New Years message from UCLG Secretary General


A message from Emilia Saiz, Secretary General of UCLG

Dear UCLG Members and Partners,

2018, my first year as Secretary General, has been a thrilling experience, in which I witnessed how the team at the World Secretariat has endeavored to better connect with our membership.

In addition, this year helped us to be more open with our partners and more creative in developing a meaningful agenda that can foster and shape the dreams of the women and men that lead us.

I would like to thank the unwavering commitment of the Presidency, Governing Bodies and members who inspire our actions. I need to further thank the colleagues working at the UCLG Sections, Committees, Fora and Working Groups for the indispensable support that they bring to all of us at the World Secretariat. 

Along 2018 I have become increasingly convinced that United Cities and Local Governments has a critical role to play in opening the path to the transformation of our societies. We need to design the spaces for dialogue and policy definition around the deep changes that out governance systems will need in order to respond to the expectations of the communities.

The bold step to put the 2030 agenda at the heart of our strategy has allowed us to address critical urban questions in an integrated manner, and has further enabled us to identify key strategies to be developed by the World Organization. We are privileged to enjoy a leadership that has provided us with great attention and has allowed us to make important steps forward in the dialogue with the international institutions and partners, but also in the dialogue among ourselves.

The efforts that are being made by UCLG members around the World to address global challenges while ensuring the livelihoods of the people in cities, towns and regions, have deepened my conviction that the local-global divide is no longer feasible and that local visions and experiences need to play a much clearer role in finding solutions for the future we want: a future in which inequalities do not have a place anymore, that is harmonious with our planet and one that is not just for us but for the future generations.

Allow me to reinstate what the President’s New Year Message has already laid out: equality, local finance, the agenda of intermediary cities, the need to revisit local democracy, the role of local governments in building peaceful societies, as well as constructing a new narrative on migration are but a few areas in which our Organization has placed a special emphasis this year.

2019 will culminate with the Local and Regional Governments Summit. The celebration of the global municipal movement that will take place in Durban, South Africa from the 18th to the 22nd of November will be the place to jointly shape our agenda and our priorities. We hope that Durban will be the scene in which we present to the world the renewed type of leadership that can make future generations thrive; one that will help us shape the intergenerational dialogue that builds a peaceful and sustainable world, with all and for all.

Allow me to share with you, on behalf of the women and men at the World Secretariat, our resolve to materialize your policy priorities, because cities listen and they need to be listened to!

On behalf of the team at the World Secretariat, I would like to wish you all a very Happy 2019!