culture that earned their city the second edition of the International Award UCLG-City of Mexico-Culture 21.

DRIVE BOTTOM-UP NATIONAL DEVELOPMENT: Jean-Pierre Elong Mbassi, UCLG-Africa Secretary General, engaged panelists in discussions on collaborations among national and subnational governments to strengthen bottom-up, integrated approaches to development.

Hugo Siles, Bolivian Minister of Autonomy, outlined the shift from a centralized to decentralized government during the social and cultural revolution in Bolivia. Simón Gaviria, Colombian Director of National Planning, shared experiences using in-depth analysis to simplify decentralization.

Emil Elestianto Dardak, Regent Mayor of Trenggalek Regency, Indonesia, illustrated strategies to engage communities on the “front line” in order to harness synergies with national development agendas. Rose Christiane Ossouka Raponda, Mayor of Libreville, Gabon, discussed success in aligning local and national development plans, supported through a mandate from the Prime Minister.

Clark Somerville, Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM), shared progress in Canada to bring local representation into federal elections. Josep Lluïs Alay, Province of Barcelona, explored complexities of empowerment and governance, highlighting the Xarxa Plan. Rosario Bento Pais, European Commission, shared work being done to support decentralization in the EU based on territorial approaches to development.

In ensuing discussions, participants raised questions on, inter alia: developing plans that extend past the terms of government officials; overcoming political differences and biases in public policy planning; and controlling balance and neutrality in terms of access to natural resources.

TERRITORIES TO PROMOTE SUSTAINABLE LOCAL ECONOMIC AND ENVIRONMENTAL POLICIES: Tom Dallessio, Next City, framed the session saying territories need to define the intersection between the economy and sustainability in achieving the 2030 Agenda and the New Urban Agenda.

Despite challenges caused by international and national economic policies, Gerardo Pisarello Prados, Barcelona, said they have generated local policies creating both social and environmental benefits.

Dina Oyun, Mayor of Kyzyl, Russia, highlighted efforts to overcome geographic isolation and electricity shortages in the Tuva Republic and generate sustainable development by investing in tourism and becoming a transportation gateway between Europe and Asia.

Juan Mari Aburto, Mayor of Bilbao, Spain, outlined Bilbao’s transformation from a “dirty” industrial city to a green one, citing examples of cleaning up the city’s river, transferring industrial zones to gardens and focusing on cultural tourism.

Monika Zimmermann, ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability, said even if all cities in the world consume resources at the rate of current leaders in urban sustainability, planetary boundaries will be breached. She highlighted that “territorial approach” is a phrase often used, but not well understood and called for a new term to better illustrate the benefits of all levels of government working together.

With respect to reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, Ronan Dantec, Senator, Loire-Atlantique, France, challenged cities to ask whether their actions are really contributing to “saving the planet.” Ana Giros Calpe, Suez Environment, outlined examples of public-private partnerships and concluded that intelligent cooperation works and will continue to do so.


METROPOLITAN AND PERIPHERAL CITIES: Octavi de la Varga, World Association of the Major Metropolises, moderated the session, which had inputs from local authorities representing Jakarta, Berlin, Nanterre, Brazzaville, Surabaya and Tehran. Panelists focused on three sets of questions on governance, economic development and sustainability.

Aromar Revi, UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN), highlighted job creation, notably for youth, as one of the major challenges for large cities. He illustrated how cities can be at the same time a center for economic opportunities and places where risks are concentrated, such as with the occurrence of natural disasters.

Panelists highlighted financial constraints and multi-level governance tensions as common challenges. Globalization, they said, accelerates international competition and can disrupt social policies, exacerbating inequality. Revi recalled that cities’ climate footprints must be reduced and that a low-carbon plan should be adopted in all cities. Varga concluded the session by outlining some of the key recommendations of the GOLD IV report, which calls for: new modes of governance based on transparency and collaboration; greater strategic planning; infrastructure improvement; expansion of greener metropolitan areas; and the inclusion of the right to the city at the heart of cities’ development.


PRACTICAL SESSIONS – THE ART OF STRATEGIC FACILITATION: Sogen Moodley, Municipal Institute of Learning (MILE), eThekwini, South Africa, led this forum on how to facilitate learning sessions, noting that all good facilitations should have ground rules. Participants shared their expectations for the session, such as understanding how to deal with conflict and document the learning achieved.

Jeannette Vélez Ramírez, Global Actions and Solutions, stressed the need to clearly define the structure and scope of a session. Speaking about online facilitation over longer periods, Harold Jarche, Jarche Consulting, suggested the facilitator’s role is partially to encourage a willingness to try something new, noting no one’s learning is ever finished.

Kubeshni Govender, Black Earth Consulting, noted learning is ultimately a human experience and that, for it to be a lasting experience, it should be followed by action that embeds the learning.

On what makes a good facilitator, Moodley highlighted the importance of “content neutrality,” planning, maintaining trust and managing group dynamics. He compared the various roles that facilitators play to that of architects, pilots and guides. On whether facilitators are born or made, he suggested our natural facilitation abilities are trained out of us, leaving us with tendencies to: be overly cautious; use closed communication; and talk, tell and prove instead of listen, ask and help.

PRACTICAL SESSIONS – MOBILITY: Manfred Poppe, Connective Cities, explained that the goal of the event was to share lessons on urban mobility in the context of SDG 11 (Make cities inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable). The session was divided into four groups focusing on case studies on Buenos Aires, Barcelona, Bogotá, Seoul, Belo Horizonte, Seoul and Guatemala City. Participants discussed: challenges of mobility in the context of social inequality and urban sprawl; public-private partnerships on public transport; gender violence and urban mobility; and sustainability and inter-mobility.

Attendees advocated for better urban mobility, which implies physical and psychological safety for all citizens, independent of class, age, origin and sexual identity. They also highlighted that sustainable public transport improves public health and enhances women’s safety in cities, while boosting environmental protection.

To wrap up the session, rapporteurs presented key success factors and recommendations identified during the small group discussions, underscoring, inter alia, the need for: strong political support; increased underlying scientific data; enlarged networks of cities to promulgate good practices; improved fiscal incentives; enhanced civil society organization; better communication on the benefits of public transport for health and public security; and greater promotion of alternative modes of transport, such as bike lanes.

CONCEPTS AND TRENDS: Kubeshni Govender, Black Earth Consulting, said this session was about “praxis” – the intersection of practical application and theory.

Harold Jarche, Jarche Consulting, presented two models for learning, grounded in the process of seeking a network, making sense of knowledge through a community of practice, and sharing back through one’s network. To this end, Sara Hoeflich, UCLG, recounted changes UCLG made in their network, such as augmenting Twitter and other social network communities, creating policy communities and implementing peer-to-peer action learning.

Cézar Busatto, Porto Alegre, Brazil, said participatory democracy originated in the late 1980s in Porto Alegre, using networks. Cautioning against networks that eventually become excessively dependent on public funding, he described how Porto Alegre created the new concept of “local solidarity governance” in 2000, with the vision of having collective responsibility.

Erik Vergel, University of Rosario, presented maps that facilitate understanding of segregation dynamics in relation to urban problems and public space. He called for learning to manage a city, not just to plan one.

Josep Roig, UCLG Secretary General, suggested we risk not being able to run cities well if we do not adopt the tools younger people are creating and using for learning.