UCLG Retreat, organized by UCLG World Organization with the participation of the Sections and relevant stakeholders, took place in Tangier, Morocco between 24-28 February 2020. During the retreat, the strategy of the UCLG World Organization related to many different areas such as local finance, migration, equality and rights, local democracy, culture, localization of global agendas and local public services has been opened for discussion. Consultations, which lasted for four days, contributed to strengthening of the synergy between the Sections and World Organization and within the Sections themselves.
On the first day of the retreat, 24th of February, which was launched by the opening speech of UCLG President Dr. Mohamed Boudra, the decisions taken at the UCLG World Congress in 2019 were evaluated. The meeting of the UCLG Committee on Local Economic and Social Development, of which UCLG-MEWA is also a member, was also organized on the same day. The preparations for the World LED V (Local Economic Development) Forum were also discussed in this meeting. Also, the annual programs of activity, prepared by the relevant units, were shared with the participants on the first day.
The second day of the meeting started with the “Local Finance” session. In the session, of which Cemal Baş, Representative of Union of Municipalities of Turkey, which is a member of UCLG-MEWA, and Councilor of Keçiören Municipality was among the speakers, Madelaine Alfelor Gazman, Madelaine Alfelor Gazman, UCLG Treasurer and Mayor of Iriga (The Philippines) also addressed the attendees. The importance of the need for financing, especially in the fight against disasters, was among the prominent topics of the session. “Equality and Rights” and “Local Democracy” were among the other topics addressed iin the sessions. As part of this intense agenda, another meeting emphasizing the importance of local and regional governments in localizing global agendas was held under the moderation of CIB Working Group.
In the sessions of the third day, where localization was emphasized the most, started with the panel entitled “Accelerating Localization.” Localization of global agendas, which is at the center of UCLG-MEWA’s agenda, was the most popular topic of the program. During the session where Mehmet Duman, UCLG-MEWA Secretary General; Octavi de la Varga, METROPOLIS Secretary General; and Bernadia Irawati Tjandradewi, UCLG ASPAC Secretary General, were present, the strategic priorities of the sections were shared. Secretary General Duman presented the details of the UCLG-MEWA Strategic Priorities, namely Disadvantaged Groups and Equality, Fighting Against and Adapting to Climate Change, Local Economic Development, Migration and Social Cohesion, and Urban Resilience.
UCLG-MEWA General Coordinator Salim Korkmaz was one of the speakers in the sessions which continued on the second day of the program. Emphasizing that contact persons in municipalities are fundamental elements for strong coordination in the localization of global agendas, General Coordinator Korkmaz mentioned the activities carried out in Sultanbeyli Municipality and Izmir Metropolitan Municipality. As related to this, the presence of institutional coordination mechanisms in the preparation process of the Voluntary Local Review (VLRs) was shared with the participants based on the experiences of these two municipalities. In the presentation, Mr. Korkmaz also informed the participants that the final report of the Pilot Project on Mapping the SDGs in Turkey, conducted in 2019, had been finalized.
In the sessions held on the fourth day on 27 February 2020, besides the strategic priorities presented by UCLG-AFRICA and CEMR, the strategies on fighting against discrimination and gender equality were also discussed. During the sessions underlining that inequalities pose a threat to the atmosphere of democracy, it was emphasized that inequalities should always be taken into consideration especially in the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals. Secretary General Mehmet Duman shared migration-related works of the Organization with the participants in his presentation. Presenting the current situation in the MEWA Region related to refugees and migrants, Secretary General Duman also spoke about the Global Taskforce on Migration, formed under the coordination of UCLG-MEWA, and introduced the role of this mechanism. Preparations for the theme and methodology for the next issue of the GOLD Report, the fifth issue of which is themed Localization of Global Agendas, was also among the topics evaluated with the participants.
On the fifth and last day of the program, several sessions were held with the participation of representatives from UCLG Presidency. In these sessions, participants discussed the governance models that ensure the realization of the commitments. UCLG Retreat 2020 concluded with the closing speech of Dr. Mohamed Boudra, UCLG President.