From 11 to 15 November, in Durban, South Africa, UCLG has held its World Summit of Local and Regional Leaders, one of the largest and most influential meetings of mayors, councilors, local and regional governments and associations worldwide.
The event has brought together approximately 2,000 local elected leaders and professionals representing towns, cities, metropolises and regions, civil society, citizens and experts from the international business world and academia with the aim of establishing links and developing policies that transform society and the way in which the local governance works for and by the people.
The first day of the Summit officially started with the Inaugural Celebration of the Local4Action Hub, the heart of the Congress. Asa dynamic space for interaction and interconnection, the Hub is the place to exchange ideas, to perform brainstorming around the ideas shared in the Summit, and to continue connecting with communities from all over the world.
The second day of the Summit started with UCLG Section Caucuses, wherein the UCLG-MEWA Caucus members were briefed by Mehmet Duman, UCLG-MEWA Secretary General, on the recent works of UCLG-MEWA. Furthermore, participants discussed the candidacies for the new UCLG Presidency.
The session entitled “#Cities4Migration: The MC2CM Experience, from Dialogue & Knowledge to Action” hosted Ümit Şahin, Deputy Mayor of Sancaktepe Municipality, as one of the speakers. MC2CM (Mediterranean City-to-City Migration) is a project that aims to contribute to the improvement of rights-based migration governance in Euro-Mediterranean cities through its main pillars: Dialogue, Knowledge & Action. The session focused on initiatives developed with MC2CM support.
Day two continued with UCLG Learning Forum which lasted all day. The full day of interactions provided an assessment of the state of learning within the Network, an inspiration for the key elements of UCLG Learning Strategy 2019-2021, concrete recommendations to boost the reach of UCLG policies through learning, and specific recommendations on innovative learning methodologies and mechanisms. In relation to this, UCLG-MEWA representatives introduced the Pilot Project on Mapping the SDGs in Turkey with a specific reference to the lessons learned, achievements gained as well as the difficulties encountered.
Three fora of UCLG held its main gatherings throughout the day. The Forum of Intermediary Cities discussed the work plan for the next year and provided greater synchronization with the main themes of the Congress as well as the Policy Councils. Mr. Rasim Arı, Mayor of Nevşehir and UCLG-MEWA Treasurer, delivered a presentation about their plans and projects regarding intermediary cities.
During the Financial Management Committee Meeting, members discussed a range of issues to revise the organization’s priorities.
On the third day, the UCLG Congress and World Summit were officially opened. The Executive Bureau Meeting of the World Organization held its last meeting for the term of 2016-2019 before the renewal of the Presidency for the upcoming term. The Executive Bureau updated the key work areas of membership and disseminated the policy recommendations of the GOLD V Report on the localization of the global agendas.
Mohamed Saadie, Mayor of Deirnbouh, President of UCLG-MEWA, President of Union of Dannieh Municipalities and UCLG Vice President, and Onur Eryüce from Izmir Metropolitan Municipality participated as speakers in the session entitled “The Mediterranean Accent of Cities in the Global Governance Agenda.” Political representatives from different cities and regions of the Mediterranean depicted the main challenges the region has been facing and contributed to the definition of a Mediterranean agenda from the local level.
Day 4 of the Congress started with the launch of Plant Tree Not Bombs Campaign. Afterward, the MEWA Assembly Track put forward policy recommendations on migration management, peacebuilding and resilience. With the lack of trust between citizens and governments from around the world, the Special Session on Transparency, in which Mohamed Saadie participated as a speaker, presented alternatives for new governance models, putting transparency and access to public information at their core.
Moreover, UCLG General Assembly, which meets every three years and has the responsibility for the overall policy-making, direction, and oversight of the World Organization, gathered. At the General Assembly, it was decided that Izmir Metropolitan Municipality would be the host city for UCLG Culture Summit 2021. Mohamed Saadie, Mayor of Deirnbouh, President of Union of Dannieh Municipalities & UCLG-MEWA President, presented the position paper in the Assembly Track for the Middle East & West Asia. At the meeting, UCLG Vice Presidency of Mohamed Saadie was officially announced.
The first step to the election of the new UCLG Presidency was taken with the first voting round of the World Council.
On the last day of Congress, UCLG-MEWA organized a Local4Action Session entitled “Water Resilience in the Context of Growing Water Scarcity,” where participants shared their inspiring experiences on the sustainable management of water, policy messages, and the way forward, with particular reference to enabling environment needed for sustainable use of water.
At the World Council held at the end of the day, Dr. Muhamed Boudra was elected as the new president of UCLG following the withdrawal of Mr. Ilsur Metshin, the second candidate for Presidency, as a result of mutual agreement and consensus, reached after extensive discussions and consultations with two candidates. In accordance with the election results, the new UCLG Presidency has been structured as follows:
Dr. Mohamed Boudra, Mayor of Al Hoceima (Morocco), President of the Moroccan Association of Presidents of Communal Councils
MEWA: Mohammed Saadie, Mayor of Deirnbouh (Lebanon), President of Union of Dannieh Municipalities, UCLG-MEWA President
ASPAC: Tri Rismaharani, Mayor of Surabaya (Indonesia), UCLG-ASPAC President
AFRICA: Armand Beouinde, Mayor of Ouagadougou (Burkina Faso), UCLG Vice President
NORAM: Bill Karsten, Councillor of Halifax Regional Municipality (Canada), President of the Federation of Canadian Municipalities
METROPOLIS: Michael Müller, Mayor of Berlin (Germany), President of METROPOLIS
FORUM OF REGIONS: Pablo Jurado Moreno, President of Consortium of Provincial Autonomous Governments from Ecuador (CONGOPE), UCLG Vice President
LATIN AMERICA: TBD
Johnny Araya, Mayor of San Jose (Costa Rica), UCLG Co-President
Uğur İbrahim Altay, Mayor of Konya (Turkey), President of Union of Turkish World Municipalities, UCLG Co-President
Jan van Zanen, Mayor of Utrecht (Netherlands), Chairman of the Association of Netherlands Municipalities (VNG), UCLG Co-President
Li Mingyuan, Mayor of Xi’an (China), UCLG Co-President
ThembisileNkadimeng, Mayor of Polokwane (South Africa), UCLG Co-President
Anne Hidalgo, Mayor of Paris (France), President of UCLG Standing Committee on Gender Equality
Madelaine Y. Alfelor-Gazman, Mayor of Iriga (Philippines), UCLG Treasurer
Berry Vrbanovic, Mayor of Kitchener (Canada), UCLG Deputy Treasurer
Ada Colau, Mayor of Barcelona (Spain), Special Envoy to the UN
Fernando Medina, Mayor of Lisbon (Portugal), Special Envoy for Local Development
Chairperson of the United Nations Advisory Committee for Local Authorities (UNACLA):
Ilsur Metshin, Mayor of Kazan (Russian Federation)
Recommendations and policy papers adopted at the Summit are expected to become a reference point for the development of future policies, advocacy and work plans of the Global Task Force of Local and Regional Governments and the World Organization of United Cities and Local Governments.
You can access the Durban Political Declaration and General Outcomes of the World Assembly of Local and Regional Governments here.
Photos of the UCLG Congress can be found at the following links: