The 5th UCLG Annual Retreat & Campus took place from February 11 to 15 in Barcelona and brought together political leaders and the technical staff from members and partners of the Global Network of Cities, Local and Regional Governments. The five-day event was the yearly occasion for the community to reflect on shared priorities, as well as to define and coordinate joint work plans for 2019.
Since UCLG’s creation in 2004, Metropolis performs the role of its metropolitan section. UCLG’s Annual Retreats & Campus offer, therefore, the possibility to boost connections with all sections, committees, working groups and policy councils of the organization, identifying common goals and challenges and building a shared narrative. During this year’s edition, Metropolis was represented in different workshops, meetings and discussions, which opened up opportunities to present the latest outcomes of our projects.
The first elevator pitch of the Retreat was reserved to present the work led by Berlin to relaunch the Policy Transfer platform under the new name of use. With a new design and more accessible tools, use goes further in showcasing innovative and practical solutions to urban issues and in exchanging knowledge between city makers around the globe.
The event was also the occasion for the Secretary General of Metropolis, Octavi de la Varga, to launch a proposal of a new UCLG Wave of Action, dedicated to the subject of public space as a field with great potential to tackle gender inequalities. The Waves of Action are a mechanism proposed by UCLG to showcase and multiply the impact of the work of local and regional governments to implement the global agendas, learn from each other and track their progress towards the achievement of the global goals. Without establishing new institutional frameworks, the Waves of Action build on the already existing structures of UCLG and partners, and invite the broader participation of the general public, to synchronize thousands of local and regional actions worldwide. Inaugurated last year, the current Waves of Action are dedicated to the subjects of Migration and Housing. In addition to the Metropolis proposal, other two new Waves of Action are in the pipeline for 2019, about disaster risk reduction and local democracy.
According to Octavi de la Varga, the leadership of a Wave of Action on safety in public space with a gender perspective reinforces the commitment of Metropolis to foster metropolitan governance models that include a plurality of voices and develop inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable cities and communities. This proposal is also aligned with the latest Metropolis publication, “Safety and Public Space: Mapping metropolitan gender policies”, which was presented for the first time at the 5th UCLG Retreat & Campus as well.
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 workshops and sessions on Learning, Communications, Gender, Migrations, as well as to hold bilateral meetings with the various officials of local governments that attended the event and represent Metropolis-UCLG joint members.
Moreover, the occasion served to seize the presence of our members to convene the Metropolis Governance Committee and Regional Secretaries meetings, respectively on March 11 and 12. The Regional Secretaries and Governance Committee of Metropolis play an important role in shaping the basis of our joint work for the execution of the 2018-2020 Action Plan. The main topics addressed in these meetings were the work plan and schedule 2019 for the regions, the revision of the current statutes of the association and the preparation of the forthcoming Metropolis Board of Directors meeting.