Coverage of Policy Debate Multilevel Governance: Regaining Trust



The Policy Councils were created in 2017 with the aim of providing an opportunity for political representatives to participate in the Organization’s policymaking and to have their views raised before the UCLG’s governing bodies. They usually meet twice a year in the framework of the UCLG statutory meetings to bring forward initiatives, ideas, and recommendations that enrich the policy ownership and the political debate within the Organization. 

During its first five years of existence, the Policy Councils introduced significant advances not only in the organization’s narrative – with substantive contributions to our agenda on the Right to the City or the New Urban Agenda, among others – but also in terms of innovative processes that have been key to the international positioning of the network, such as the UCLG Municipal Peace Talks. 

Where we are: The legacy of the Policy Council on Territorial Multilevel Governance and Sustainable Financing


In the era of the Pact for the Future – Daejeon Political Declaration, the renewed mandate is setting up the next stage of the UCLG Policy Councils. The session opened with a moment to take stock of the work done by the Policy Council on Territorial Multilevel Governance and Sustainable Financing. Rebuilding trust between communities and their institutions was considered a prerequisite to the renewal of the multilateral system, and this conclusion paved the way for the way in which the new Policy Council is taking shape: with trust and local democracy at the centre of multilevel governance instruments.

Councillor of Sala, Vice President of UCLG for Europe and UCLG Special Envoy for Freedom, Solidarity and Fighting Violence against Local Political Leaders, and Vice President of SALAR Carola Gunnarsson facilitated the session, setting the stage for the new era of the Policy Council, with Bernadia Tjandradewi, Secretary General of UCLG-ASPAC presenting the legacy: from the prior work of the Policy Council, to the relationship of the Pact for the Future – Daejeon Political Declaration with the renewed work of the Council.

“We are ready to act for a more enabling global environment that can foster trust and public services; to transform our institutions to place care at the centre and valuing the work of academia and the independent media to ensure citizens can, once again, trust their governments.” Carola Gunnarsson, Councillor of Sala, Vice President of UCLG for Europe and UCLG Special Envoy for Freedom, Solidarity and Fighting Violence against Local Political Leaders, and Vice President of SALAR. 

From pact to Act: The Future Envisioning Exercises feeding the priorities of the renewed Policy Council 

President of SALGA and UCLG Copresident Bheke Stofile, presented the renewed priorities of the Policy Council. Chief among them was the need to rebuild bridges between people and the institutions that serve them, and overcome the crisis of trust by renewing the social contract between communities and their people. The Policy Council will also build on the need to adopt a people-centred policy making, transforming our institutions to ensure a feminist way of governing, strengthen education and valuing the work of academia and independent media to ensure citizens can trust their governments.

“When we talk about regaining trust, we mean doing so between peoples, between citizens and institutions, and between leaders as well. We see that in a society with more information and knowledge than ever before, division, disinformation, manipulation and extremism are spreading as never before. It is imperative that we put multilevel governance and the recovery of trust at the heart of our agenda, and this policy council must be at the centre of this debate.” Bheke Stofile, UCLG Co-President, President of SALGA.

The Policy Council debate included a space for dialogue that built on the Future Envisioning Exercises, which are convened once a year to feed the priorities of the Policy Councils. The Agora segment of the Policy debate included the voices of Johnny Araya, UCLG Copresident and Mayor of San José; Pau Solanilla, Commissioner of International Relations of Barcelona; Yanina Pavlenko, Mayor of Yalta; Fang Liu, Vice-President of Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries of Changsha; and Feyzullah Gundogdu, Head of Eurasia Office, UITP

Wrap-up: Collective commitments towards the Summit of the Future

The session wrapped up with participants pledging to work, together with Town Hall Partners and the IOPD to transform multilateral tools to ensure greater representation of our communities, pledging to place local democracy at the core, and engaging in systemic change to build a more inclusive system in which our communities can feel fully represented.

Participants pledged to work with the rest of the Policy Councils, with trust as a critical entry point to face the climate and biodiversity emergencies; to protect the common goods; to rethink the financial systems to fund the services that communities need, and to link global decisions with local communities.