The final day of the UCLG World Council, held on the one-year anniversary of the UCLG World Congress 2019, focused on the COVID-19 recovery and the path forward in a post-COVID era. José Ribeiro, Mayor of Valongo, Portugal, stated “Hope is the strongest vaccine against fear,” which echoed the outlook of many participants as they discussed the important role local government will play in the transition to a just, equitable, resilient, sustainable post-COVID era.
The Policy Debate on Leading the Way to Recovery: Toward a New Pact for the Future discussed what recovery from COVID-19 means for cities and local governments, addressed what a post-COVID-19 recovery will look like and articulated what the key priorities are. Antonio Guterres, UN Secretary-General, in a video message, called for putting local cities and government at the center of a sustainable, inclusive, resilient world for all. Panelists highlighted access to services to build resilient societies, collaboration among all spheres of government, and the role of environmental degradation on societal health.
The Business Session of the UCLG World Council featured five segments: Welcome; Powering the Organization; UCLG Acting for the People; UCLG Acting for the Planet; and UCLG Acting for the Government. During the Welcome, participants addressed the steps that the UCLG World Congress 2019 had taken to strengthen UCLG and heard the report of the Presidency for 2020, which underscored UCLG’s role in, among others, advocating for local government on the global stage.
The Powering the Organization segment heard: updates on UCLG Consultation Mechanisms’ work plans; the 2021 Work Plan; composition and agenda of the UCLG Policy Councils for 2021; and the report of the Financial Management Committee.
The UCLG Acting for the People segment featured input from the Policy Councils, and discussed the 2020 Rome Charter on cultural rights and the #CitiesAreListening Experience: Towards a Global Pact, which provided a space for open dialogue on the transformative actions needed to “leave no one and no place behind.”
The UCLG Acting for the Planet segment deliberated on how to foster urban resilience, cities’ role in addressing global environmental challenges, and the opportunity COVID-19 has offered for local governments to improve the well-being of their citizens.
The segment on UCLG Acting for the Government segment reflected on the role of local government post-COVID, promoting a global dialogue that includes local voices, and local governments’ fundamental role in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals.
The UCLG World Council 2020, held virtually due to the COVID-19 pandemic, took place from 11-13 November 2020 and was hosted by the city of Guangzhou, China.
IISD, through its Earth Negotiations Bulletin (ENB) Meeting Coverage, will provide a summary report of the UCLG Executive Bureau and UCLG World Council on Sunday, November 15, 2020.