UCLG Policy Councils Meeting 2021

Summary highlights 18–20 May 2021


Executive Summary

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Key Highlights

  • The 2021 United Cities and Local Governments (UCLG) Executive Bureau Meetings focused on putting care at the center of local service provision for an inclusive COVID-19 recovery.
  • The meeting made progress on the proposed Lampedusa Charter, which aims to shift the narrative on migration to a human rights-based approach to mobility and acknowledges the power of care and value of communities. 
  • UCLG officially joined the UHC2030 Initiative to achieve universal healthcare, strengthening the relationship between the municipal and healthcare movements.

UCLG is the global platform that represents and defends the interests of local governments before the international community and works to give cities more political influence on global governance. The UCLG Executive Bureau is responsible for initiating proposals and carrying out the decisions of the UCLG World Council. Composed of 115 members, it meets twice a year.

Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the UCLG Executive Bureau met from 18-20 May and focused on the theme, “Care at the heart of the local service provision for an inclusive recovery.” The meeting brought together 300 mayors and councillors. Despite convening virtually, it managed to harness the energy, feel, and optimism of an in-person event. The sessions were responsively moderated with adequate time built in for ad hoc interventions from participants.

Key takeaways

The meeting continued consultation on the draft Lampedusa Charter. The Lampedusa Charter was born out of the 2014 tragedy where 300 migrants travelling from Libya to Italy died off Lampedusa’s coast after the boat they were on caught fire and sank in the Mediterranean Sea. The Charter sets out a human rights-based approach to human mobility. It is people-centric, acknowledging both the power of care, and the value of communities and diversity. The Charter represents a global call by UCLG to shift the narrative and governance of migration in compliance with the Global Compacts on migration and refugees and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

UCLG will now continue consultation on the Lampedusa Charter at the regional level. It aims to adopt the Charter at the November 2021 UCLG World Council and launch it on World Migrants Day, 18 December 2021.

UCLG officially joined the UHC2030 universal healthcare initiative. This move serves to strengthen the relationship between the municipal and healthcare movements. It will increase the engagement of local and municipal governments in the global effort to ensure health systems protect everyone. Meeting participants applauded the announcement, and highlighted community care and health as central to the work of local and regional authorities.

During a high-level policy dialogue, participants shared experiences of accelerated digitalization of local and regional government services in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. As several participants highlighted the benefits of accelerated digitalization, many stressed the need to leave no one and no place behind as digitalization progresses. Participants shared examples, including increasing internet coverage within underserved communities and neighbourhoods, and working with older people to build digital capacity and ensure inclusiveness.

Participants also shared efforts local and regional governments have undertaken to protect communities during the COVID-19 pandemic, and considered methods to involve community members in decisions that will keep them safe, healthy, and engaged in their cities.