The World Assembly of Local and Regional Governments and the Statement of the GTF to the UNHA2


On Thursday 8, June, the organized constituency of local and regional governments gathered within the Global Taskforce of Local and Regional Governments (GTF), facilitated by United Cities and Local Governments (UCLG), convened the World Assembly of Local and Regional Governments (WALRG).

The WALRG, officially acknowledged by the United Nations General Assembly in recognition of the role local and regional governments play in the implementation of the New Urban Agenda, counted with a high-level opening including Ms. Maimunah Mohd Sharif, Executive Director of UN-Habitat, Mr. Claudio Barbaro, Under Secretary of State at the Ministry of Environment and Energy Security (Italy), Mr. Berry Vrbanovic, Mayor of Kitchener (Canada) and Co-President of UCLG, Mr. Ilsur Metshin, Mayor of Kazan (Russia) and Co-chair of UNACLA, and Mr. José Elcio Batista, Deputy Mayor and Superintendent to the Institute of Planning of Fortaleza (Brazil).

The first segment of the World Assembly focused on transformative partnerships for quality and equitable local public service provision, in sight of the upcoming in-depth review of SDG 11 at the United Nations High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF). Chaired by Mr. Bekhe Stofile, Co-President of UCLG and President of the South African Local Government Association (SALGA), the interventions of Ms. Célestine Ketcha Courtès, Minister of Housing and Urban Development (Cameroon), Ms. Nora Vargas, Chair, First District, San Diego (United States of America), Ms. Iris Arroyo Herrera, Mayor of Puriscal (Costa Rica), Mr. Emil Dardak, Vice Governor of East Java Province (Indonesia) and Mr. Greg Munro, Director, Cities Alliance, provided concrete examples and insights on how policy guided by the SDG 11 framework is key to achieving all other SDGs, particularly in the realm of local public service delivery. The voices of national, regional and local governments as well as long-term partners proved again our commitment to eliminating poverty and making human rights tangible for all inhabitants and communities, including by protecting human mobility and fostering social inclusion

The second segment of the Assembly was titled “Localizing the SDGs to achieve the global agendas for sustainability in times of crises: towards the SDG Summit” and was chaired by Ms. Fabiana Goyeneche, Executive Secretary of Mercociudades, and International Relations Director of Montevideo (Uruguay). Diverse voices from both partners and local and regional governments were heard from Mr. Chris Williams, Director of UN-Habitat in New York,  Mr. Datuk Azhar Ahmad, Mayor of Seberang Perai City Council (Malaysia), Ms. Rosa Suriñach, Metropolitan Councilor of Barcelona Metropolitan Area, Mr. Xolani Sotashe, Councillor from Cape Town and member of the National Executive Committee of the South African Local Government Association (SALGA), and Ms. Adriana Allen, President of Habitat International Coalition. They reaffirmed local and regional governments are essential partners and drivers of progress towards the 2030 Agenda, where current policy crises highlight their frontline role and corresponding needs in terms of multilevel governance, devolution of powers, and resources.

The third segment focused on revitalizing multilateralism and geared the organized constituency towards the upcoming Summit of the Future in 2024. Chaired by Ms. Rohey Malick Lowe, Mayor of Banjul (The Gambia) and President of REFELA, the final segment focused on the importance of greater recognition of cities, territories, and our networks as political actors in a more representative, inclusive and efficient multilateral system. The interventions came from Ms. Melanie Grabowy, Mayor of Bonn (Germany), Mr. Yücel Yilmaz, Mayor of Balikesir (Turkey) and Ms. Shipra Narang Suri, Chief, Urban Practices Branch, UN-Habitat. Hence, crucial topics for the fulfillment of the 2030 Agenda and its core principle of leaving no one behind were discussed, demonstrating once again the centrality of local action to global processes.

The Statement of the organized constituency of local and regional governments to the UNHA2 was adopted at the end of the WALRG.


“We, local and regional governments from across the globe, gather as an organized constituency convened by the Global Taskforce of Local and Regional Governments, and facilitated by United Cities and Local Governments, reiterate our support to co-create a sustainable urban future through inclusive and effective multilateralism for achieving the Sustainable Development Goals in times of global crises through a new value-based and rights-driven social contract.”