Opening of UCLG World Council: 500 local and regional leaders contribute to the international sustainability debate



At the invitation of Matteo Renzi, Mayor of Florence, the City of Florence welcomes local and regional representatives from over 40 different countries gathered in the UCLG World Council from 9 to 11 December.


The Council was opened by Kadir Topbas, Mayor of Istanbul (Turkey) and President of UCLG, and by Matteo Renzi, Mayor of Florence. Matteo Renzi affirmed that cooperation between cities remains extremely important, notably through UCLG, the biggest network of local and regional authorities in the world. The Florence Declaration, affirming the core values of the cities around the world, was adopted.


In his opening address, the President of UCLG stressed that building governance from the bottom up will be crucial for the future of our planet. Our citizens are taking the streets demanding solutions. We the local and regional leaders will need to be engaged in the global solution that is being sought.


The discussions of the first day focused on the definition of the UCLG Strategy for the coming 6 years and paid particular attention to the contribution of local and regional authorities to the international debate on sustainability around Rio+20.


Brice Lalonde, Executive coordinator for Rio +20 has emphasized the need to include local and regional authorities in the international sustainability debate.


In preparation towards the World Water Forum to take place in Marseille in 2012, a memorandum of understanding was signed between the World Water Council and UCLG. Loïc Fauchon, President of the World Water Council highlighted the importance of the collaboration between both institutions.


The gathering counts with the presence of mayors from cities around the world such as Rabat, Dakar, Paris, Stuttgart, Sevilla and with the participation of numerous mayors of Italian cities. It further brings together private partners and key international partners: representatives of Cities Alliance, UNFCCC (the United Nations Climate Change Conference) and OECD.


During 30 work sessions, covering topics from aid effectiveness to social inclusion, UCLG members have unique networking opportunities and are able to exchange on public-private initiatives on specific topics such as energy, mobility and water provision. Formal sessions of the Executive Bureau and of the World Council take place on Sunday 11th December.


The Council will be chaired by Kadir Topbas, Mayor of Istanbul (Turkey) and President of UCLG, and by the Co-Presidents Antonio Costa, Mayor of Lisbon (Portugal), Muchadeyi Masunda, Mayor of Harare (Zimbabwe), Ilsur Metshin, Mayor of Kazan (Russia), and Ted Ellis, Mayor of Bluffton (USA), Treasurer. 



United Cities and Local Governments (UCLG) is the biggest organization of local and regional governments in the world, present in 140 countries. UCLG represents and defends the interests of local governments on the world stage, regardless of the size of the communities they serve. UCGL’s mission is to be the united voice and world advocate of democratic local self-government, promoting its values, objectives and interests, through cooperation between local governments, and within the wider international community.


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