The UCLG Presidency meets in Barcelona for the first time after the UCLG Congress


The first formal meeting of the recently elected Presidency – elected during the UCLG World Congress in Durban – was held over a two-day period at the UCLG World Secretariat in the heart of Barcelona. Local representatives from across the globe converged to discuss their visions, dreams, and plans of action for the World Organization during their tenure 2019-2022. This meeting was particularly relevant as it coincides with the beginning of the implementation decade, and seeks to consolidate our collective action and share objectives to bring the municipal movement to the next frontier.

On the heels of a productive meetings with both the UN Secretary General, and Under-Secretary-General, President Boudra and Secretary General Emilia Saiz shared the conversation held with the UN leadership and the interest of the UN in collaborating closer as the implementation decade kicks off.

We are in a very strong, diverse and complex organization. I compare it to a galaxy where there are stars of different colours, planets, groups, subgroups. It’s a complex galaxy which we are here to strengthen”. Dr Mohamed Boudra, President of UCLG, Mayor of Al-Hoceima, President of AMPPC

President Boudra opened the working session with an overview of the points of interest for the presidency. Divided into three areas (internal, external, and political), the President aimed internally to institutionalise the contribution of the Regional Sections to the definition and implementation of UCLG’s policies, and work to strengthen the financial basis, the governance, and the structure of UCLG.

Regarding the external area, the President shared his willingness to reinforce UCLG’s international status, by consolidating relationships with sister organisations and the civil society, and contributing to define the role of the Global Taskforce and UNACLA as we enter the implementation decade. Finally, President Boudra addressed the four pillars of the political axis of his presidency: namely solidarity -enhancing cooperation between local and regional governments and their associations; local finance -increasing the financial resources of local and regional governments; enhancing local public service through improving the human resources of local and regional governments; and embracing democracy through strengthening the monitoring work on the competences of local and regional governments.

The first day of the meeting, conceived as a working session, was devoted to share the political priorities, areas of interest and work plan for UCLG, putting special emphasis on equality, localization and public service provision, as well as the relation with the United Nations.

President Boudra expressed his belief that the priorities for the three years of his presidency fall in line with the priorities expressed by the members of UCLG at our World Congress in Durban, and commended the Work Plan for the year 2020, in which he felt all of these priorities had been identified and worked on.

Thembisile Nkadimeng, Mayor of Polokwane, President of the South African Association of Local Authorities (SALGA) and Co-President of UCLG, stressed UCLG’s commitment to the progress of humanity as a whole and to the preservation of the environment, “through cooperation, collaboration, unity and solidarity. The involvement of our Organization in favor of development agendas and their localization allows us to build bridges and act for the common good. Promoting partnerships to advance the implementation of the SDGs, in particular SDGs 1, 2 and 4, will be essential and requires urgent concerted action”.

Uğur İbrahim Altay, Mayor of Konya and Co-President of UCLG, stressed that, “the main challenges for local and regional governments in my region include migration and social cohesion, the fight against climate change, urban resilience and local development and governance. In this sense, it is crucial to strengthen the capacities of local and regional governments to support them in developing inclusive policies in favour of migrants, women, people with disabilities, children and youth and any vulnerable groups in the communities.”

 “The challenges that our citizens face every day, in terms of inequalities, right to housing, quality of jobs, access to education and the climate emergency in the urban era, make our action as local governments in the global level of high relevance. The municipalist movement needs to be an ally of the United Nations to act. I am committed to support from the UCLG leadership enhancing the voice of UCLG and its members”. Ada Colau, Mayor of Barcelona, and UCLG Special Envoy to the United Nations

The second day of the meeting focused on the strengthening of the UCLG World Organization, the climate emergency, localization, more effective collaboration, all underscoring a shared determination and commitment to the transformation of our territories and cities.

The main goal is for UCLG to be one step ahead of the problems that arise in our cities” –Evgenia Lodvigova, Vice-Mayor of Kazan

Strong messages came also from the Treasury: Berry Vrbanovic, Mayor of Kitchener, stated that, “local governments are more relevant than ever, being integral actors in the quality of daily life of citizens via the services they provide. Thanks to our World Organization, we have a united voice and are a force to be reckoned with in the international community.”

For her part, Madelaine Alfelor, Mayor of Iriga highlighted that ”We have to prove to our people that we are resilient.  The challenges are not faced by big cities alone, but also by small towns like Iriga. The responses need to come also from us. Hopefully even a small city, such as Iriga, can help the entire world — to help UCLG”.

The two-day event was closed by President Boudra,who shared his whole-hearted willingness to make this Presidency the most successful yet.