During the Executive Bureau and the World Council meetings in Haikou, members of UCLG debated the key issues that will define the international global agenda for local and regional leaders in the coming year. Around 400 representatives of local and regional authorities and their partners from 49 countries came together on this occasion.
UCLG Co-Presidents Chen Jianhua, Mayor of Guangzhou; Ilsur Metshin, Mayor of Kazan; Jacqueline Moustache-Belle, Mayor of Victoria; as well as Fatallah Oualalou, Mayor of Rabat and Treasurer of UCLG, Berry Vrbanovic, Mayor of Kitchener and UCLG Deputy - Treasurer, and the UCLG Vice-presidents Annemarie Jorritsma-Lebbink, Mayor of Almere, and Aisen Nikolaev, Mayor of Yakutsk, stressed the vital importance of political involvement from Mayors around the world in developing the strategy and defining the roadmap for 2015. The Mayor of Haikou, Ni Qiang, further stressed the importance of this meeting that marks the 10th anniversary of the World Organization.
Members of the Presidency also highlighted that 2015 “will be a year of an unprecedented concentration international decision-making processes, covering a wide range of key topics for the agenda of local and regional governments. Furthermore, 2015 is also the year in which UCLG will sign a Strategic Partnership Agreement with the European Union, which marks a new phase in the relations between both institutions, as well as the acknowledgment of local governments in European policy.”
The Mayor of Guangzhou stressed the special relationship between Chinese local governments and UCLG, and the commitment of ASPAC to contribute to the global agenda of local governments and to promote learning and innovation.
The international agenda, with events on Gender Equality (Beijing+20), Disaster Risk Reduction in March, the World Water Forum in April, Financing for Development in July, the Post-2015 Development Agenda in September and Climate Change in December (COP 21 in Paris), will be essential to the development of the Global Agenda of Local and Regional Governments, and towards Habitat III.
Ni Qiang, Mayor of Haikou, highlighted that the city “was very committed to contributing to UCLG agenda, and that he was conscious that by bringing UCLG to his city he brought the world to Haikou”.
In the days preceding the World Council, more than 10 sessions – including the meetings of UCLG’s Committees and Working Groups – took place, focusing on promoting learning on themes that will be the cornerstones of UCLG’s contribution to the global development agenda.
The work of the World Council has resulted in rich exchanges on various topics, including local economic and social development, the provision of local public services and reducing inequalities, among others. Organized prior to the World Council, the policy debate in a round table format addressed the issue of Local Public Service Provision: Key towards bridging inequalities.
The members of the UCLG World Council celebrated the establishment of the partnership with the European Union. They recognized the great opportunity and responsibility that this structural partnership implies as it is a strong sign that recognizes UCLG’s role as an umbrella organization, as well as a convener and facilitator of the different voices of local and regional governments before the international community.
Members further applauded the consolidation of the Global Taskforce as a joint mechanism to bring the constituency together.
As the World Council adopted the 2015 Work Plan and given the preparations towards Habitat III, members highlighted the great weight carried by UCLG as the inheritor of a century-old movement and of the First World Assembly of Cities and Local Authorities (WACLA). They stressed the need to build on the legacy of Habitat II and request a special role for local and regional governments as a sphere of government. The Council further agreed to convene the second World Assembly on the occasion of the UCLG World Congress and Habitat III Conference in 2016.
The World Council recalled that solidarity is at the core of its movement and at the proposal of the African Section of UCLG, the World Council adopted a resolution expressing the solidarity of the organization with local governments suffering from the Ebola pandemic, and called on members to demonstrate their active solidarity with affected populations.
It was also recalled that the United Nations declared 2014 the International Year of Solidarity with the Palestinian People. The World Council joined these commemorations and expressed its solidarity with local governments and the people of Palestine.
The Mayor of Quito, Mauricio Rodas, was elected as Co-President and was entrusted to strengthen the presence of UCLG in Latin America; a region where the urban agenda is of crucial importance, and where lessons learned from local and regional policies are references for other parts of the world. UCLG World Council renewed Josep Roig's term as Secretary General for three years.
The Executive Bureau will be held in Porto Alegre, Brazil, in June 2015 at the invitation of the city’s Mayor, Jose Fortunati. The World Council in 2015 will be held in Paris, France, in the framework of the 2015 Paris Climate Conference (COP 21), at the invitation of Co-President Anne Hidalgo, Mayor of Paris.
Following the Council, most participants attended the Ceremony of the Prize for Urban Innovation on 27 and 28 November in the city of Guangzhou, co-organized by UCLG, Metropolis and Guangzhou.