Solidarity, care, peace and equality: the UCLG community's core commitments

Care at the heart of local service delivery for an inclusive recovery’ was the title chosen for the discussions at the 2021 UCLG Executive Bureau meetings, held on 18-20 May.

In light of the actions carried out by local and regional governments over the course of 2020, the first thematic session of the UCLG Executive Bureau this year was dedicated to the importance of international cooperation within the UCLG community. It looked at how the pandemic has forced us to reinvent ourselves and renew relationships with partners, national governments, the international community, and other actors. The meeting was followed by a presentation by the Financial Management Committee, which detailed the proposed budget for 2021 and membership applications.

The annual meeting of the UCLG Committee on Social Inclusion, Participatory Democracy and Human Rights was held on the first day, and it addressed concrete proposals such as city campaigns for human rights, initiatives to address violence against women and foster peace, as well as other issues related to the right to the city. The day was brought to a close with the session ‘From managing migration to a community-based approach to human mobility: towards the Lampedusa Charter’. The Executive Bureau used the session to discuss the Lampedusa Charter, in a consultation that sought to understand how each member can contribute to the process, as well as highlight initiatives by member cities such as Montevideo, Lampedusa, Fuenlabrada and Mersin, who will play leading roles in the process of drafting the Charter.

The second day of the Executive Bureau began with a High-Level Policy Dialogue on Digitisation, which showed how local and regional governments are understanding technology beyond the use of digital technology, and their efforts to ensure access for people and the planet during the aftermath of Covid-19. It was followed by a discussion by the Committee on Statutory Affairs on the roadmap for the Forum of Regions, as well as an External Evaluation of UCLG.

The UNACLA meeting brought the second day to a close, and included participants from Global Taskforce of Local and Regional Governments member networks, as well as the Executive Director of UN-Habitat, Maimunah Mohd Sharif. Chaired by the Mayor of Kazan, Ilsur Metshin, the session addressed the upcoming UN High-Level Meeting on the Review of the Implementation of the New Urban Agenda and Quito +5.

The Executive Bureau’s statutory session took place on Thursday 20 May. It was preceded by a High-Level Policy Dialogue on Health and a Policy Debate that addressed what “caring” means for UCLG leaders and the need to strengthen advocacy for essential common goods. The formal session of our Executive Bureau was chaired by UCLG Co-President and Metropolis member, the Mayor of Xi'an, Li Mingyuan, who highlighted UCLG's commitment to creating a world that integrates solidarity, care and equality. UCLG President, Mohamed Boudra, introduced the latest changes to UCLG's annual work plan. The upcoming UCLG Culture Summit in Izmir was also presented.

As a result of the fruitful discussions held during this session, some of the aspects that make up the new essential elements of UCLG were addressed: the Lampedusa Charter on Migration, the Policy Paper on Development Cooperation and UCLG's participation in the Generation Equality Forum.

The last part of the session aimed to build on these new essential elements to redefine UCLG's priorities: a territorial approach to the urban era; the redefinition of governance; the Emergency Governance Initiative (EGI) run jointly with Metropolis and the London School of Economics - LSE Cities; local financing; and the role of UCLG membership in relation to Quito+5 and the United Nations.

The meeting ended with UCLG members committing to peace and human rights in Palestine and Myanmar, and the need to incorporate young people.

The Executive Bureau is in charge of UCLG's administrative and financial management, and meets twice a year. Metropolis, as the Metropolitan section of UCLG, is represented by eight shared members: Bamako, Johannesburg, Bangkok, Barcelona Metropolitan Area, Berlin, Buenos Aires, Mexico City and Montréal.