The principal policy-making body of United Cities and Local Governments held a series of annual meetings to set policies and review implementation.
Volker Türk, UN Assistant Secretary-General for Strategic Coordination, presented 'Our Common Agenda'.
Members approved the initial work component of the UCLG Policy Councils for the Pact for the Future.
The principal policy-making body of United Cities and Local Governments (UCLG) held a series of annual meetings to set policies and review implementation. Much of the discussion addressed how local and regional governments and the “municipal movement” overall can contribute to implementing ‘Our Common Agenda’ as outlined in the September 2021 report of the UN Secretary-General.
The 2021 meetings of the UCLG World Council took in a hybrid format, with some participants meeting in person in Barcelona, Spain, and others participating online. Volker Türk, UN Assistant Secretary-General for Strategic Coordination, presented ‘Our Common Agenda.’ He highlighted the important role of local governments and cities, which he said are often the first point of contact and thus key to addressing the challenges.
Michelle Bachelet, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, said the COVID-19 pandemic has prompted a shift from technocratic to people-centered governance. She called for strengthening the UCLG network to protect human rights at the local level. Philippe Rio, Mayor of Grigny, France, said the COVID-19 pandemic requires accelerating local municipalities’ protection of human rights and the SDGs toward a fairer, more inclusive world. He called for improving access to housing and health, combating gender violence, and safeguarding vulnerable populations. Saiz reported that UCLG is establishing a dedicated space for dialogue between LRGs and the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, aimed at increasing capacity building and integrating human rights within the municipal movement.
Another subject of discussion at the meetings was the Pact for the Future, which is under development. Members approved the initial work component of the UCLG Policy Councils for the Pact for the Future. Joanne Vanderheyden, President, Federation of Canadian Municipalities, reported on the unprecedented financial crisis Canada faced due to the COVID-19 pandemic and how communities rallied to support each other. She said areas identified in the Pact will help communities access financing to better serve their local citizens.
Tunç Soyer, Mayor of Izmir, Turkey, called for a “circular culture” perspective to underpin urban planning to reduce the footprint of cities.
Members adopted the 2022 work plan, approved the budget and a new interim governance structure with a rotating UCLG Presidency, and discussed preparations for the Seventh UCLG World Congress. The Congress will convene in Daejeon, Republic of Korea, in 2022, on the theme, ‘Breaking Through as One.’ Heo Tae-jeong, Mayor of Daejeon, expressed hope for the participation of North Korea, which he said could result in a strong message for peace on the Korean Peninsula and in the world. [Earth Negotiations Bulletin coverage of UCLG World Council meetings]