Fatma Sahin, UCLG-MEWA President and Mayor of Gaziantep, and Mohamed Saadieh, UCLG-MEWA Co-President and President of Union of Municipalities of Dannieh (Lebanon), visited UCLG-MEWA Secretariat General on 1 August 2016.

During the visit; many topics including UCLG-MEWA, its international position, and current developments happening in the region were discussed.

The meeting started with an opening speech made by Dr. Leyla Sen, UCLG-MEWA General Coordinator.  Among UCLG-MEWA Departments; Administrative and Financial Affairs, Projects, Public Relations and Press, and Relations with International Organizations made presentations on the visions of their departments.  Giving information on the new path to be followed by UCLG-MEWA from now on, Dr. Leyla Sen, UCLG-MEWA General Coordinator, announced that UCLG-MEWA prepared a survey for its members and prospective members, and that the results would be shared in due course.

The Power of the Local

Taking the floor during the meeting, Fatma Sahin, UCLG-MEWA President, commented on the coup attempt on 15 July 2016 in Turkey. Condemning all antidemocratic attempts and underlining the power of local governments, Fatma Sahin said that local governments should take responsibility in order to prevent these kinds of attempts.

“We should announce what is happening in the region to the world”

During her speech, Fatma Sahin, as the Mayor of a city that has been facing a refugee influx recently, mentioned also the recent developments and the refugee problem happening in the region.  Pointing out that organizing side events in major occasions will raise awareness in the world, Fatma Sahin said “We should announce what is happening in our region in to the world a better way. We should ensure these problems are placed in the world agenda. We should also prepare a separate work programme for this.”

“We Should Struggle for a Fairer World”

Stating that they work for a fairer world, President Sahin said “The struggle is continuing in every facets of life.  We should work for a fairer world. We should achieve our goals by working diligently”

“We Have Offered Our Homes to the Refugees”

Mohamed Saadieh, UCLG-MEWA Co-President and President of Union of Municipalities of Dannieh (Lebanon), put emphasis on the refugee influx happening recently.  Saying that they host the refugees in their own homes as they can’t send them to refugee camps in the Dannieh Region, Mr. Saadieh expressed his trust in UCLG-MEWA to carry out important projects for refugees.

“We Don’t Have Working Hours, We Only Have Duties”

Underlining the benefits of taking considerable steps in lobbying, Co-President Saadieh said: “We don’t have working hours, we only have duties. We have to work hard to make this organization more successful, and we will do so.”

“Unions of Local Governments Should not Work Alone”

After the presentations and speeches, Mehmet Duman, UCLG-MEWA Secretary General, talked about the vision of the organization and made a general evaluation on the UCLG  World Organization.

Expressing that a review of the membership fee system would be beneficial for the members and the organization itself, Mr. Duman emphasized that a review of working principals of the unions of local governments is also necessary. Mr. Duman added: “The unions of local governments should not work alone. I believe that working in the same region for the same goals will provide us success in a short while.”


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