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2nd World Assembly of Local and
Regional Governments Bulletin

Volume 231 Number 9 | Wednesday, 19 October 2016

Summary of the 2nd World Assembly of Local and Regional Governments

16 October 2016 | Quito, Ecuador

Visit our IISD/ENB+ Meeting Coverage from Quito, Ecuador at:

The Second World Assembly of Local and Regional Governments is the mechanism through which the local and regional government constituency has provided formal input to the New Urban Agenda (NUA) to be adopted at Habitat III, taking place in Quito, Ecuador, from 17-20 October 2016. The Second Assembly builds on the legacy of the First World Assembly of Cities and Local Authorities, held immediately prior to the Second UN Conference on Human Settlements (Habitat II) in Istanbul, Turkey, in 1996. The NUA will make recommendations to guide urban development policy across the world in the next two decades.

Convened by the Global Taskforce of Local and Regional Governments (GTF), a coordination mechanism set up in 2013 at the initiative of the former United Cities and Local Governments (UCLG) President and Mayor of Istanbul Kadir Topbaş, the Second World Assembly of Local and Regional Governments is a three-part process that was held over the course of 2016. Its first session convened prior to the Third UN Conference on Housing and Sustainable Urban Development (Habitat III) Informal Hearings with Local Authorities Associations in New York, US, on 15 May 2016. The second session took place during the Fifth UCLG World Congress, and World Summit of Local and Regional Leaders in Bogotá, Colombia, on 14 October 2016. The third and final session was held in Quito, Ecuador, on 16 October 2016, just prior to Habitat III.

The third session of the Second World Assembly of Local and Regional Governments brought together over 385 local and regional leaders, representing different global networks of local and regional governments, joined by representatives of local government organizations and partners, who gathered in Quito to: deliver the Second World Assembly’s statement to Habitat III, adopted by the second session of the Assembly in Bogotá on 14 October 2016; and commit to contributing to the achievement of the NUA. The meeting included local and regional leaders’ responses to the NUA, as well as their expressions of commitment going forward.


With six out of every ten people in the world expected to reside in urban areas by 2030, UN-Habitat notes that cities face unprecedented demographic, environmental, economic, social and spatial challenges. According to UN-Habitat, more than 90% of this growth will take place in Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean. Hence, urban areas are central to sustainable development efforts. Habitat III builds on the work from the First UN Conference on Human Settlements (Habitat I) and Habitat II, as well as on recently agreed global frameworks, including: the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development; the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) 2015-2030; the Paris Agreement on climate change; and the Addis Ababa Action Agenda (AAAA).

HABITAT I: The First Habitat conference took place in Vancouver, Canada, from 31 May to 11 June 1976. The Vancouver Declaration on Human Settlements adopted by the conference officially established the UN Centre for Human Settlements to promote socially and environmentally sustainable towns and cities with the goal of providing adequate shelter for all. In 1978, the UN Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat) was established as an official UN agency.

FIRST WORLD ASSEMBLY OF CITIES AND LOCAL AUTHORITIES: The First World Assembly of Cities and Local Authorities met in Istanbul, Turkey, from 30-31 May 1996, ahead of Habitat II. The final declaration on Habitat II issued by the World Assembly represented the constituency’s official contribution to the Conference.

HABITAT II: Habitat II convened in Istanbul, Turkey, from 3-14 June 1996, on the 20th anniversary of Habitat I. The Habitat Agenda and the Istanbul Declaration on Human Settlements adopted by the Conference outline more than 100 commitments and strategies to address shelter and sustainable human settlements. With the adoption of the Habitat Agenda, the international community set itself the twin goals of achieving adequate shelter for all and ensuring the development of sustainable human settlements. The Istanbul Declaration recognizes local authorities as the “closest partners” of UN-Habitat and as “essential” in the implementation of the Habitat Agenda. Article 102 of the Habitat Agenda acknowledges that municipal governments “can be an effective partner in making human settlements viable, equitable and sustainable,” given that their level of administration is “closest to the people.”

GTF: Set up in 2013 at the initiative of then UCLG President and Mayor of Istanbul Kadir Topbaş, the GTF is a mechanism for coordinating advocacy efforts of the major international networks of local governments in international climate change, and sustainable and urban development policy processes. The GTF has organized the Second World Assembly of Local and Regional Governments as a three-part process to provide formal input to Habitat III.

FfD3: Taking place in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, from 13-16 July 2015, the Third International Conference on Financing for Development (FfD3) adopted the AAAA, which includes a global framework for financing development post-2015, along with action areas, and data, monitoring and follow-up. The AAAA includes a focus on cities and commits to support resilient and environmentally-sound infrastructure in developing countries.

UN SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT SUMMIT: The UN Sustainable Development Summit took place at UN Headquarters in New York, US, from 25-27 September 2015. The Summit adopted the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, which includes 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and 169 associated targets. SDG 11 addresses urban areas, aiming to “make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable.” It includes seven related targets addressing, inter alia, housing, transport, urbanization and waste management, as well as three targets on means of implementation.

PARIS CLIMATE CHANGE CONFERENCE: The UN Climate Change Conference convened in Paris, France, in November - December 2015 and culminated in the Paris Agreement. The Agreement sets the goals of: keeping global average temperature rise to well below 2°C above preindustrial levels and pursuing efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5°C above preindustrial levels; and enhancing global adaptive capacity, strengthening resilience and reducing vulnerability to climate change. The Paris Agreement will enter into force on 4 November 2016. In the lead-up to Paris, local and regional governments showcased the way in which they are leading from the bottom-up to address climate change by increasing pre-2020 ambition.

5TH UCLG WORLD CONGRESS, AND WORLD SUMMIT OF LOCAL AND REGIONAL LEADERS: The 2016 World Summit of Local and Regional Leaders convened from 12-15 October 2016 in Bogotá, Colombia, under the theme ‘Local Voices for a Better World.’ On 15 October, the UCLG World Congress elected the new UCLG President for 2016-2019, Mpho Parks Tau, Councilor of Johannesburg, South Africa, and President, South African Local Government Association. The World Congress also adopted the Summit’s outcome document, ‘The Bogotá Commitment and Action Agenda.’

2ND WORLD ASSEMBLY OF LOCAL AND REGIONAL GOVERNMENTS: First session: The first session of the Second World Assembly was held in New York, US, on 15 May 2016, immediately prior to the Habitat III Informal Hearings with Local Authorities Associations, during which representatives of local and regional governments exchanged views with member states and observers on the zero draft of the Habitat III outcome document.

Second session: The second session of the Second World Assembly convened in Bogotá, Colombia, on 14 October 2016, during the 5th UCLG World Congress and the World Summit of Local and Regional Leaders. Locally elected leaders adopted a joint statement containing the Second World Assembly’s inputs to the Habitat III Conference.



Master of ceremonies Damian Cardona opened the session, emphasizing the importance of local and regional leaders implementing the New Urban Agenda (NUA).

Mauricio Rodas, Mayor of Quito, Ecuador, outlined the process that led to Habitat III, including the adoption of the Bogotá Commitment and Action Agenda at the World Summit of Local and Regional Leaders held in Bogotá, Colombia, from 12-15 October 2016, and encouraged local and regional governments to unite their voices.

Reflecting on the 20 years that have passed since Habitat II held in Istanbul, Turkey, María de los Ángeles Duarte, Minister of Urban Development and Housing, Ecuador, urged for greater participation of local and regional governments to address challenges that often manifest in cities, including social conflicts and inequalities. 

Joan Clos, Secretary General of Habitat III and UN-Habitat Executive Director, commended the evolution of United Cities and Local Governments (UCLG) and stressed the importance of the Second World Assembly in uniting global mayors. He identified the problems of cities as “the problems of humanity,” underscoring the need for further dialogue between local and national governments, and offered support to strengthen this dialogue.

Commending the adoption of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, Peter Thomson, President of the UN General Assembly, stressed the need for meaningful implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). He urged local and regional authorities to inform their citizens, schools and the private sector of their importance and engage them in the implementation of the SDGs.

Lauding the adoption of the Paris Agreement on climate change and the SDGs, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon highlighted the efforts of mayors, governors and councilors on the “forefront for the quest for sustainable development” in implementing the NUA. He urged local and regional leaders to take ownership of the NUA in order to create towns and cities for a sustainable future. The full text of Ban Ki-moon’s speech is available here:


Emphasizing progress since the First World Assembly of Cities and Local Authorities, Kadir Topbaş, Mayor of Istanbul, Turkey, highlighted the inclusion of a reference to the Second World Assembly in paragraph 8 of the agreed draft NUA as a “great step forward” that will enable continued partnerships among local governments, national governments and the UN.

Ada Colau Ballano, Mayor of Barcelona, Spain, highlighted the importance of national governments relying on cities in implementing the NUA and welcomed the inclusion in the NUA of the right to the city, urging its full recognition.

Khalifa Sall, Mayor of Dakar, Senegal, said the right to the city needs to be translated to provision of appropriate financial resources for local governments.

Denis Coderre, Mayor of Montreal, Canada, urged cities to be a strong partner in achieving sustainable development.

Kinlay Dorjee, Mayor of Thimphu, Bhutan, called for direct partnerships among civil society and governments at all levels.

Noting that gender equality is the foundation of sustainable development, Tri Rismaharini, Mayor of Surabaya, Indonesia, celebrated the commitment of UN Member States reflected in the NUA to take measures to promote women’s full and effective participation and equal rights in all fields and in leadership at all levels of decision making, including in local governments.

Gustavo Baroja, Prefect of Pichincha, Ecuador, called for building strategies for the development and conservation of habitat around cities as the city and the countryside are interdependent. He stressed the need to strengthen intermediary governments to garner regional policies. 

Mohammad Baqer Qalibaf, Deputy Mayor of Tehran, Iran, emphasized that cities should be constructed for citizens to help forge a better future for all human beings.

Miguel Ángel Mancera, Mayor of Mexico City, Mexico, identified the need to provide direct financial support to cities that need additional help.

Eugénie Birch, General Assembly of Partners (GAP) of the World Urban Campaign, expressed the GAP’s commitment to developing and strengthening collaboration among its constituent groups, including local and subnational authorities, civil society, academia, grassroots organizations, women and youth.

Corina Crețu, European Commissioner for Regional Policy, outlined the Urban Agenda for the EU, including its focus on integrated approaches, close partnership and collaboration with stakeholders, and concentration on a limited set of priorities, noting its contribution to SDGs 11 (make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable), 1 (end poverty in all its forms everywhere), 7 (ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all) and 8 (promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all).


 Manuela Carmena, Mayor of Madrid, Spain, emphasized the need to address corruption and violence, calling corruption “a poison that can destroy the trust of a city’s citizens.”

Dina Oyun, Mayor of Kyzyl, Russian Federation, encouraged cities to preserve their diversity.

Michael Müller, Mayor of Berlin, Germany, called for cities to adopt measures to integrate new migrants to enable them to become full members of society.

Calling the city the closest governing level to the real needs of citizens, Horacio Rodríguez Larreta, Mayor of Buenos Aires, Argentina, suggested that 25% of international aid be allocated to cities. He highlighted a law in Buenos Aires to support gender equity in local decision making, according to which 50% of elected officials must be women.

Kumar Rai Bipin, Member of the Urban Shelter Improvement Board, City of Delhi, India, highlighted several measures to support social development in his city, including: the use of participatory budgeting; access to health care and education; and the raising of the minimum wage.

Recognizing the connection between economic challenges, inequality and conflict, Patrick Braouezec, President of Plaine Commune, France, called for reinvesting in the local economy.

Je-won Lee, Vice Mayor of Seoul, Republic of Korea, stressed the importance of master planning to support more inclusive societies. He highlighted the creation of an urban SDG knowledge platform.

Mick Cornett, Mayor of Oklahoma City, US, invited the mayors present at the Assembly to raise their collective voices to speak with dignity and integrity for the citizens they represent.

Daniel Martínez, Mayor of Montevideo, Uruguay, urged for better equity in cities and societies, calling for a more just distribution of wealth.

Emil Elestianto Dardak, Regent of Trenggalek Regency, Indonesia, stated that welfare, prosperity and environmental protection can coexist. He called for moving away from unsustainable consumption and production, calling for cities to live in harmony with nature.

Mónica Fein, Mayor of Rosario, Argentina, stressed the need to empower citizens to reach higher levels of economic and cultural participation so that, together with local authorities, they could co-manage cities.

Noting that political conflicts jeopardize sustainable cities, Vera Baboun, Mayor of Bethlehem, Palestine, linked the Right to the City to the right to life.

Andreas Wolter, Mayor of Cologne, Germany, stressed the need for feasible and sustainable solutions in dealing with refugees.

Josep Rull, Minister of Territory and Sustainability of Catalonia, Spain, urged commitment to making the NUA a tool to achieve a new level of prosperity and harmony with the environment, noting that the physical transition of urban spaces into rural spaces needs to preserve nature’s integrity.

Maimunah Mohd Sharif, Municipal President of Seberang Perai, Malaysia, stressed that cities are for the people and that everyone has the right to public spaces.

Carlos Martínez Mínguez, Mayor of Soria, Spain, cautioned against marginalizing a city’s periphery, calling for balance between the city and the countryside.

Federico Gutiérrez Zuluaga, Mayor of Medellín, Colombia, said cities need more autonomy and more funding to address social exclusion, corruption and violence, and improve their involvement in projects to achieve the SDGs. He underscored the need to listen to all voices and stand united on the “common project of peace.”

Libby Schaaf, Mayor of Oakland, US, urged cities to benefit the rest of the world by leading in the spirit of innovation and collaboration.

Jean-Marie Bockel, President of the Communauté d’agglomération Mulhouse, France, highlighted the importance of partnering with other cultures to guide sustainable development.

Célestine Ketcha Courtès, Mayor of Bangangté, Cameroon, said women should be at the heart of the NUA.

Emphasizing the role of cities as partners and stakeholders, Peter Kurz, Mayor of Mannheim, Germany, said cities have to be empowered to implement the NUA.

Eddie Ngava, Deputy Mayor of Honiara, Solomon Islands, expressed his city’s commitment to building resilience to sea level rise, and natural and manmade disasters, emphasizing the need for support.

Clare Short, Chair of the Board of Cities Alliance, outlined the Alliance’s leading role in the implementation of the NUA, the SDGs and the Paris Agreement on climate change, identifying the need to strengthen the smallest and poorest local authorities. 

Mahmoud Mohieldin, Senior Vice President of the World Bank, described ways in which the World Bank could support municipal governments, including through financial resources mobilization.

Roland Ries, Mayor of Strasbourg, France, called for structured cooperation between cities and local communities to support more innovative solutions for sustainable urban futures.

Stressing the importance of non-motorized mobility in cities, Tae Young Yeom, Mayor of Suwon, Republic of Korea, stated that to change the way citizens live in a city requires changing the way one moves in a city.

Annemarie Penn-te Strake, Mayor of Maastricht, the Netherlands, called for innovative and flexible partnerships between the local government and citizens to develop local sustainable solutions that cater to local identity.

Marcio Araújo de Lacerda, Mayor of Belo Horizonte, Brazil, emphasized the need to engage in a policy dialogue to build a united voice, including on sectorial and inter-sectoral issues.

Mercè Conesa, President of the Province of Barcelona, Spain, suggested strengthening inter-regional governments to make regions more prosperous. She stressed the importance of connecting cities to culture, education and natural areas.

María Cecilia Alvarado, Vice Prefect of Azuay, Ecuador, lauded the NUA for addressing the need for decentralization of local governance, and for highlighting that rural areas are also important to the NUA’s implementation.

Iñigo de la Serna Hernáiz, Mayor of Santander, Spain, underscored how innovation and technology can create opportunities in cities, such as real-time infrastructure or innovations that enable socially-marginalized individuals to access opportunities.

Abdessamad Sekkal, President of the Council of Rabat-Salé-Kénitra, Morocco, stressed the importance of supporting inclusive societies to achieve sustainable development.

Luis Revilla, Mayor of La Paz, Bolivia, called achieving the NUA a collective responsibility, underscoring that the NUA could create a stronger future for children in cities.

Berry Vrbanovic, Mayor of Kitchener, Canada, underscored the importance of partnerships, such as city networks, in order to share best practices and create a common voice.

Mpho Parks Tau, Councilor of Johannesburg, President of South African Local Government Association and newly elected UCLG President, emphasized that achieving sustainable development and addressing climate change will have to be addressed in cities, where such challenges are manifest. Asking what the legacy of the Second World Assembly would be, he called on the international community to recognize the efforts of coordinated local action to achieve the global sustainability agenda.

Mayors called on their regional and global networks to continue work to consolidate the World Assembly as a consultation mechanism on matters related to sustainable development. The World Assembly will meet regularly at a frequency to be determined in order to provide inputs to the UN and international community, including at the two-day follow-up consultations on the NUA scheduled for 2017.

STATEMENT OF THE WORLD ASSEMBLY OF LOCAL AND REGIONAL GOVERNMENTS TO HABITAT III: In their key recommendations to Habitat III, local and regional governments celebrate, among others, the adoption of the ‘Quito Declaration on Sustainable Cities and Human Settlements for All’ by UN Member States, as well as the commitments of Member States contained therein.

In addition, they commit to, inter alia:

  • leading local action for global sustainability by localizing international policy agendas;
  • adopting an integrated territorial approach to sustainable development;
  • fostering inclusive economic development and decent jobs;
  • moving towards sustainable production and consumption patterns;
  • empowering citizens, particularly women;
  • harnessing integrated urban and territorial planning;
  • integrating culture as the fourth pillar of sustainable development;
  • increasing the transparency and accountability of local and regional institutions;
  • building solidarity between cities and territories;
  • collaborating internationally through decentralized development cooperation and peer-to-peer learning; and
  • working toward effective engagement in the implementation and follow-up of the NUA.

Finally, they call on the international community to: embark on a new era of partnership in global governance; link up the implementation and follow-up of all global sustainability agendas; improve municipal infrastructure; create a Global Partnership for Localizing Finance; and recognize the need for the World Assembly of Local and Regional Governments to become a significant and representative mechanism through which local and regional governments can provide political guidance and technical follow-up on the global sustainability agenda.


Habitat III: Habitat III aims to secure renewed political commitment for sustainable urban development, assess progress and accomplishments to date, address poverty and identify and address new and emerging challenges. The conference is expected to result in an action-oriented outcome document and the establishment of a ‘New Urban Agenda.’  dates: 17-20 October 2016  location: Quito, Ecuador  contact: UN-Habitat  phone: +1-917-367-4355  email: [email protected] www:

2016 UNEP Finance Initiative Global Roundtable and Annual General Meeting: The 2016 UN Environment Programme Finance Initiative (UNEP-FI) Global Roundtable and Annual General Meeting will bring together finance stakeholders from various sectors, including government, civil society and the UN, to discuss the role of the global financial sector in addressing the sustainable development and climate change agendas. Among the topics to be addressed is Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 11 (Make cities inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable).  dates: 25-27 October 2016  location: Dubai, United Arab Emirates  contact: UNEP-FI  email: [email protected] www:

World Cities Day 2016: Designated by the UN to take place every 31 October, World Cities Day promotes the international community’s interest in global urbanization, encourages cooperation on capitalizing on opportunities and addressing challenges of urbanization, and contributes to sustainable urban development around the world.  date: 31 October 2016  location: worldwide  contact: UN Habitat  email: [email protected] www:

Marrakech Climate Change Conference: The 22nd session of the Conference of the Parties (COP 22), 12th session of the Conference of the Parties serving as the Meeting of the Parties to the Kyoto Protocol (CMP 12), 45th sessions of the Subsidiary Body for Scientific and Technological Advice (SBSTA 45) and Subsidiary Body for Implementation (SBI 45), and the first session of the Conference of the Parties serving as the Meeting of the Parties to the Paris Agreement (CMA 1) will convene in Marrakech to continue work under the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).  dates: 7-18 November 2016  location: Marrakech, Morocco  contact: UNFCCC Secretariat  phone: +49-228-815-1000  fax: +49-228-815-1999  email: [email protected] www:

Second High-Level Meeting of the Global Partnership for Effective Development Cooperation: Convening under the theme ‘Towards Inclusive and Accelerated Implementation of the 2030 Agenda,’ the meeting will provide a platform for Heads of State and Government, ministers, heads of international organizations, business and civil society to showcase successes, as well as identify and scale up innovative approaches to sustainable development.  dates: 28 November - 1 December 2016  location: Nairobi, Kenya  contact: Rahim Kanani  phone: +1-212-906-5367  email: [email protected] www:

C40 Mayors Summit: The sixth biennial C40 Mayors Summit will bring together C40 mayors from all over the world and hundreds of urban and sustainability leaders to advance urban solutions to climate change and highlight the leadership role of cities in addressing climate change.  dates: 30 November - 2 December 2016  location: Mexico City, Mexico  contact: C40  email: [email protected] www:

2016 Guangzhou International Urban Innovation Conference: Hosted by the Chinese People’s Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries, United Cities and Local Governments (UCLG), the World Association of the Major Metropolises, and the City of Guangzhou, the Conference will convene under the theme ‘Urban Innovation - Build a Community of Common Destiny.’  dates: 6-8 December 2016 location: Guangzhou, China  contact: Guangzhou International Urban Innovation Conference Secretariat  phone: +86-206-628-9392  email: [email protected] www:

Second International Conference on Urban Management and First International Conference on Women and Urban Life: Organized by the Deputy Office of Women’s Affairs and Tehran Urban Planning and Research Center, this conference will examine the nature of women’s changing involvement in different social, cultural and economic areas, with a view to improving women’s lives throughout the world.  dates: 11-12 December 2016  location: Tehran, Iran  contact: Deputy Office of Women’s Affairs  email: [email protected] www:

UCLG Culture Summit: Themed ‘100 Actions on Culture in Sustainable Cities,’ the UCLG Culture Summit, building on the first UCLG Culture Summit held in March 2015, will respond to the growing importance of culture in local development. It will serve as the meeting point of cities and local governments committed to the successful implementation of policies and programmes on culture and sustainability.  dates: 5-7 April 2017  location: Jeju, Republic of Korea  contact: City of Jeju  www:

Resilient Cities 2017: Organized by ICLEI - Local Governments for Sustainability (ICLEI) and co-hosted by the City of Bonn, Germany, the Eighth Global Forum on Urban Resilience and Adaptation – Resilient Cities 2017 will address, inter alia; financing resilience; adaptation and disaster risk reduction (DRR) planning and policy; and mechanisms for measuring, reporting and accelerating action towards urban resilience.  dates: 4- 6 May 2017  location: Bonn, Germany  contact: ICLEI World Secretariat  phone: +49–228-976-299-28  email: [email protected] www:

XII World Congress Metropolis: With the theme ‘Global Challenges: Major Cities in Action,’ the 12th World Congress of Metropolis will help promote political messages and declarations from the world’s mayors, showcase good practices from around the globe and enrich debate between different levels of urban management.  dates: 19-23 June 2017  location: Montréal, Canada  contact: Congress Secretariat  phone: +1-855-77-TRIBU  email: [email protected] www:

ICLEI World Congress 2018: Held every three years, the ICLEI World Congress assembles local and subnational governments, international agencies, national governments, donors and other partners to set the course for globalizing urban sustainability.  dates: June 2018  location: Montréal, Canada  contact: ICLEI World Secretariat  phone: +49-228-9762 99-00  email: [email protected] www: