5th Ordinary Congress of UCLG-MEWA was held in Gaziantep, Turkey, on 19th April 2016, under the auspices of Gaziantep Metropolitan Municipality. Yalçın Akdoğan, Deputy Prime Minister of Republic of Turkey, and Ali Yerlikaya, Governor of Gaziantep participated in the opening of the Congress, along with many other international guests.
The Congress started with the opening speech by Mehmet Duman, UCLG-MEWA Secretary General. In his speech, Mr. Duman pointed out the problems in the MEWA region, and said that “according to the official numbers, Gaziantep is hosting around three hundred and fifty thousand Syrian immigrants. I express my thanks to the representatives of the local authorities in Turkey, Lebanon and Jordan, which are hosting the immigrants in this humanitarian tragedy. I wish that these problems in the MEWA region and the world will come to an end.”
Seyed Ali-Mohammad Mousavi, D-8 Secretary General, who made his speech after Mr. Duman, stated that their cooperation with UCLG-MEWA will continue. Yalçın Akdoğan, Deputy Prime Minister of Republic of Turkey underlined the fact that development and democracy start at the local level.
Amendments to the UCLG-MEWA Consititution was made in the Congress, in accordance with the UCLG Constitution. The governing bodies of UCLG-MEWA was also re-structured in the Congress. In this framework, Fatma Şahin, Mayor of Gaziantep was elected as the UCLG-MEWA President. Following UCLG-MEWA Co-Presidents were elected as well:
- Mohamed Saadieh, President of Union of Dannieh Municipalities, Lebanon
- Burhanettin Kocamaz, Mayor of Mersin, Turkey
- Hussein Bani Hani, Mayor of Irbid, Jordan
- Moussa Hadid, President of APLA (Association of Palestinian Local Authorities), Palestine
- Sadegh Najafi,Mayor of Tabriz, Iran
Adnan Köşker, Mayor of Gebze (Turkey) was elected as the UCLG-MEWA Treasurer, and Hayri İnönü, Mayor of Şişli (Turkey) was elected as the UCLG-MEWA Ombudsman.
Besides, the UCLG-MEWA Promotional Film, which was made public for the first time during the congress was welcomed by the participants.
The side events within the framework of the UCLG-MEWA Congress continues in Gaziantep, with the “Migration, Culture and Gastronomy Summit”. The program will be concluded on 21 April 20*16, with the cultural visits.