Coverage of the UCLG World Council – Day 1


Thursday, October 26  – Konya welcomes UCLG to its World Council

From 26-28 October 2023, the World Council of United Cities and Local Governments is taking place in Konya, under the title “Envisioning the Future”.  The debates during the week will take stock of the work done throughout the year, in particular the unfolding of the Pact for the Future – Daejeon Political Declaration, and the renewal of the policymaking mechanisms. Over 100 local and regional representatives gathered, on the first day alone, in the discussions of the policy debates and statutory gatherings of the day.

The Policy Council opened with the celebration of two policy debates, under the mantle of the renewed Policy Council on the Right to the City: Reclaiming the Commons; and the Policy Council on Opportunities for All: Redefining Finance and Economies of Equality. The debate laid out their renewed priorities, building on the legacy of the work of the first edition of the Policy Councils.

The Future Envisioning Exercises (FEE) have accompanied the renewal of the UCLG Policy Councils by bringing partners from civil society, academia, and other stakeholders to inform the political priorities of the Councils. The sessions of the Policy Councils in Konya have thus maintained the spirit of partnerships of the FEEs, with representatives from partner organizations delivering recommendations to the policy councillors.

Mayor of Konya and member of the UCLG Presidency Uğur İbrahim Altay, opened the Policy debates and introduced the members of UCLG to the first World Council since our World Congress in Daejeon, and to the city of Konya, emphasizing the role of Konya as a city of tolerance and peace in painful times, and hoping that the feeling of unity and hospitality of the city would accompany the discussions during the week.

“We need to have collaboration and diversity in mind. The topics we discuss are coming from our heart, and I am sure our outcomes will contribute to the development of Humanity.” Uğur İbrahim Altay, Mayor of Konya, member of the UCLG Presidency.

In particular, the Policy Debate on the Right to the City addressed the cross-cutting themes of the management of crises and complex emergencies, redefining the role of communities, collective organization and cooperation, reshaping governance architecture, adopting a feminist, care-based and rights-based approach and promoting people-centred policy-making, all in view of transforming the economic and financial systems. The Policy Debate on Opportunities for All called on local and regional governments to engage in conversations with financial institutions; to develop a new model of cooperative governance with local and regional governments at the centre to ensure a new model of financing.

“In a world of growing inequality, where fewer and fewer people have access to what we consider necessary for life, our commitment to our citizens requires us to break with the status quo and ensure that human rights are respected through the right to the common goods” Mohamed Sefiani, Mayor of Chefchaouen, UCLG Special Envoy on Food Systems

“Dear Councilors, and dear colleagues, we are ready to act: to bring our voices to the SDG Stimulus to ensure that well-being is no longer measured to GDP; to a world that sees us as active stakeholders in transformation and not implementors of financial decisions. We have the commitment and the partnerships to make it happen.” Jan Van Zanen, Mayor of the Hague, Member of the UCLG Executive Presidency.

“The financial discussion is an eminently political discussion, and this is the discussion on how we finance care and the services we provide. That is why it is important that UCLG takes up the financial discussion through a renewed Policy Council, so that we do not stop dreaming.” Carolina Cosse, President of UCLG, Mayor of Montevideo.

The statutory track of the World Council began with the Financial Management Committee, which reviewed the financial state of the World Organization as we reached the end of the year, as well as the Committee on Statutory Affairs, which took stock of the state of affairs of the World Organization at the end of 2023, and acted as a moment to address the renewal of the policy consultation mechanisms of the World Organization as well as the work of the Standing Committee on Gender Equality. The session was facilitated by mayor Jan Van Zanen, with participation from members of the Presidency.

“The work of the Standing Committee on Gender Equality is to properly deal with questions of gender. To act towards SDG 5, promote representativity of women, of course, but also to enhance ownership within our World Organization”. Fatimetou Abdel Malick, Chair of the UCLG Standing Committee on Gender Equality, Co-President of UCLG, President of Nouakchott.

Two of UCLG’s regional sections, CEMR and Eurasia, held their caucuses during the day, with the aim of raising their priorities at the upcoming meetings of the World Council and Executive Bureau, which take place on Friday, 27 October. The Working Group on for Territorial Prevention and Management on Crises met to debate the ways in which the Organization could contribute to help the many populations in crises.