UCLG World Council took place on 16-18 November 2021 in Barcelona, Spain, under the theme “Smart Cities and Territories, Pillars of the Common Agenda” in the context of the Smart City Expo World Congress, of which UCLG is a strategic partner. Organized in a hybrid format, the World Council brought together a great number of mayors and councilors to shape the work plan and strategic priorities of the organization. Representing the MEWA region, Mohamed Saadie, UCLG-MEWA President; Mehmet Duman, UCLG-MEWA Secretary General, Uğur İbrahim Altay, Mayor of Konya, UCLG Co-President; and Salim Korkmaz, UCLG-MEWA General Coordinator, participated in the meetings.

On Monday, November 15, the Financial Management Committee Meeting and the Presidency Meeting took place, where UCLG Treasurer Berry Vrbanovic provided updates on the financial state of the World Organization. The Council officially started with the opening remarks of Dr. Mohamed Boudra, UCLG President,  putting emphasis on the vision of placing communities at the center in the post-COVID world. Also, Ms. Emilia Saiz, Secretary General of UCLG, briefed the participants about major achievements of the Executive Bureau during 2021.

Tuesday, November 16, witnessed the meetings of the Committee on Statutory Affairs, World Forum of Regions: Opening Session and Innovation Panel, and UCLG Executive Bureau. The statutory sessions revolved around discussions on the way forward for the leadership of UCLG after the resignation of Mr. Boudra as well as the updates on the Daejeon World Congress set to take place in 2022. During the sessions, UCLG-MEWA President Mohamed Saadie brought to the attention of the Executive Bureau especially the ongoing crisis in Lebanon and financial challenges faced by the Lebanese municipalities in the delivery of basic services. The Council also welcomed the participation of high-level representatives from the UN, one of whom was Volker Türk, Assistant Secretary-General for Strategic Coordination in the Executive Office of the UN Secretary-General. Mr. Türk highlighted that collaboration is key to make our shared objectives a reality.

On Wednesday, November 17, the World Forum of Regions: Roadmap – Strengthening the Voice of Regions, Smart Cities and Territories – Pillars of the Common Agenda, and UCLG World Council Policy Debate & Business Session were held. During the UCLG World Council Policy Debate & Business Session, it was agreed that a collegiate Presidency would succeed Mr. Boudra until the next UCLG World Congress, which would count on the shared knowledge and experience of Ilsur Metshin, Mayor of Kazan, as Governing President; Li Mingyuan, Mayor of Xi’an; Madelaine Alfelor, Mayor of Iriga; Carlos Martínez, Mayor of Soria; Johnny Araya, Mayor of San José; Uğur Ibrahim Altay, Mayor of Konya; Berry Vrbanovic, Mayor of Kitchener; Ada Colau, Mayor of Barcelona; Anne Hidalgo, Mayor of Paris; and Jan Van Zanen, Mayor of the Hague.

The final day of the UCLG World Council saw the closure of the World Forum of Regions with the presentation of its declaration. Introducing the session, UCLG Co-President Uğur Ibrahim Altay pointed out that the UCLG Forum of Regions is essential for the renewal of the social contract, setting a key roadmap and showing the importance of a territorial approach to localizing global agendas.

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