Coverage Policy Debate Right to the City: Reclaiming the Commons



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 the Right to the City and Inclusive Territories and the path towards placing the Commons at the centre

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 the Right to the City and Inclusive Territories to initiate the conversation around the common goods and feeding the debates around the New Essentials, and to place the right to the city at the centre of the work of UCLG, with milestones such as the Declaration of Cities for Adequate Housing.

Mayor of Chefchaouen and UCLG Special Envoy for Food Systems Mohamed Sefiani facilitated the policy debate, setting the stage for the new era of the Policy Council, and Mehmet Duman, UCLG MEWA Secretary General presented 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.

“In a world of growing inequality, where fewer and fewer people have access to what we, as local and regional governments, 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 commons.” Mohamed Sefiani, UCLG Special Envoy on Food Systems, Mayor of Chefchaouen.

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

Carlos Cuadrado Prats, Mayor of Huechuraba, presented the renewed priorities of the Policy Council, a brief roadmap that places the focus on the realization of the new essentials, with innovative public services at the centre, which are the commons that our constituency needs to protect. The Council, he stated, will need to continue strengthening the link between the Commons and Human Rights through the Right to the City, all the while pushing for a stronger agenda on Culture as the backbone of the Commons and debate views on how to build stronger partnerships and tailor-made solutions to unlock the potential of subsidiarity.

“Local and regional governments have a historic moral responsibility to transform. The time for analysis is over, we have to move to action”, Carlos Cuadrado, Mayor of Huachuraba.

The Policy 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 the Mayor of Chefchaouen Mohamed Sefiani, Mayor of Huechuraba Carlos Cuadrado, President of Nouakchott Fatimetou Abdel Malick, Governor of Kisumu Anyang’ Nyong’o, and Vice Mayor of Kazan Evgeniya Lodvigova. 

The session wrapped up with a joint commitment to reinforce the multilateral system by putting commons at the centre of it. Through alliances with key partners such as the United Nations Population Fund, and the Global Platform for the Right to the City, as well as the renewed consultation mechanisms, the UCLG Policy Council will build on the outcomes of the debate and the Future Envisioning Exercise to ensure