Under the theme "The Role of the International Municipal and Regional Movement in COVID Times", it gathered local and regional leaders and experts from across the world.
"We are not talking about development and recovery, but about the future of our planet. Start building from the local level and put climate at the center."
With this statement, Maimunah Mohd Sharif, Executive Director of UN-Habitat, captured many of the sentiments echoed throughout the discussions held during the UCLG World Council 2020. The Council, held virtually due to the COVID-19 pandemic, took place from 9-13 November 2020 and was hosted by the city of Guangzhou, China.
On 12 November, the High-Level Policy Dialogue on Ecological Transition in the context of post-COVID debated how global policy generation processes can adapt for the post-COVID era, including how to take the needs of the ecological transition into account. It also discussed local governments' role in these processes, and possible synergies that could be achieved. Key moments in this Twitter thread:
The policy debate on addressing inequalities in light of COVID-19 examined local governments' role in creating equitable pathways for building back better post-COVID-19. Panelists lamented that COVID-19 had exacerbated existing inequalities, and said "radical change" will be needed to overcome these.
The final day of the UCLG World Council, held on the one-year anniversary of the UCLG World Congress 2019, focused on the COVID-19 recovery and the path forward in a post-COVID era. On behalf of the International Observatory on Participatory Democracy, José Ribeiro, Mayor of Valongo, Portugal stated "Hope is the strongest vaccine against fear," which echoed the outlook of many participants as they discussed the important role local government will play in the transition to a just, equitable, resilient, sustainable post-COVID era.
The Policy Debate on Leading the Way to Recovery: Toward a New Pact for the Future discussed what recovery from COVID-19 means for cities and local governments, addressed what a post-COVID-19 recovery will look like and articulated what the key priorities are. Antonio Guterres, UN Secretary-General, in a video message, called for putting local cities and government at the center of a sustainable, inclusive, resilient world for all. Panelists highlighted access to services to build resilient societies, collaboration among all spheres of government, and the role of environmental degradation on societal health.
The IOPD, as UCLG's consultation mechanism on Local Democracy, is engaged in and committed to the strategy and work plan outlined in the UCLG World Council 2020.
Source and more information:
IISD/ENB coverage of the UCLG World Council 2020 | 12-13 Nov 2020
UCLG World Council 2020 - Guangzhou | UCLG
Local, Regional Governments Key to Harnessing Urbanization’s Transformative Power, Secretary-General Tells World Council of United Cities