UCLG World Council took place virtually on 9-13 November 2020, hosted by the city of GuangzhouThe World Council started with the meetings of UCLG Committees and ended with UCLG Executive Bureau and World Council.

The 1st day started with the meetings of the Permanent Working Group on Territorial Prevention. The meeting addressed the UCLG International Solidarity Fund, and during the meeting, participants discussed possible actions to support Lebanese partners in light of the recent events and COVID-19 crisis. In the opening session of the Committee on Urban and Strategic Planning, the committee’s activities for 2021 were presented, with a special focus on public space and mental health.

The 2nd day started with the opening session of the meeting of the Committee on Local, Social and Economic Development. Following that, the session of the Committee on Statutory Affairs started presenting the results of UCLG’s external assessment. The committee decided to move forward with DNA Consulting, for which it has the highest points of preference of evaluation. This session was also dedicated to the renewal of the UCLG Policy Councils, where Emilia SAIZ shared the names of the co-chairs of the UCLG Policy Councils. The following item was the appointment of the new UBUNTU advisors and updates on their work; Emilia Saiz proposed three names to be appointed in the advisory agenda. The first one is Maria Fernanda Espinosa, 73rd President of the United Nations General Assembly, and Emilia noted that she will support UCLG in undertaking actions and reviving the friendship between cities, emphasizing her good relations and contact with the ambassador in New York. The second one is Barbara Samuels, Executive Director of the Global Clearinghouse for Development Finance. The third one is Prof. Kazuhiko TAKEUCHI, President of the Institute for Global Environmental Strategies (IGES), who will help promote the development of local reviews. Emilia Saiz noted that the work done by the UBUNTU Advisory Board had allowed the World Organization to expand its outreach and advocacy efforts towards the UN and other stakeholders. Emilia also shared updates on the Governing Bodies and noted how they will significantly contribute to and improve UCLG work. For the last item, they discussed membership issues, and Emilia Saiz presented the list of the new members. The day ended with the annual meeting of the Committee on Social Inclusion, Participatory Democracy and Human Rights.

The 3rd day started with the meeting on Urban Innovation During COVID-19 Times. In this session, urban innovation experts and city representatives discussed the new innovative mechanisms that emerged during the pandemic. The Financial Management Committee, chaired by Berry Vrbanovic, Mayor of Kitchener and UCLG Treasurer, evaluated the financial situation of UCLG. The Financial Management Committee discussed the previous financial year, the budget for 2021, as well as the approval of the UCLG International Solidarity Fund. On the same day, UCLG Committee on Culture, moderated by the Secretary of the Committee and the representative of Lisbon, Co-President of the Committee, started with reviewing the 2020 activities and notably COVID-19 related works including the Rome 2020 Charter process, the Seven Keys learning tool and the impact of the COVID-19 crisis. Onur Eryüce, Counsellor to the Mayor of Izmir, participated in this meeting and delivered a speech, expressing his excitement about Izmir’s hosting the 4th UCLG Culture Summit which will take place in April-May. The day ended with the meeting of the International Municipal Investment Fund (IMIF), in which stakeholders discussed the future steps and agreed on the work priorities for the successful development of the IMIF.

UCLG Executive Bureau took place on the 4th day of the World Council which started with the official opening of UCLG World Council with the performance of the Guangzhou Youth Choir. The Opening was followed by a Policy Debate on Addressing Inequalities, key in the COVID Era. Mr. Philippe Laurent, Mayor of Sceaux and President of the French Association of CEMR (AFCCRE), highlighted the issue of inequality and the problem of terrorist attacks in France – a multifactor crisis which has many unknowns. Caren Levy, a member of the GOLD VI Steering Committee, provided details on GOLD VI and its preparation, mentioning the main topic and other subtitles to be addressed in the book. In the Round Tables with UCLG Executive Bureau Members (putting inequalities at the top of the agenda), mayors stressed the importance of dealing with the issue of inequality, health crisis, human rights, economy and other global issues. The day ended with the Business Session of the Executive Bureau. The Presidency and Chairs of the Respective Committees presented their reports on the issues proposed and the decisions taken earlier in the committee meetings: The Rome Executive Bureau, the Committee on Statutory Affairs, and the Financial Management Committee. This session also highlighted the Local4Action Hubs. Emilia also gave a briefing on UCLG’s advocacy work. In this Executive Bureau, the suggestions given at all the previous committee meetings were confirmed and presented to all the members of the World Council on the last day.

The final day of the World Council started with the opening session of Dr. Mohamed Boudra, Mayor of Al-Hoceima and UCLG President, who introduced the Pact for the Future.  The opening session was followed up by a Policy Debate on Leading the way to the recovery: towards a new pact for the future. The World Council ended with the Business Session. The session was divided into four different segments: “powering the organization”, “UCLG Acting for people”, “UCLG Acting for planet”, and “UCLG Acting for government”. Mayors and political representative members of the World Council, partners from the civil society, academia, and other stakeholders shared their views and expressed their commitment and responsibilities to carry out the pact and work together for a better planet. All reports discussed earlier were introduced to the World Council in this session: the report of UCLG World Council held in Durban, the report of the Presidency for 2020, 2021 work Plan, composition and agenda of the policy councils for 2021, updates on UCLG’s consultation mechanism and the report of the Financial Management Committee.

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