UCLG-MEWA Committees, specializing in various thematic areas, convened virtually on January 29, 2024, to discuss achievements from the past year, laying the foundation for setting future goals and priorities.

 The meeting started with the opening speech of UCLG-MEWA Secretary General Dr. Mehmet Duman. Drawing the general outlines of the meeting, Dr. Mehmet Duman: “Through our committees, we lead our members who want to carry out their work on different themes to facilitate our local governments.” his words expressed the purpose of UCLG-MEWA Committees with his words.

Subsequently, Mayor of Al Khalil (Hebron) and UCLG-MEWA President Tayseer Abu Sneineh addressed the meeting from Palestine. Tayseer Abu Sneineh drew attention to the humanitarian crisis in Palestine’s Gaza Strip. On the other hand, he wished UCLG-MEWA to achieve its goals this year.

The meeting continued with Focal Point of UCLG-MEWA Committee on City Diplomacy and Local Governance, Junaid Rafiq’s presentation about the committee, which included topics such as “Quality of Urban Life, Localization of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), Territorial Planning, Resilient Governance, Decentralized Cooperation.”

After his presentation, Rafiq invited Abdalkarim Zubaydi, Mayor of Salfeet, President of Association of Palestinian Local Authorities (APLA), and UCLG-MEWA Committee on City Diplomacy and Local Governance. “We want the ongoing humanitarian crisis in the Gaza Strip to end as soon as possible. I invite everyone to take action for civilians.” With these words, Zubaidi called for help for the Gaza Strip.

UCLG-MEWA Committee on Culture and Tourism Focal Point Fatih Gökyıldız made the committee presentation on topics such as “Cultural Heritage and SDGs, Cultural Capacity Increasing, City Tours, etc.” and then he shared the work the committee has planned regarding local governments in 2024 with participants.

In her presentation as the Focal Point of UCLG-MEWA Committee on Environment, Reem Abusamra highlighted the issues of “Resilience and Environment, GCoM and Climate Change” and the projects carried out in this context. UCLG-MEWA Committee on Gender Equality’s Focal Point Beyza Çetin presented titles such as “Women’s Resilience, Local Participation, Increasing Communication with UCLG Women.”

UCLG Committee on Smart Cities and Urban Mobility Focal Point Sedrettin Konuk first explained the strategic priorities and activities of the committee, such as “Smart Cities and Resilience, Sustainable Transportation System, Digital Transformation in Cities.” In addition, Tehran Municipality Deputy Mayor for International Affairs  Hamidreza Gholamzade, who represented Tehran Municipality, which holds the position of the President of the UCLG-MEWA Committee on Smart Cities and Urban Mobility, said, “We supported every relevant work of the committee as its President, and we did our best to prepare for 2024.”

The topics of “Social Resilience, Human Mobility, Child Labour, Participatory Democracy and Advocacy at the United Nations Level” were discussed in the committee presentation by Yehia Ibrahim, the Focal Point UCLG-MEWA Committee on Social Inclusion. Ibrahim discussed his book Child Labour in the Middle East and West Asia. Thereupon, Union of Municipalities of Türkiye (UMT) Foreign Relations Manager Gülfem Keleş said: “As UMT, we carried out a comprehensive study on child labor. This research sheds light on important insights that can contribute to addressing and reducing child labor problems in our region.” she stated that UCLG-MEWA and UMT could cooperate on child labor with her words.

The “Open Microphone” section began after the Committee presentations, where participants expressed their opinions about the Committees. UCLG-MEWA Committees Presidencies and Members expressed their valuable opinions, especially the UCLG-MEWA Committee on Smart Cities and Urban Mobility, UCLG-MEWA Committee on Gender Equality, and UCLG-MEWA Committee on Social Inclusion. At the end of the event, it was notified that a different meeting regarding the committees will be held in the coming period.

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