Message from the UCLG Special Envoy to the UN on the occasion of the 75th Anniversary of the UN


Our municipal movement has more than 100 years of history. As early as 1913, the first international conference of cities was convened, of which the World Organization of United Cities and Local Governments is heir.

From UCLG we are convinced that city diplomacy is transformative, supportive, based on solidarity, and collaborative, and that is why multilateralism is natural to us and vital to the transformation of the planet.

The COVID-19 pandemic has functioned as a magnifying glass highlighting those aspects which we were already lagging behind on at the global scale. In this context, it is very relevant to actively ensure the inclusion of local governments in discussions on the future of multilateralism that the United Nations has convened on the occasion of the 75th anniversary and which will be framed in the context of COVID.

United Cities and Local Governments is and will remain committed to leading this discussion with all networks and from all regions of the planet. In a context of unprecedented and universal challenges, the work of local and regional governments with and within their networks is at the forefront of efforts to overcome these challenging times, as allies with other areas of government, the scientific community and as global actors with significant transformation and convening power.

Our membership is well aware of these challenges, and has developed a number of measures, and our decalogue to the post-COVID 19 era contains the key issues to be discussed for transformation. Cities, and local and regional governments, are demonstrating that there are other ways to care for their populations that do not fit traditional models, and they must lead the discussion for this transformation.The recommendations of the UCLG decalogue are an integral part of how local and regional leaders see the future and the solidarity shown by local and regional leaders thus contributes to the UN75 dialogue, while also responding to the UN Secretary-General’s call for solidarity.

We thank the UN Secretary-General for instructing UCLG to make a visionary report on the world that local and regional governments imagine in 2045 and above all on the inclusive and networked multilateralism that will have to exist in the future.The current context has shown us that there are challenges that need global, coordinated responses. We need more multilateralism and not less, but we also need to know what we need from this multilateralism.

We need renewed multilateralism with a place for local and regional governments at the decision-making table. A multilateralism that understands the world as one and whose future is built on the aspirations of communities as one.

Cities, and local and regional governments and their associations can ensure the link between communities and the global sphere through the provision of public services, which promotes proximity models of production and consumption.

We believe that the renewal of the multilateral system should go hand in hand with an intercity system that builds on a system of cities that guarantees urban and rural linkages.

Our constituency is organized and set to contribute to achieving the global goals, but also to encourage inclusive transformation and showing the diversity of our planet. Today’s discussions are a sign of our conclusions, our aspirations and our commitments. As Special Envoy and on behalf of the Presidency and the network, we are at your disposal to continue this conversation and recall that the world today needs more United Nations than ever before, and that the United Nations has cities as its main allies.