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UCLG Bulletin

Volume 231 Number 26 | Monday, 16 November 2020

Summary of the UCLG World Council 2020

12-13 November 2020 | Online

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“Cities must be central to leading a strong, sustainable post-COVID-19 recovery and the fight against climate change.” This statement was made by Amanda Eichel, Executive Director, Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate and Energy (GCoM), during the United Cities and Local Governments (UCLG) World Council 2020. It reaffirmed many of the statements made throughout the Council meeting that a just, equitable, resilient and sustainable recovery in the post-COVID era cannot be achieved without local government playing a central role.

The UCLG World Council 2020 met under the theme “The Role of the International Municipal and Regional Movement in COVID Times.” Key points made by participants included:

  • COVID-19 has exacerbated existing inequalities, and “radical change” will be needed to overcome them;
  • COVID-19 provides an opportunity to foster inclusive, just, resilient and sustainable cities;
  • collaboration and partnership among stakeholders are key to a sustainable recovery; and
  • local governments are no longer just implementers of policy but must also play a key role in formulating policy for a strong and green recovery.

Key outcomes from the 2020 World Council relate to:

  • establishing a UCLG International Solidarity Fund to strengthen local governance;
  • appointing three new Ubuntu Advisors to contribute to expanding outreach and advocacy for UCLG, particularly with the UN and other stakeholders;
  • greenlighting work to define strategic priorities for the next decalogue; and
  • establishing a new policy council on Implementation of the New Urban Agenda.

The UCLG Executive Bureau convened on Thursday, 12 November, followed by the World Council on Friday, 13 November. Over 300 participants joined the virtual sessions of the World Council 2020. The meeting, which also included UCLG Committee and Institutional Committee meetings, took place from 11-13 November 2020 and was hosted by the city of Guangzhou, China. It convened in a virtual format due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Brief History of UCLG

UCLG was founded in 2004 to ensure subnational and regional governments and other local authorities have a voice in the international processes that are defining the sustainable development and climate change agendas. Since its creation, UCLG has been convening city and local government representatives around common issues affecting subnational jurisdictions and defending the interests of local governments on the world stage.

UCLG Founding Congress: In May 2004, mayors, councilors, and elected city, local, and regional representatives gathered in Paris, France, to establish the UCLG Congress. The final declaration of the founding Congress addressed sustainable development, globalization, decentralization and local democracy, cooperation, diplomacy, and world health.

Second UCLG World Congress: At UCLG’s second World Congress, held October 2007 in Jeju, Republic of Korea, participants discussed the consequences of urbanization, cooperation with regions, and challenges of tomorrow’s city. The final declaration lays out commitments on global warming and environmental protection, human rights, peace and development, and the Millennium Development Goals. In addition, a policy paper on local finance was approved.

First World Summit of Local and Regional Leaders & Third UCLG World Congress: In November 2010 in Mexico City, Mexico, the first World Summit convened in conjunction with UCLG’s Congress, adopting a document titled, “The City of 2030 – Our Manifesto.” The Manifesto lays out the common goals of local leaders and their determination to make the urban world a better place.

Second World Summit of Local and Regional Leaders & Fourth UCLG World Congress: Held from 1-4 October 2013 in Rabat, Morocco, the second World Summit celebrated the centenary of the international municipal movement and allowed participants to debate and exchange views on the most vital issues for subnational authorities and partners. The Summit’s outcome document, the Rabat Declaration, recognized the need to address change, innovation, and the issue of just societies by reinforcing bottom-up governance under the leadership of inclusive local and regional governments (LRGs).

Global Task Force (GTF): Set up in 2013 as an initiative of the UCLG President at the time, 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 organized the Second World Assembly of LRGs as a three-part process to provide formal input to the UN Conference on Housing and Sustainable Urban Development (Habitat III) in October 2016.

Second World Assembly of Local and Regional Governments: The first session of the Second World Assembly of LRGs was held in New York, US, on 15 May 2016. This was immediately prior to Habitat III Informal Hearings with Local Authorities Associations, during which LRG representatives exchanged views with member states and observers on the zero draft of the Habitat III outcome document.

Third World Summit of Local and Regional Leaders & Fifth UCLG World Congress: The third 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.” The Summit approved the “Bogotá Commitment and Action Agenda,” which provides a guide for LRG actions post-Habitat III. It contains recommendations for how: subnational governments can contribute to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), Paris Agreement, Sendai Framework on Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) and New Urban Agenda (Habitat III’s main outcome); to reform national legal, institutional and policy frameworks; and to secure LRGs’ rightful place at the global table, especially in terms of global governance, international financing and decentralized cooperation.

On 14 October, the GTF convened the second session of the Second World Assembly of LRGs. The Assembly adopted a statement containing key recommendations from LRGs for the New Urban Agenda, intended to guide urban development policy across the world during the next two decades.a

Fourth World Summit of Local and Regional Leaders & Sixth UCLG World Congress: Held from 11-15 November 2019 in Durban, South Africa, the 2019 Summit approved the Durban Political Declaration, “Envisioning the Future of Our Renewed International Municipal Movement.” The Summit also approved, for the first time at a UCLG Congress, a compendium of integrated policy recommendations resulting from a six-month consultation process with diverse stakeholders, which offered bottom-up continental and region-specific priorities.

UCLG World Council Summary Report

UCLG Executive Bureau

The Executive Bureau took place on Thursday, 12 November.

High-level Policy Dialogues: Ecological Transition: Emilia Saiz, UCLG Secretary General, opened the session, which included two roundtables. She noted that ecological transition and transformation is part of the renewal of society.

Li Mingyuan, Mayor of Xi’An, China, and UCLG Co-President, emphasized the critical nature of this policy dialogue, noting an ecological transition is necessary to build resilient cities and territories. Li noted that cities and territories have shown they can lead the movement to address climate change, especially when attending to the needs of the most vulnerable populations. He emphasized the need to reshape society’s way of living, especially altering consumption patterns, and to redefine society’s relationship with its surroundings and natural ecosystems. He underscored that green recovery includes a green approach and the biggest challenge is for all spheres of government to work together. In closing, he emphasized the pandemic has shown our models of work must foster greater resilience.

The first roundtable of the dialogue, moderated by Ronan Dantec, UCLG Spokesperson for Climate, discussed the linkages between democratic processes and ecological transition in the post-COVID-19 era.

Corinne Lepage, former French Environment Minister, discussed the Universal Declaration of Humankind Rights, agreed to in Durban, emphasizing it brings together public and private individuals. She also noted that UCLG’s work is essential to further the principles of the Declaration.

Lee Sanghoon, International Cooperation Bureau of Seoul Metropolitan Government, Republic of Korea, highlighted the need to prepare for the post-COVID-19 era through a green economy approach.

Mónica Silvana González, Member of the European Parliament, shared that: the ecological transition should be accelerated as a result of the participation of cities and local governments; and COVID-19 has highlighted the need to strengthen efforts to address climate change. She emphasized increasing resilience at the local level by reducing inequalities. Finally, she noted that ecological transition is not possible without the participation of local governments.

Mustafa Tunç Soyer, Mayor of İzmir, Turkey, emphasized the cycles of nature and humanity are interconnected. He underscored his city’s commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and promote sustainable and local agriculture.

Fatimetou Abdel Malick, President of the Nouakchott Regional Council, Mauritania, noted that while COVID-19 has intensified inequalities, it has also provided an opportunity to think about new economic models.

Amanda Eichel, Executive Director, GCoM, highlighted the role of cities in the post-COVID-19 sustainable recovery, saying equitable cities in the future cannot be created without addressing current social and economic injustices.

Aleksandar Zhirkov, Republic of Sakha (Yakutia), Russian Federation, called for countries, cities and local governments to harmonize their ecological approaches.

The second roundtable was moderated by Debra Roberts, Head, Sustainable and Resilient City Initiatives Unit, eThekwini Municipality, Durban, South Africa, and addressed the role of local governments in global policy making processes and the potential for synergies.

Gino van Begin, Secretary General, ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability, stated that UCLG and ICLEI are collaborating to develop an action plan to engage more constructively with the UN system, including by engaging with the UN regional commissions via host cities, and increasing and improving collaboration at the national level with the UN resident coordinators.

Marcelo Gallini, Ministry of Environment and Climate Change, Province of Santa Fe, Argentina, said a model is in place to empower local governments to mainstream climate in the post-COVID-19 era. He explained the model respects the local level, is flexible and adaptable, and responses are based on ecosystems-based approaches.

Alison Evison, President, Convention of Scottish Local Authorities, said they are advocating for a “local government day,” among other relevant activities, to be held at the UN Climate Change Conference scheduled to take place in 2021 in Glasgow, Scotland.

Mohamed Sefiani, Mayor of Chefchaouen, Morocco, and Chair of the UCLG Forum on Intermediary Cities, underscored that financing and technical expertise for the local level is necessary to mainstream global policies at the local level.

Babacar Mbengue, Mayor of Hann Bel-Air, Dakar, Senegal, representing the Mayor of Dakar, Soham El Wardini, provided an overview of Dakar’s Climate Territorial Energy Plan, which aims to improve local governance of the ecological transition by, among others, involving its citizens in addressing the impact of climate change on the city.

Jennifer Ramirez Porras, Councilor Delegate, City of Terrassa, Spain, stated climate change and energy concerns must be at the heart of policies in the post-COVID era, underscoring climate change is a key concern for social justice.

In closing remarks, Emilia Saiz said despite the pandemic, the urgency of climate change is still being recognized, and, furthermore, is seen as key for the ecological transition. Frédéric Vallier, Secretary General, Council of European Municipalities and Regions, said cities no longer want to solely be implementers of policy but instead want to be at the table when policies are being negotiated.

Mehmet Duman, Secretary General, UCLG-Middle East and West Asia Section, called for local government implementation of DRR based on local knowledge and experience. Firdaous Oussidhoum, Adviser to the UCLG Secretary General, underscored the green recovery must transverse through all agendas and include ecological transition. Gino Van Begin said COVID-19 has helped contribute to a renewed impetus to address climate change and biodiversity loss.

Policy Debate: Addressing Inequalities, Key in the Post-COVID Era: This session addressed inequality when building back better post-COVID-19. António Vitorino, Director General, International Organization for Migration, emphasized that COVID-19 has made central the role of migrant workers and their contribution to vital services, such as the design of new COVID-19 vaccines that show promise.

Qu Dongyu, Director-General, Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN, highlighted that local government’s potential in creating more resilient communities in the face of COVID-19 has not been fully leveraged.

Mohamed Sadiki, Mayor of Rabat, Morocco, underscored the role of cities in leading local and regional responses to address social vulnerabilities.

Maimunah Mohd Sharif, Executive Director, UN-Habitat, highlighted the role of local cities and governments in the post-COVID-19 sustainable and resilient recovery process that addresses all inequalities.

Paola Pabón, Prefect of Pichincha Province, Ecuador, underscored COVID-19’s impact on women and the rise in domestic violence, as a consequence of old societal structures and systems of exclusion.

Adriana Allen, President, Habitat International Coalition, recognized that radical change in necessary to address consumption and inequalities and that local cities and governments play a critical role through addressing housing rights.

Philippe Rio, Mayor of Grigny, France, underscored that local cities and governments are essential actors to advance human rights. Caren Levy, Bartlett Development Planning Unit, University College of London, emphasized that COVID 19 has made the sixth Global Observatory on Local Democracy and Decentralization report (GOLD VI) more pressing.

In the following discussion, Johnny Araya, Mayor of San José, Costa Rica, underscored setbacks in the face of COVID-19 in addressing poverty and inequality.

Business Session of the Executive Bureau: This session discussed statutory issues that the Executive Bureau needed to address prior to the meeting of the World Council itself.

Li Mingyuan, Mayor of Xi’an, China, UCLG Co-President, opened the business session. He explained the session would be organized in three segments: Powering the Network; Looking Ahead: Tools to Contribute to Recovery; and Accelerating Priorities.

Mayor Li chaired the Powering the Network segment, which discussed the statutory and organizational issues underpinning UCLG’s work. Mohamed Boudra, Mayor of Al Hoceima, Morocco and UCLG President, presented the Report of the Committee on Statutory Affairs. He said the Committee met on 10 November, and had discussed, inter alia, the external assessment of UCLG. He noted the Committee’s recommendation to appoint DMA Consulting to conduct the assessment.

On the renewal process of the UCLG policy councils, he said the Committee tried to obtain the best geographic representation, as well as find a balance between continuity of members and new appointees. A list of members was presented for adoption by the World Council. He said the Committee urged appointing a spokesperson for each SDG.

He also noted the nomination of the new Ubuntu Advisors: Maria Fernanda Espinosa, 73rd President of the UN General Assembly; Barbara Samuels, Executive Director of the Global Clearinghouse for Development Finance; and Kazuhiko Takeuchi, President of the Institute for Global Environmental Strategies. The Ubuntu Advisors will contribute to expanding outreach and advocacy for the UCLG, particularly with the UN and other stakeholders.

On institutional and membership issues, he said some regions must still confirm appointments.

Berry Vrbanovic, Mayor of Kitchener, Ontario, Canada, and UCLG Co-Treasurer, presented the report of the treasurers of the Financial Management Committee. He said the 2019 audited financial statements show a surplus of EUR 10,186.25, and the Committee recommended approving the final accounts, and allocating 20% of the financial surplus to the voluntary reserves. He said 23% of expenditures goes to increasing the involvement of women in the UCLG. He outlined the draft budget for 2021, noting a significant increase in contributions from the EU and the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency. He said 23% of the budget will continue to be spent on activities promoting gender equality. Finally, he said that the Committee recommended establishing a UCLG International Solidarity Fund to strengthen local governance.

The segment on Looking Ahead: Tools to Contribute to Recovery was chaired by Thembisile Nkadimeng, Mayor of Polokwane, President of the South African Local Government Association (SALGA), and UCLG Co-President. Emilia Saiz presented on the Local4Action HUBs, saying they aim to link global objectives with local realities. She said this will enhance experiences and provide an opportunity to exchange knowledge and experiences and foster solidarity among members.

On the renewal process of UCLG strategic priorities, she underscored that the local agenda cannot continue to be an afterthought and must be at the center of global policy making. She said the strategic priorities seek a “pact for the future,” which continues to localize the SDGs and the Paris Agreement, but now also seeks to partner with civil society and local communities to make clear the impact that local level governance can have. She said while the pluriannual strategy must be renewed in 2022 at the next World Congress, work around the strategy can start earlier.

Oihane Agirregoitia, Councilor for International and Civic Participation, City of Bilbao, Spain, said only inclusive societies addressing social justice and equity can prosper in these times. She suggested Local4Action HUBs can scale up Bilbao’s activities on these issues.

 Pilar Díaz Romero, Mayor of Esplugues de Llobregat, and Deputy Councillor of International Relations of Barcelona Provincial Council, Spain, highlighted several initiatives undertaken by Barcelona to contribute to the Local4Action HUBs.

Jan Van Zanen, Mayor of The Hague, the Netherlands, President, Association of Netherlands Municipalities (VNG), and UCLG Co-President, welcomed work on defining the strategic priorities for the next decalogue.

Thembisile Nkadimeng welcomed comments from members, saying “this means we are getting closer to sharing our aspirations and building on our initiatives.”

The third segment, Accelerating Priorities, was chaired by Mohamed Boudra. Emilia Saiz provided an overview of the work of UCLG. Following interventions praising the UCLG’s work, Chair Boudra closed the session, expressing his appreciation for the engagement of local cities and governments.

UCLG World Council

The UCLG World Council met on Friday, 13 November.

Policy Debate: Leading the Way to Recovery: This session opened with a message from UN Secretary-General António Guterres, who called for putting local cities and government at the center of a sustainable, inclusive, resilient world for all.

Olivier De Schutter, UN Special Rapporteur on Extreme Poverty and Human Rights, highlighted the fundamental role of access to public services to build resilient societies. Arnaud Ngatcha, Vice-Mayor of Paris, France, emphasized the goal of creating a multi-service, inter-urban transport system as part of the post-COVID-19 recovery. Geoff Makhubo, Mayor of Johannesburg, South Africa, underscored that greater inclusivity and sustainability is key to overcoming the challenges caused by COVID-19.

Ellen van Selm, Mayor of Opsterland, the Netherlands, and VNG Board Member, called attention to the social impacts of COVID-19 especially for youth. Garth Frizzell, President, Federation of Canadian Municipalities, highlighted measures taken by LRGs in Canada to support citizens during COVID-19 through affordable housing and promoting a green economy. Gunn Marit Helgesen, President of the Chamber of Regions of the Congress, Norway, noted that COVID-19 underscores the need for collaboration between local, regional and national governments.

Barbara Samuels, Executive Director, Global Clearinghouse for Development Finance, emphasized the need to rethink what finance is, partnerships, and instruments for implementation. Souad Ben Abderrahim, Mayor of Tunis, Tunisia, highlighted strategies adopted to build resilience against COVID-19, including awareness raising, strengthening municipal services, and bridging the digital divide.

Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General, World Health Organization, noted that cities are key to shaping the COVID recovery, especially around environmental degradation.

In the ensuing discussion, Roland Schaefer, Mayor of Bergkamen, Germany, and Carlos Martínez Mínguez, Mayor of Soria, Spain, Envoy of the UCLG Presidency on the New Urban Agenda, and Spanish Federation of Municipalities and Provinces, shared their insights on recovery. Berry Vrbanovic highlighted the opportunity to address homelessness. Christian Di Candia, Mayor of Montevideo, Uruguay, called for a more inclusive and fairer society.

Mohamed Boudra closed the session emphasizing the role of UCLG as an advocate for communities.

Business Session of the World Council: This session was split into four segments: Powering the Organization; UCLG Acting for People; UCLG Acting for Planet; and UCLG Acting for Government.

Thembisile Nkadimeng opened the session, saying the UCLG is a strong, democratic, participatory organization, which is necessary for weathering the current trials and tribulations.

Mxolisi Kaunda, Mayor of Durban, South Africa, commemorated the one-year anniversary of the World Congress, held in 2019 in Durban, emphasizing social distancing reinforces the importance of solidarity at the current time. He underscored that the Durban Declaration has assisted UCLG to further its efforts to become an “equality driven movement to take a collective stand to address poverty and inequality.”

Mohamed Boudra presented the report of the UCLG Presidency for 2020, saying that 2020 has forced society to adapt as well as articulate the fundamental role LRGs have had to play in addressing the challenges faced. He said UCLG’s key activities for 2020 included, among others: conducting a number of live learning experiences to exchange ideas and examine case studies on the myriad of challenges faced by local governments; co-hosting the third Local and Regional Governments’ Forum under the HLPF; and working on the GOLD VI report on pathways to urban equality, which will be presented at the 2022 UCLG World Congress.

The segment on Powering the Organization, chaired by Thembisile Nkadimeng, included a presentation from Emilia Saiz on the 2021 Work Plan, that stressed activities for research and monitoring, policy and advocacy, learning, and “powering the organization.” These included: continued development of the Local4Action HUBs, with a second round of calls expected in the coming months; additional research on voluntary local reviews and localizing the SDGs; and increasing the availability of online courses, particularly on rethinking public spaces and accessibility.

Saiz then announced the composition of the policy councils for 2021, noting they had attracted a lot of interest, and as such, a balance had to be found between continuation and innovation. She also announced the establishment of a new policy council on Implementation of the New Urban Agenda, which she said is critical for achieving the SDGs.

The Policy Council on the Right to the City and Inclusive Territories will be co-chaired by:

  • Armand Beouinde, Mayor of Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, and President of Burkina Faso’s Municipalities Association;
  • Claudia López, Mayor of Bogota, Colombia; and
  • Philippe Rio, Mayor of Grigny, France.

The Policy Council on Opportunities for All, Culture and City Diplomacy will be co-chaired by:

  • Souad Ben Abderrahim, Mayor of Tunis, Tunisia;
  • Li Mingyuan, Mayor of Xi’An, China; and
  • Jan Van Zanen, Mayor of The Hague, the Netherlands.

The Policy Council on Territorial, Multilevel Governance and Sustainable Financing will be co-chaired by:

  • Pablo Jurado, Prefect, Imbabura Province, Ecuador, President of the Consortium of Provincial Autonomous Governments from Ecuador, and UCLG Vice-President for the Forum of Regions;
  • Geoff Makhubo, Mayor of Johannesburg, South Africa; and
  • Núria Marín Martínez, Mayor of L’Hospitalet de Llobregat, Spain, and President of the Barcelona Provincial Council.

The Policy Council on Safer, Resilient and Sustainable Cities, Capable of Facing Crises will be co-chaired by:

  • Fatimetou Abdel Malick, President of Nouakchott Regional Council, Mauritania;
  • Johnny Araya, Mayor of San José, Costa Rica; and
  • Sami Kanaan, Mayor of Geneva, Switzerland, and Co-Chair of the UCLG Permanent Working Group on Territorial Prevention and Management of Crises.

The Policy Council on the Implementation of the New Urban Agenda will be co-chaired by:

  • Carlos Martínez Mínguez, Mayor of Soria, Spain, Envoy of the UCLG Presidency on the New Urban Agenda, and Spanish Federation of Municipalities and Provinces;
  • Ilsur Metshin, Mayor of Kazan, Russian Federation, and President of the UN Advisory Committee of Local Authorities (UNACLA); and
  • Thembisile Nkadimeng, Mayor of Polokwane, South Africa, and President, SALGA.

In the ensuing discussion, Alison Evison said that UCLG has shown it can conduct business virtually and has resulted in greater attendance by some. She encouraged future meetings retain an aspect of virtual attendance to maintain greater participation. Carlos Martínez Mínguez noted the cross-cutting aspects of the policy councils and the planned work for 2021.

The 2021 Work Plan and the mechanisms for consultations, as well as the proposed policy councils were approved without objection.

Berry Vrbanovic presented the Report of the Financial Management Committee. He expressed regret that Madelaine Alfelor, Mayor of Iriga, the Philippines, and UCLG Co-Treasurer was not available to help present the report as the City of Iriga was dealing with the aftermath of a hurricane. He summarized the accounts and financial discharge for 2019, the draft budget for 2021, and the audit report of annual accounts. He highlighted the proposal to create a UCLG International Solidarity Fund, to enable the UCLG to mobilize local cooperation and assistance, putting the needs of local authorities at the center of all actions taken.

The World Council approved the Report of the Financial Management Committee.

The UCLG Acting for People segment was chaired by Jan Van Zanen. It addressed the Rome Charter on Cultural Rights and the #CitiesAreListening Experience: Towards a Global Pact with Communities.

María Soledad Cisternas Reyes, UN Special Envoy on Disability and Accessibility, emphasized that accessibility is the common denominator for so many SDGs and welcomed the partnership with UCLG. Sami Kanaan emphasized that COVID-19 showed the importance of resilience of local governments.

Salvatore Martello, Mayor of Lampedusa, Italy, highlighted  the proposed “pact for the future” as a critical step, urged using a shared approach when devising such a pact, and underscored the importance of reinforcing the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration. José Ribeiro, Mayor of Valongo, Portugal, expressed concern that participatory processes encouraging active citizenship have been suspended because of COVID-19.

André Viola, President of the Departmental Council of Aude, France, on behalf of François Rebsamen, Mayor of Dijon, and President of United Cities of France, encouraged solidarity and increased knowledge sharing and cooperation. Mustafa Tunç Soyer said İzmir will promote culture as the fourth pillar of social development and as key for solidarity, reaffirming their commitment to the Rome Charter on Cultural Rights. Luca Bergamo, Vice-Mayor of Rome, Italy, emphasized COVID-19 has revealed the fragility and injustice of our society but lamented that until local governments are entrusted with the necessary tools and power, progress will not be possible.

Gholamhossein Mohammadi, Advisor to the Mayor of Tehran, Iran, said solidarity and culture is key to overcoming the global challenges being faced. He stated Tehran welcomes all cooperation and is glad to be at the forefront of promoting peaceful communication. Arnaud Ngatcha outlined activities being undertaken by Paris, and announced the establishment of the International Observatory of Mayors in Danger in 2021, which aims to protect those mayors who might be in danger as a result of their work or their opinions.

Emilia Saiz closed the segment saying that these inputs will strengthen steps toward a “pact for the future.”

The segment on UCLG Acting for Planet was co-chaired by Thembisile Nkadimeng. Pablo Jurado called for a new “pact for the planet” that changes the relationship with people and that helps mitigate the impacts of climate change. Miguel Lunghi, Mayor of Tandil, Argentina, underscored the challenge of inequality, fostering urban resilience, environmental protection, and participation of local governments. Mohamed Sefiani highlighted the need for a post-COVID-19 green recovery.

Laia Bonet Rull, Deputy Mayor of Barcelona, Spain, underscored the need for digital and ecological rights, and for new institutions to deliver them. Emilio Jatón, Mayor of Santa Fe, Argentina, noted the opportunities offered during this challenging time to improve the well-being of people. He also reiterated that local cities must contribute to global solutions.

Emilia Saiz closed the session, noting that UCLG is developing learning modules for resilience and working with specialized networks to develop joint political directions.

The session on UCLG Acting for Government was chaired by Mohamed Boudra. Philipp Rode, Executive Director, London School of Economics Cities, explained the nature of “complex emergencies,” emphasizing that their political nature makes them more challenging to govern. Ilsur Metshin, Mayor of Kazan, Republic of Tatarstan, Russian Federation, and UNACLA Chair, underscored the need to continue promoting the voices of local authorities in the global dialogue, including through the creation of new bodies in the UN system.

Carlos Martínez Mínguez underscored the need for local leaders and councils to become more involved to lead the recovery towards a world without inequality. Carola Gunnarsson, Mayor of Sala, Sweden, Vice-President of the Swedish Association of Local Authorities and Regions, UCLG Vice-President for Europe, noted COVID-19 has impacted institutions and the democratic process and called for a greater participatory approach to governance.

Nuria Marín, Mayor of L’Hospital de Llobregat, Spain, and President of the Barcelona Provincial Council, highlighted the shortcomings of society during COVID-19 and called for a global transformation that enables effective participation of civil society. José Alfonso Suárez del Real, Secretary of Government of Mexico City, Mexico, called for a reinvention of society.

Paola Pabón called for an effective decentralization economy and emphasized the role of women in leading the post-COVID-19 recovery. Linda Voortman, Deputy Mayor of Utrecht, the Netherlands, emphasized the commitment to localized human rights.

Manuel de Araújo, Mayor of Quelimane City, Mozambique, highlighted the role of mayors and local governments in achieving the SDGs.

In closing the session, Emilia Saiz underscored the role of local cities and municipalities are also bound to increase in importance in promoting accountability and fighting corruption.

Boudra thanked everyone for their participation and closed the meeting at 6:51 pm Central European Time.

Upcoming Meetings

Smart Cities 2020: Held virtually due to COVID-19, Smart Cities 2020 — now Smart Cities Live — will provide a platform for stakeholders, institutions and experts to address how COVID-19 has affected cities and how they are redefining themselves to adapt to this new scenario. The conference will also discuss problems cities face beyond the current short-term crisis.  dates: 17-18 November 2020  location: online  www:

Fourth African Forum of Territorial Managers and Training Institutes Targeting the Local Level: This forum will convene under the theme “Promoting Responsible, Transparent, Ethical, Performing and Accountable Local Public Institutions in Africa to Act and Impact the Decade of Action.” It will discuss issues around implementation and discuss best practices for building local public institutions, in accordance with SDG 16 on peace, justice and strong institutions.  dates: 23-28 November 2020  location: online  www:

Venice City Solutions 2020: Visualizing Agenda 2030 in the City: This annual event will focus on how best to use the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development as a long-term planning instrument for the city and how the SDGs can be used in assessing, analyzing and creating a future vision for territories. The 2020 edition, which will take place virtually due to COVID-19, will also integrate the process of development of the UCLG Local4Action HUBs.  dates: 22-26 February 2021  location: online  www:

Fifth Session of the UN Environment Assembly (UNEA-5): UNEA-5 will take place under the theme “Strengthening Actions for Nature to Achieve the SDGs” and is expected to adopt a “two-step” approach that will convene virtually in February 2021 with a revised and streamlined agenda. This session will be complemented by a second component in the form of a resumed UNEA-5 to be held in person in Nairobi, Kenya, in February 2022.  dates: 22-26 February 2021  location: online  www:

World Cities Summit 2020: Postponed to 2021 due the pandemic, the World Cities Summit 2020 will convene under the theme of “Liveable and Sustainable Cities: Adapting to a Disrupted World.” The Summit, which will include the World Cities Summit Mayors Forum, will address the ways in which cities can adapt to growing challenges posed by climate change, social shifts, and new technology.  dates: 20-24 June 2021  location: Singapore  www:

High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF): The ninth session of the HLPF will take place over eight days in July 2021 under the theme “Sustainable and resilient recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, that promotes the economic, social, and environmental dimensions of sustainable development: Building an inclusive and effective path for the achievement of the 2030 Agenda in the context of the decade of action and delivery for sustainable development.” It will discuss, in depth, SDGs 1 (no poverty), 2 (zero hunger), 3 (good health and well-being), 8 (decent work and economic growth), 10 (reduced inequalities), 12 (responsible consumption and production), 13 (climate action), 16 (peace, justice and strong institutions), and 17 (partnerships for the Goals). The Forum will also consider the integrated, indivisible and interlinked nature of the SDGs.  dates: 6-15 July 2021  location: UN Headquarters, New York (TBD)  www:


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