United Cities and Local Governments Middle East and West Asia Section (UCLG-MEWA) organized the Executive Bureau and Council Joint Meeting, in conjunction with the Global Task Force on Migration (GTFM) Annual Review Meeting on Thursday, November 11, 2021 under the auspices of Balıkesir Metropolitan Municipality, Co-President of UCLG-MEWA.

The program kicked off with the opening speeches.  In his opening speech, Mehmet Duman, UCLG-MEWA Secretary General, said that their priority was to address the issues that affect us both at the local and global levels within the context of Sustainable Development Goals, and to analyze the problems experienced in settlements of different scales, seek solutions, and present new opportunities in regional and global solidarity.

After the opening remarks of the Secretary General, Yücel Yılmaz, Mayor of Balıkesir and UCLG-MEWA Co-President, took the floor and emphasized that localization efforts to ensure the applicability of global agendas in cities should be carried out immediately without delay.

In addition to the members of the UCLG-MEWA, the  Executive Bureau & Council Joint Meeting hosted guests from many international organizations. In his opening speech, Eng. Ahmad Al Subaih, Secretary General of the Arab Towns Organization, stressed the importance of partnership and cooperation in achieving sustainable development goals to build a better future and resilient cities.

Emilia Saiz, UCLG Secretary General, participated in the opening session virtually. She said “We face health, climate and social emergencies, and inequalities are making people move around the world.  As a global network, we have the responsibility of promoting solidarity taking into account the most vulnerable and the youth.”

Later on, Mohammad Saadie, President of UCLG-MEWA, took the floor. He said: “We were able to turn the COVID-19 crisis and the following challenges into positive energy. We succeeded to work in solidarity at the local level and across the MEWA region.”

Uğur İbrahim Altay, Mayor of Konya, who participated in the meeting on behalf of the UCLG World Organization, noted that everyone should be guaranteed access to vaccine in our cities and all residential areas, regardless of countries being rich or poor, developed or underdeveloped.

Lastly, Şükrü Karatepe, President of the Presidential Board of Local Government Policies of Turkey took part in the opening session. Karatepe said: “There is the phenomenon of management in  cities. This necessitates the existence of law.  This is the main value that distinguishes cities from other settlements.”

The opening session was followed by the administrative session, where the issues such as past activities, membership movements, and the roadmap for the next period were discussed.  Also in the meeting, Atty. Ali Yıldırım Sezer, Mayor of Gölcük, was appointed as the Acting Treasurer of UCLG-MEWA.  Also, Hyungjong LEE, representative from the Daejeon Municipality, Korea, participated in the session virtually and made a presentation about the UCLG World Congress to take place in 2022 in the city of Daejeon and invited all UCLG-MEWA Members to participate in the Congress.

The next session focused on the activities of UCLG-MEWA Committees.  The activities of the Committees were shared with the members.  Also, during the meeting, Lea Busch, Engagement Officer at Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP), and Piero Remitti, Team Leader at EU support to Global Covenant of Mayors from Climate and Energy (GCoM), joined the session virtually and introduced their respective organizations and shared the ongoing activities with the members present at the Environment Committee Meeting.

The second part of the day witnessed the GTFM Annual Review Meeting, where the previous cycle of events of the Task Force were evaluated and next steps were discussed.  After the opening session of the Meeting, the event came to an end following the speeches of Louisa Vinton, Resident Representative of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in Turkey; Fatima Fernandez from the UCLG, and Salvatore Martello, Mayor of Lampedusa, Italy.

*You can access the photos of our UCLG-MEWA Executive Bureau and Council Joint Meeting here !

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