The 7th UCLG Congress was held on 10-14 October in Daejeon, South Korea. The opening ceremony of the UCLG Congress was held on 12 October and was participated by former United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki Moon and the President of South Korea Yoon Suk-yeol, and also with significant participation by leadership of UCLG-MEWA and members from the MEWA region. Notably, Uğur Ibrahim Altay, Mayor of Konya (Türkiye) was elected as one of the Presidents of UCLG for 2022-2026 rotational term.
The Congress witnessed thematic panel discussions, meetings of Executive Bureau, World Council, General Assembly, Section Caucuses and Assemblies besides recreational and cultural activities. The main highlight of the UCLG Congress is the election of new Presidency and this year four different Presidents will lead UCLG World organization for a rotational term of one year each. The new rotating Presidency comprises of Carolina Cosse, Mayor of Montevideo (Uruguay) – Uğur Ibrahim Altay, Mayor of Konya (Türkiye) – Jan Van Zanen, Mayor of The Hague (The Netherlands) – Lee Jang-Woo, Mayor of Daejeon (South Korea). The Co-Presidency is composed of Johnny Araya; Mayor of San José, Altay Kulginov; Mayor of Astana, Li Mingyuan Mayor of Xi’an, Bekhe Stofile; President of the South African Local Government Association (SALGA), and the Berry Vrbanovic; Mayor of Kitchener, Fatimetou Abdel Malick, President of Nouakchott Region, is Co-President as the chair of the UCLG Standing Committee on Gender Equality. Asmaa Rhlalou, Mayor of Rabat was announced as the Treasurer for the UCLG. Yücel Yılmaz, Mayor of Balıkesir and President of UCLG-MEWA Committee on Culture and Tourism was elected as the Vice-Preseident.
The MEWA Caucus was held on 12 October and was co-chaired by Tayseer Abu Sneineh, UCLG-MEWA President, Co-Presidents and UCLG-MEWA Secretary General Mehmet Duman. The caucus was also participated by the Mayors of member municipalities and other representatives. The caucus aimed to discuss possible cooperation and widen the networks with global organizations and other sections of UCLG.
The MEWA Assembly was summoned on 13 October to discuss the difficulties faced by the cities in the region and possible solutions proposed by the member-participants, in addition focusing on multilevel governance, resilient cities, crisis management, climate change.
Mehmet Duman, also facilitated the session on ‘The Future of Food Systems,’ in which he emphasized on importance of providing sustainable and resilient food systems and preserving the resources to minimize the disruptions in food production and adverse climatic actions. Furthermore, He also attended a panel discussion titled as ‘Equality and Care,’ where he impressed upon the need of an International dialogue to combat the inequalities in relation with migration.
The UCLG congress concluded with the adoption of ‘Pact for the Future,’ a key outcome document of the 7th UCLG Congress that defines the Strategic Priorities for the Organization 2022 to 2026. The pact also known as The Daejeon Declaration, local and regional governments reinforce their readiness to join national and international partners to bring about meaningful change. Three political leaders have been appointed as Ambassadors for the Pact for the Future: Ada Colau, Mayor of Barcelona as Ambassador for the Future of People; Anne Hidalgo, Mayor of Paris as Ambassador for the Future of Planet; Yücel Yilmaz, Mayor of Balikesir as Ambassador for the Future of Government.