“We are not talking about development and recovery, but about the future of our planet. Start building from the local level and put climate at the center.” With this statement, Maimunah Mohd Sharif, Executive Director of UN-Habitat, captured many of the sentiments echoed throughout the discussions held during the United Cities and Local Governments (UCLG) World Congress 2020. The Congress convened under the theme “The role of the International Municipal and Regional Movement in COVID times.” The Congress has been convened under the theme ““The role of the International Municipal and Regional Movement in COVID times.”
The High-Level Policy Dialogue on Ecological Transition in the context of post-COVID debated how global policy generation processes can adapt for the post-COVID era, including how to take the needs of the ecological transition into account. It also discussed local governments’ role in these processes, and possible synergies that could be achieved.
The policy debate on addressing inequalities in light of COVID-19 examined local governments’ role in creating equitable pathways for building back better post-COVID-19. Panelists lamented that COVID-19 had exacerbated existing inequalities, and said “radical change” will be needed to overcome these.
The UCLG Executive Bureau Business Session addressed the statutory and organizational issues that needed to be discussed during the World Congress. It featured three segments: Powering the Network; Looking Ahead: Tools to Contribute to Recovery; and Accelerating Priorities. Powering the Network heard reports back from the Committee on Statutory Affairs, the Financial Management Committee, and the Rome Executive Bureau. Participants noted that appointments to the policy councils must be mindful of the need for a balance between continuity and renewal, and the Financial Management Committee recommended establishing a solidarity fund.
Looking Ahead: Tools to Contribute to Recovery discussed proposals for activities and priorities for the future work of UCLG. The Secretariat presented on the Local4Action HUBs and the renewal process of the UCLG strategic priorities, saying that is apparent that local government is has an important role post-COVID. Accelerating Priorities discussed the work of UCLG, which participants praised.
The recommendations from the Executive Bureau Business Session will be forwarded to the World Council for adoption.
The UCLG World Council 2020 is taking place virtually, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, from 11-13 November 2020 and is being hosted by the city of Guangzhou, China.