UCLG Executive Bureau opens at the National Theatre of San José



The second day of the UCLG Executive Bureau held in San José opened with the opening ceremony held in the emblematic National Theatre of the City. Stephan Brunner Neibig, Vice-President of Costa Rica, hosted the opening by addressing the importance of the relationship between local and regional governments in an event that brought together more than 200 elected representatives of local, regional and national governments, as well as local and regional government associations and partners and networks from Latin America and all continents.

UCLG President and Mayor of Konya Uğur İbrahim Altay stressed the need to strengthen city diplomacy, multilevel governance and international solidarity as an essential part of the solution to global challenges. He stressed the importance of the international municipal movement and UCLG as its heir, to build on the legacy, vision and values of cities around the world towards peace building, water and climate change management, and the localisation of global development agendas, as well as their translation into grounded and negotiated policies in cities.

“The discussions of this Executive Bureau will revolve around the priorities of our network, with peace, equality and the localisation of global agendas at the heart of our mission. Their translation into policy in our neighbourhoods legitimises our aspiration to be part of the global conversations.” Uğur İbrahim Altay, Mayor of Konya and President of UCLG

Johnny Araya, Mayor of San Jose and Co-President of UCLG celebrated 20 years of the municipalist movement reaffirming the commitment of Costa Rica and its territories to democracy, peace and nature, and highlighting the fundamental role that local and regional governments play in the realisation of global issues of strategic importance such as climate change, city diplomacy and the localisation of global agendas, and saluting UCLG as a global interlocutor.

“This Executive Bureau is being held under the theme “Local Governments: The Power of the People. A power that shows UCLG as an interlocutor and world leader of Local and Regional Governments. We work to promote decentralisation around the world, to strengthen decision-making and self-management capacity, and to prepare government structures for greater spaces for citizen participation.” Johnny Araya, Mayor of San Jose and Co-President of UCLG

Stephan Brunner Neibig, Vice President of Costa Rica, thanked all participants for their presence in the city and addressed the importance of building bridges between the local and the international agenda. The challenges of the 21st century, he argued, have no borders and collaboration between different spheres of government is key to ending inequalities. In this sense, the work of UCLG since its foundation in 2004 has been essential in raising the voice and bringing together local and regional governments.

“We reflect on the vital importance of cooperation between the local and the international. Since its founding in Paris in 2004, we are the united voice of self-governments around the world and advocates for inclusion and sustainability on the global agenda. The partnership between the UN and UCLG has an even greater significance, recognising the importance of effective representation of LRGs in decision making”. – Stephan Brunner Neibig, Vice-President of Costa Rica


UCLG Secretary General Emilia Saiz called for reflection on how the union between local governments can serve as a lever to build a better federation, identifying the values that unite us and rethinking how to put them into practice towards a municipalist movement that ensures a more sustainable and egalitarian future. She also highlighted the fundamental role played by Costa Rican and Latin American cities in the construction of a common shared agenda.

“We are characterised by our federative structure. We are celebrating 20 years of local and regional governments coming together, with different and diverse voices but united under the same agenda. We must recognise this in order to face the challenges ahead. We must celebrate the union, but also be courageous in the discussions and address the architecture of financing, our role in multilateralism and our redefinition of the commons” – Emilia Saiz, Secretary General of UCLG.

The second day of the Executive Bureau also hosted the meeting session of the Statutory Affairs Committee, in which the Bureau members met to discuss how to improve the institutional work of the World Organisation, as well as the meeting of the Financial Management Committee. In the afternoon, the host city offered the participants a short tour of the city, allowing them to experience the territorial and cultural reality of San José.

The third and final day of the meeting will see the working session of the Executive Bureau 2024 with political discussions and decisions that will set the next steps and the political agenda of the Organization for the coming months and beyond. The Bureau will kick off the celebration of UCLG’s 20 years of unity and the session’s discussions will address issues related to the need to renew the financial architecture to ensure care, common goods and local multilateralism.