The United Cities and Local Governments World Council met to address the role of the international municipal and regional movement “in COVID times”.
The UN Secretary-General said recovery packages and other public spending should boost local government capacity.
As outcomes from the 2020 World Council the group plans to establish a fund to strengthen local governance and a policy council on implementing the New Urban Agenda.
The United Cities and Local Governments (UCLG) World Council 2020 met to address the role of the international municipal and regional movement “in COVID times.” Many speakers emphasized that cities must be central to leading a strong, sustainable recovery from the pandemic and the fight against climate change.
The meeting convened virtually on 11-13 November 2020.
The President of the UN General Assembly (UNGA) told participants that it is through local governments and cities that the UN can translate its global vision into reality and implement frameworks such as the 2030 Agenda, the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction, and the New Urban Agenda. Providing another perspective, some participants said 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.
Among other key messages, participants said:
- 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; and
- Collaboration and partnership among stakeholders are needed for a sustainable recovery.
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said solutions to our current crises should be holistic, and “the local space is the perfect place to connect the dots.” He said regional and local governments can hold national governments accountable for their climate and sustainable development commitments “including by pushing for action to achieve carbon neutrality — net‑zero emissions — by 2050.” He added that recovery packages and other public spending should boost local government capacity.
As reported by the Earth Negotiations Bulletin, 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.