The World Organization of UCLG gathered virtually on 15-22 February 2021 with all of its Sections from around the world, renewing its energy and building a great synergy among its members. Being the Middle East and West Asia Section of UCLG, UCLG-MEWA, which operates in a region that presents challenges as well as offers unique opportunities to its people and that has a rich cultural and social fabric, presented its five strategic priorities in the special session titled ‘MEWA Priorities Feeding the Agenda’ held on 18 February. These priorities were as follows: Migration and Social Inclusion, Disadvantaged Groups and Equality, Fighting Against and Adapting to Climate Change, Urban Resilience, and Local Development and Governance.

In the session, which was moderated by UCLG-MEWA Secretary General Mehmet Duman, Mohamed Saadie, President of UCLG-MEWA and Vice President of UCLG, elaborated on each strategic priority of UCLG-MEWA and talked about the critical aspects of these priorities. The UCLG-MEWA Presidency as well as the Presidencies of the Committees shared their reasons and motivations to continue working for these priorities in the region adopting a holistic approach. Musa Hadid, Mayor of Ramallah (Palestine), President of the Association of Palestine Local Authorities, and Co-President of UCLG-MEWA, talked about why urban resilience is important both for the MEWA region and the rest of the world. Mansur Yavaş, Mayor of Ankara (Turkey) and Ombudsman of UCLG-MEWA, stated that local development and governance are key to building stronger societies. Zeydan Karalar, Mayor of Adana (Turkey) and Co-President of UCLG-MEWA, talked about migration and social cohesion from the perspective of a city that has a long history of migration and that currently hosts a great population of refugees and migrants. Nicola Khamis, Mayor of Beit Jala (Palestine) and Co-President of the Committee on Gender Equality, emphasized the significance of developing projects targeting the disadvantaged groups and of ensuring equality in our societies. Yücel Yılmaz, Mayor of Balıkesir (Turkey) and Co-President of UCLG-MEWA, pointed out the efforts made to fight against and adapt to the climate change, and stressed the fact that we still have a lot of work to do.

Following the remarks of the mayors, the UCLG-MEWA staff from all departments took part in an open discussion under the moderation of General Coordinator Salim Korkmaz, where they talked about the previous and ongoing projects of UCLG-MEWA. Overall, the session was a fruitful experience where each member of the big UCLG family had a chance to express their ideas while, at the same time, getting together with their colleagues from across the world.


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