Convening its members and stakeholders between February 19-23, 2024, United Cities and Local Governments (UCLG) World Organization organized UCLG Retreat & Campus to address annual policies and strategies via thematic sessions. Held in Barcelona, Spain, the event hosted more than 300 members and stakeholders to negotiate on the strategies of the following period.

On the first day of the event, UCLG Presidency: Action on Joint Objectives for 2024 took place under the leadership of Uğur İbrahim Altay, Mayor of Konya and UCLG President. Titled The Power Uniting Us, the following session started by a greeting from Emilia Saiz, UCLG Secretary General. During the session, Maimunah Mohd Sharif, the former Executive Director of the United Nations Human Settlements Program (UN-Habitat), was declared as the honorary member of UCLG due to her commitment in localization.  Drawing attention to the injustice faced, Altay said, “We should be the voice of the voiceless, and speak in the name of whole humanity. Speaking of women’s rights, we should take those experienced in Gaza into consideration; if not, we should check our hearts and conscience.”

Organized under the theme, “Global Task Force Day” the second day of the retreat started with the Global Task Force Meeting, which was designed to address Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) and SDG Rescue Plan. Simultaneously, a field visit was organized to Can Battlo, an example of Good Practice on public space. On the other hand, the program offered thematic sessions on multilateralism, building peace and public spheres.

Run with the theme “Factory of the Future” the third day of the event included sessions titled “Lampedusa Charter Policy Lab,” “Localization Trends: Fostering a Theory of Change,” and “Localizing the New Agenda for Peace.” Speaking at Marketplace Session, Junaid Rafiq, UCLG-MEWA Research Officer mentioned #ResilientMEWA vision and touched on the importance of Trabzon Resilience Declaration.

Designed to elaborate on the sustainable development goals while promoting the key political agendas, the fourth day of the retreat offered Local4Action session, through which UCLG Facilities were addressed. Speaking at the session, Dr. Mehmet Duman, UCLG-MEWA Secretary General summarized UCLG-MEWA’s activities on SDG Localization. Underlining that culture has a prominent role in building future, Duman added, “As anticipated by UCLG, we strongly encourage that Culture should be enlisted in SDGs as the SDG 18, to fill the gap of Culture and Heritage.”

In the sequel, UCLG-Women session took place to address women’s rights in global crises and the role of violence against woman in decision-making. With the Care Systems session, on the other hand, the program focused on the need for revisiting social contract in urban and region scale, with an aim to enhance justice and sustainability in urban life.

On the last day of the event, a closing session was held with the theme of The Power of We.

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