The local and regional vision at the 6th UCLG Annual Retreat

The 6th UCLG Annual Retreat & Campus took place from 24 to 29 February in Tangier and brought together the political leaders and technical staff from the UCLG ecosystem, as well as its partners. The week-long meeting provided an opportunity to define synergies and develop actions in line with the work plan outlined during the last UCLG World Congress.

UCLG's Annual Retreat & Campus offers the opportunity to boost ties with all sections, committees, working groups and political councils of the organisation, identifying common goals and challenges and building a shared narrative. As UCLG's metropolitan section, Metropolis has played a prominent role in several panels, meetings, and discussions again this year. The event was an ideal occasion for Metropolis Secretary General, Octavi de la Varga, to present the work undertaken during 2019 and to share the priorities for 2020.

The Retreat was also the moment to present the different UCLG Waves of Action. Ms. Silvia Llorente, Project Officer for Metropolis Women outlined the work of Metropolis on public space and equal access to the right to the city through the Wave of Action on Safety and Public Space. She stated: “public spaces have been designed and conceived in general by and for the exclusive use of men, without taking into account women’s requirements, uses and perception of public space”. In this sense, she expressed the strong demand for the inclusion of women’s voices in urban planning policies, rethinking the city, its streets and public spaces to ensure a safe collective life, and guaranteeing mobility and accessibility to a wide range of marginalised citizens. Finally, the different UCLG sections were invited to participate in a collective mapping of good practices on the design of accessible and diverse urban public spaces.

UCLG Retreat

During the Retreat, the presence of the members of the International Organizing Committee of the World Forum on Cities and Territories of Peace (Mexico City, October 5-7, 2020) was seized to convene its 2nd meeting. Metropolis, as part of the organizing committee, contributes to build the narrative of the Forum. This year's edition will be the third of a world meeting that began in Madrid in 2017. The Forum is a multi-stakeholder and multi-level meeting designed to be a process of collective and horizontal reflection of the importance of building coexistence and peace in cities and territories.

One of the news during this 2020 Retreat was the introduction of the Local4Action Hubs as tools to promote and accelerate the localization of global agendas on the ground. In the framework of these tools, UCLG World Secretariat encouraged all members to develop global actions at the local level and concrete experiences on the ground. These initiatives should be based on existing activities and made visible internationally.

Another significant contribution during the meeting was the presentation of the UN75 initiative, a global conversation that United Nations has initiated on the occasion of its 75th anniversary. This action was launched to reflect on the future of multilateralism and its role in managing global threats and trends: climate change, demographic developments, new technologies, and inequalities. In this regard, UCLG confirmed its commitment to promoting the UN75 initiative, understanding that the local and regional governments will be at the heart of managing these challenges.

Overall, the Retreat was very fruitful for the Metropolis Secretariat General team to join activities related to the projects they coordinate, such as the Global Taskforce Annual Meeting and the Communication workshops and sessions, as well as to hold bilateral meetings with various officials of local governments that attended the event and represent Metropolis-UCLG joint membership.

Read the Tangier Declaration by clicking here.