Highlights from the CIB Annual Meeting in Barcelona


The recent CIB Annual Meeting held in Barcelona from May 27-29 brought more than 50 representatives of local governments (LGs) and their associations (LGAs) to address pressing issues in local governance. Apart from the presentations of keynote speakers delivering insightful information, sharing case studies, highlighting best practices and engaging in dynamic group debates, three standout workshops were central in shaping the discussions: the development of a Gender Advocacy Tool for Local Government Associations (LGAs) and the exploration of Localization in Development Cooperation and Decentralized Cooperation and Climate Change related policies. 


Workshop #1:

CIB Gender Knowledge Hub – the development of a Gender Advocacy Tool for LGAs


The first workshop focused on the CIB Gender Knowledge Hub’s ongoing efforts to promote gender equality within LGAs. Since 2022, the CIB working group has developed an online repository offering a wealth of resources on gender, diversity, and inclusivity. 

The highlight of this workshop was the introduction of the newly developed “Toolkit to Mainstream Gender Equality in Local Government Associations (LGAs).”


This Toolkit provides comprehensive guidance for LGAs to embed gender equality into their operations. However, recognizing a gap in tools for gender advocacy, the session emphasized the need for specific resources to support LGAs in lobbying at the national level. The workshop aimed to:

Promote the existing LGA Toolkit. Discuss broader gender equality challenges faced by LGs. Identify capacity challenges encountered by LGAs in gender advocacy.

Participants engaged in meaningful discussions on effective gender advocacy strategies, contributing valuable insights for the development of a new Gender Advocacy Tool tailored to the needs of LGAs.


Workshop 2:

Localization in development cooperation and decentralized cooperation


The second workshop addressed the evolving concept of “localization” within global development. Historically associated with bringing public services closer to the people, localization has, since 2015, become closely tied to achieving the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. However, recent shifts in its interpretation have led to some confusion, with the term increasingly referring to national actors rather than local government institutions.

At the heart of this workshop was the discussion of how to reclaim and reinforce the role of local and regional governments (LRGs) in this context. Building on the UCLG-CIB policy paper adopted at the UCLG World Congress in 2022, the workshop focused on the following objectives:

Developing new methodologies to highlight how decentralized cooperation enhances local ownership in development projects. Encouraging structured dialogues and strategic partnership agreements between LRGs, LGAs, and national ministries.

The session facilitated robust discussions on enhancing local ownership and the importance of recognizing decentralized cooperation as a vital component of global development strategies.


Workshop 3 

Climate and resilience 


This workshop emphasized the critical role of local authorities in disaster preparedness and response amid rising natural and manmade disasters. Participants discussed the transition from immediate humanitarian responses to long-term recovery and reconstruction, covering key policies, CIB member initiatives, and best practices.

Judith Geerling, Regional Manager Europe – Asia – Latin America at VNG International presented the VNG Fund for Emergency Aid, Reconstruction, and Peacebuilding, highlighting the response to the Moroccan earthquake, where 38 municipalities pledged support, underscoring international municipal solidarity. Lessons included the effectiveness of local government cooperation and structured financial mechanisms.

Firdaous Oussidhoum (UCLG) discussed enhancing climate resilience through capacity building, multilevel coordination, and climate financing. She introduced the Coalition for High Ambition Multilevel Partnerships (CHAMP) to integrate local and global climate actions, stressing the need for empowering local public services, addressing the loss and damage agenda, and engaging youth via nature-based solutions.

Giacomo Negrotto (UNDP) highlighted the “staying and delivering” approach in crisis situations, focusing on coordination challenges and inclusive planning for local recovery. He introduced the Facility for Area-Based Solutions (FABS), showcasing local green and just initiatives in Georgia.




The CIB Annual Meeting in Barcelona underscored the critical roles of gender advocacy and localization in achieving sustainable development goals. Both workshops highlighted the necessity of tailored tools and strategies to empower LGAs and LRGs in their respective domains. By focusing on gender equality and the nuanced understanding of localization, CIB continues to lead the way in fostering inclusive and effective local governance.


Stay tuned for further developments and resources from these transformative initiatives as CIB members work collaboratively to promote gender equality and sustainable local development worldwide.