The Latin American membership meets on the first day of the UCLG Executive Bureau


Under the theme “Latin American Unity: Municipalist Strength”, close to 100 representatives of local and regional governments, local and regional government associations and networks from Latin America met as part of the UCLG 2024 Executive Bureau. The Bureau had a moment to celebrate the city of San José as the “capital of municipalism”, with Mayor and UCLG Co-President Johnny Araya celebrating FLACMA’s role as an interlocutor of Latin American municipalism. 

“Our FLACMA network has played a very important role during all these years and I have been part of this organization since its foundation, making it a protagonist for many years. We are proceeding to a necessary change in the presidency of the organization that will allow FLACMA to begin a process of renewal to face the challenges of the future”- Johnny Araya, Mayor of San José, and Co-President of UCLG.

The FLACMA Bureau renewed the Section’s Presidency, with Kelvin Cruz, President, Dominican Federation of Municipalities, taking over as President from San José Mayor and UCLG Copresident Johnny Araya.

“It is a great commitment for me to take on the agenda promoted by Johnny Araya to strengthen FLACMA, international relations and its leadership together with UCLG. We are going to accompany them in teamwork for a stronger, more representative and far-reaching FLACMA. Only with unity can we have an institution that reaches further to transform our territories”. Kelvin Cruz, Mayor of La Vega, President of FLACMA

The President of UCLG mentioned the vital importance of uniting for democracy, social cohesion, and justice, and praised FLACMA’s role within the organization as General Secretariat of the Latin American Section. “At a time when the world is going through such complex times, the unity of the municipalist movement is more important than ever. We have to unite for democracy, for social cohesion and for justice that leaves no one and nowhere behind.” – Uğur İbrahim Altay, Mayor of Konya, President of UCLG

“Today we met with Secretaries General of UCLG MEWA, UCLG Eurasia, UCLG Latin America, CCRE-CEMR and Metropolis, with all UCLG networks, to renew alliances and strengthen the commitment of our Federation. Being a federation means being partners, working and learning together with everyone, and even doing advocacy as a group.” – Emilia Saiz, Secretary General of UCLG


The first day of the Bureau also saw a political consultation on the future of water, hosted by the Latin American Section of UCLG and with the participation of other parts of the network. The consultation sought to recover the visions, expectations and proposals of the participants to give content to the Declaration of Local and Regional Governments at the World Water Forum in Bali, and also to strengthen the local water agenda. 

The discussion was introduced and facilitated by FLACMA Secretary General Sergio Arredondo, and allowed us to align the organization’s approach with the different political and geographic realities of the UCLG membership. Given the growing importance of water in global discussions, with the milestone of the World Water Summit in 2023 and looking ahead to the World Water Forum to be held in Bali in May 2024, it is vitally important that they are considered. The discussion sought to lay the groundwork for talks at the UN and raise water as a human right. 

President of the National Union of Local Governments of Costa Rica, José Bernardino Rojas Méndez and President of the Dominican Federation of Municipalities Kelvin Cruz provided the welcoming words of the session, providing their support to the Declaration towards the Forum and reiterating the importance of advocating in unity to ensure the right to water.

The participants addressed the priorities set out in the Declaration, noting the importance of ensuring universal access to water, equipping local and regional governments to deal with water crises and protecting people’s access to water.

They also pointed out the importance of including women, young people and people in vulnerable situations in water governance to ensure that no one is left behind. Finally, the protection of ecosystems and biodiversity was identified as one of the main priorities of local and regional governments in water governance.

The first day of the Bureau also hosted the meeting of the National Associations of Municipalities of Central America and the Caribbean (CAMCAYCA), which addressed how to jointly reflect and shape public policies that support the development of municipalism in the region, as well as the Caucus of the European section of UCLG. The Union of Ibero-American Capital Cities (UCCI) also held a meeting of mayors from the subregion of Central America, Mexico and the Caribbean.

The “Sustainable Cities Costa Rica” seminar, led by the National Union of Local Governments of Costa Rica, and facilitated by their Executive Director Karen Porras, talked about sustainable innovation, governance and collaboration between municipalities, caring and integrating cities and other areas of need and opportunity for sustainable cities. An excellent opportunity to discover new approaches to apply to municipal management.

The second day of our Bureau will host the meetings of the Statutory Affairs Committee and the Financial Management Committee, and will see the formal inauguration of the Bureau.