The UCLG Culture Summit is the main meeting point at global level of cities, local governments and other stakeholders that are committed to the effective implementation of policies and programmes on culture and sustainability.
Since 2015, UCLG has convened three editions of the UCLG Culture Summit, which were respectively hosted by the City of Bilbao (Basque Country, Spain, March 2015), the Jeju Self-Governing Special Province (Jeju-do, Republic of Korea, May 2017), and the Autonomous City of Buenos Aires (Argentina, April 2019). Following the success of the three first Culture Summit of UCLG, and considering the growing importance of culture in the framework of sustainable cities, the Executive Bureau of UCLG has decided to convene a 4th UCLG Culture Summit in 2021.
The 4th Culture Summit will be held in Izmir on next 9-11 September 2021, under the title “Culture: Shaping the Future”.
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From February 15 to February 22, 2021, UCLG Africa took part in the seventh edition of the annual retreat of the world organization of Local and Regional Governments (United Cities and Local Governments, UCLG).
The second day of the seminar under the theme of “UCLG: A Global Community that Cares” had the Africa chapter moderate the first plenary.
The goal was to share with the great UCLG family ideas and points of view on Africa’s priorities on the global agenda of local authorities.
During his speech, the Secretary General of UCLG Africa, Mr. Jean Pierre Elong Mbassi, paid tribute to the late Mr. Kadir Topaz, former mayor of Istanbul and president of UCLG (2010-2016), who died on February 13, 2021. Mr. Mbassi also reaffirmed his desire that all activities of UCLG Africa be turned towards the future and aligned with the Pact for the Future, supported by the world organization UCLG.
Ms. Rahmatouca Sow, Advisor for International Relations and Political Affairs of UCLG Africa, presented the work plan of the organization focused on the renewal of its strategic priorities, with the aim of making UCLG Africa a “one stop shop” for Local Africa over the 2021-2030 decade (GADEPPA 2.0).
The new strategic orientation includes 3 pillars (Advocacy and mobilization for decentralization, Capacity and knowledge management of local authorities and National Associations, Access to funding and Technical assistance of local authorities and their associations) and fundamentals that ensure the institutional development of UCLG Africa.
These pillars are anchored around 7 priority themes that will enable African local and regional authorities to implement the African Union’s Agenda 2063, the United Nations’ Agenda 2030 and other global development agendas. In this new approach, the regional offices of UCLG Africa will occupy a central place for an offer of local services to members. These themes are: 1- Local Economy and Finance, 2- Gender and youth 3- Climate, biodiversity and food systems 4- Basic services and localization of SDGs, 5-Migration, 6-Culture, 7- Peace and security.
The state of play of preparations for the Africities 9 summit (April 26-30, 2022, Kisumu-Kenya) was also presented during the session.
The question-and-answer session allowed other partners such as UNDP to appreciate the new vision of UCLG Africa and to consider a more systematic collaboration with the organization.
In addition to this session moderated by UCLG Africa, the staff of the organization participated in several other panels organized as part of the annual UCLG retreat.
For more information on the annual UCLG seminar, click here.
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Violence Against Women and Girls (VAWG) is one of the most serious, and most tolerated, human rights violations worldwide. Women and girls face multiple types of violence as a result of existing gender inequality in urban areas, multiplied and exacerbated by the Covid-19 outbreak.
To mark the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, Metropolis, United Cities and Local Governments (UCLG), and Cities Alliance are raising awareness on the importance of tackling violence against women and girls in urban spaces.
Under the topic “Let’s free our communities, cities and metropolises from gender violence”, we urge local, regional and national governments to integrate a gender-responsive and gender-sensitive approach to all the efforts and services put in place to respond to the current crisis and towards a resilient and inclusive recovery.
“Gender-based violence is unacceptable and is based on stereotypes that have been exacerbated by the pandemic. We need to change perspectives and create new role models that inspire girls and boys. The local level needs to be the cradle of a feminist leadership, as an important catalyst for transformation for the future women and men alike.” Emilia Saiz, Secretary General, UCLG
Violence Against Women and Girls takes place everywhere: at home, at work, in the public squares, parks, markets, streets, restrooms of our cities and metropolises, and on public transport , as well as in our own governments, institutions, and even online, on social media and other platforms.
According to the UN, as the pandemic deepens, economic and social stress coupled with restricted movement and social isolation measures, gender-based violence is increasing exponentially. Various reports on VAWG have detected an increase of 25%, even doubling in some urban areas and a higher risk of sexual violence. Many women and girls are being forced to ‘lockdown’ at home with their abusers while services to support survivors are disrupted or made inaccessible.
“The Covid19 pandemic has unveiled the ingrained discrimination and structural exclusion of women – as girls, in the household, the economy, in politics, and in society. For those living and working in informality, the situation is even worse.” William Cobbett, Director, Cities Alliance
Women have been at the forefront of the response to the pandemic, although they continue to be persistently under-represented in public and leadership positions around the world, at all levels, including in local spheres of government. Violence against women, grassroots leaders and elected representatives remains one of the main barriers preventing their full and effective participation to decision-making, especially in the context of the crisis.
“At Metropolis, we envision metropolises where women and girls feel safe in public and private spheres, and where they achieve equal representation in more gender sensitive governance structures. We urge local governments to design policies that address urban inequality and consequently reduce gender-based violence.” Octavi de la Varga, Secretary General, Metropolis.
We need to rethink cities and metropolitan realities to be more inclusive and support women’s autonomy, their sense of connection to their communities, and ensure equal access to public life and basic services, making progress on the 2030 Agenda. We hope this joint action helps to turn the crisis into an opportunity to free our cities and metropolises from gender violence.
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In the framework of the United Nations General Assembly, local and regional governments worldwide are launching their vision, laid out in the Report to UN75 on how Local and Regional Governments Envision the Global Future.
In 2020, on the occasion of the United Nations 75th anniversary, at a time of great challenge and in the midst of the “Decade of Action”, Secretary-General Antonio Guterres called for unity and accelerated action for all the peoples of the world, convening a global dialogue to discuss human priorities and how we can build a better future for all. The international municipal and regional movement, convened by the Global Taskforce facilitated by UCLG, joined the UN75 global conversation to ensure that the voices of cities and regions around the world are represented.
Our constituency has responded to the call with a report on what the state of multilateralism will be like in 2045, envisioning the future of the world achievable through the renewal of the multilateral model that responds to the dreams and expectations of our communities.
Our constituency has also addressed the important role of local and regional governments leading the way during the pandemic in a session hosted at the UN SDG Action Zone in which President of UCLG and Mayor of Al-Hoceima Mohamed Boudra, Copresident of UCLG and Mayor of Polokwane Thembisile Nkadimeng, and Vice President of UCLG Mohamed Saadieh, along with Mayor of Quelimane Manuel de Araújo and Mayor of Oss Wobine Buijs-Glaudemann laid out the aspirations of local governments for the recovery. UCLG Treasurer and Mayor of Kitchener Berry Vrbanovic took part in another session, titled “Alliances for action: What the world wants” highlighting the results of the Report.
We need to bring about a next generation of multilateralism that integrates local democracy at the core of peaceful societies
The current COVID-19 pandemic has shed light on some of the shortcomings of our current multilateral model and recalls the need for cooperation between different spheres of governance and between different actors. Local and regional governments are willing to be a part of the future of the multilateral system and ensure that the future livelihoods of our communities are drivers of global policies, and that the dreams and expectations of people all over the world truly shape actions and decisions.
Our collaboration with UN75 is now more relevant than ever, as our recommendations is an integral part of how we envision the future of our planet by putting communities at the center of the transformation of a renewed multilateralism. A world that ensures the provision of public services, that promotes local consumption and production patterns and an inter-city system that builds on the strength of cities and regions will be key to developing the next generation of multilateralism that our communities demand.
Local and regional governments ready to co-create the future that we want
2020 is, in spite of the worst of the pandemic, still an opportunity for dialogue. An opportunity to gather all stakeholders and ensure that their views are considered, that shared priorities are discussed, and that, together, we find ways to build a better future for all.
UCLG, on behalf of the Global Taskforce of Local and Regional Governments is convening a meeting on the 8th of October dedicated to discuss the findings of our report and the UN75 report and how best to take them forward at the local, regional and global level. The session will gather representatives from local and regional governments, as well as the presence of the highest level from the United Nations to debate the priorities for “recovering better” after the pandemic, debate our long-term priorities for the future, and what a renewed and networked multilateral system will look like.
The time for action is now. Our unique position as the constituency of local and regional governments is one that harnesses inclusion and co-creation, one that embraces the structural shift needed to move us towards “community-driven multilateralism”. It is the moment to establish a governance model based on making decisions following patterns of collaboration and not competition.
The greatest global challenges that the SDGs respond to need to be addressed at the territorial and local level and owned by the communities. Only then will we ensure that citizens can be part of the change that we need.
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As you know, the UCLG Policy Councils provide an opportunity for political representatives to participate in the Organization’s policymaking and to have their views raised before the UCLG’s governing bodies.
The Policy Councils usually meet twice a year, in the framework of the UCLG statutory meetings (Executive Bureau in the first half of the year / World Council in the second half).
The Policy Council has carried out its mandate to place the focus on shifting the narrative around Migration, as well as debating views on how to support the realization of the right to adequate housing for all.
How to carry out an integrated territorial approach to development and, in particular, how to promote local governments’ access to finance by rethinking and strengthening subnational financing in order to better provide basic services for the citizens has been the main focus of the Policy Council.
The Policy Council has promoted the role of local governments in creating the Global Alliance on Urban Crises, and has worked to highlight the role local and regional governments can play in carrying out an ecological transition. The Declaration on Humankind Rights was recommended to be adopted at the Executive Bureau in Montevideo after being debated by the Policy Council.
The above themes are the results of the priority axes of our Organization and reflect key issues covered by the global agendas for development. It is clear that the work of the above Councils remains very relevant and that they will need to adapt their focus to the post-COVID reality.
The Executive Bureau also validated the need, expressed by the membership, to develop a 5th Policy Council dedicated to the implementation of the New Urban Agenda, which could pay special attention to the work of local government associations in the country wide implementation plans.
[For more information on how the Policy Councils function, you can read the Terms of Reference adopted by the Executive Bureau in Madrid in 2017]
How to express your interest in actively participating in the Policy Councils
Should you be interested in becoming a member of a Policy Council, we invite you to send an email to UCLGExBu@uclg.orgby 10 September at the latest, indicating in the subject of the email “Policy Councils renewal” and the name of the Policy Council you would be interested in.
If you are already involved in a Policy Council and wish to continue your work, please also write to UCLGExBu@uclg.org, following the same indications.
All the expressions of interest will be put to the consideration of the Presidency during its next meeting in September (date to be confirmed).
The Committee on Statutory Affairs will conduct a final revision and will present the proposals to the World Council in November.
Renewed priorities for the work of the Councils are expected to be developed until the Executive Bureau of 2021 following initial discussions at the World Council.
Should you have any questions on the process, the statutory affairs team remains at your disposal at the same email (UCLGExBu@uclg.org).
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The results of the fourth edition of the International Award UCLG –Mexico City -Culture 21 were made public on 29 May 2020 during the Executive Bureau of UCLG. Two African cities are among the laureates, Ségou from Mali and Yopougon from Côte d’Ivoire.
In the “city” category, 81 81 bids from cities and local governments from across the world were received between 15 November 2019 and 18 March 2020.
The Jury analysed all the nominations submitted in each of the two categories and decided to award the Prize to the nominations of (in alphabetical order) “Network of Arts and Cultural Practices in Medellín”, submitted by the City of Medellín (Colombia), and “Ségou: A Creative City”, submitted by Ségou (Mali). Each candidature will receive EUR 25,000.
The project “Ségou: A Creative City” started in 2015 as an initiative by the Festival on the Niger Foundation. In partnership with the municipality of Ségou, the initiative has provided the city with a sound cultural policy focused on sustainable development. The implication and commitment of all cultural actors together with the local government and civil society in the implementation process of this solid initiative has helped unfold its main objectives, providing access for everyone to culture and enhancing the value of Ségou’s cultural identities -music, design and fashion, visual arts, heritage and gastronomy- and artistic and cultural creation, by putting art and culture at the centre of local development. “Ségou: A Creative City” has contributed to professionalize the cultural sector as well, improving the working conditions of cultural and creative actors and creating synergies among cultural organisations, stakeholders and citizens. Furthermore, “Ségou: A Creative City” constitutes a suitable framework for collaboration with other African cities, and promotes the implementation of projects based on co-creation, co-production, exchange of experiences and sharing of good practices.More details on the Segou project here.
The International Jury decided to award 2 cities, give 7 special mentions, and award 2 individuals. Among the special mentions, the city of Yopougon was selected for its project ” “Yopougon: Becoming an educational and creative city through social cohesion”. This is a sound and complete initiative that demonstrates the willingness of the local government to place culture as a pillar of local sustainability policies. The initiative has a clear inclusive and participatory component, with specific lines on the integration of youth into the cultural and creative sector, which has resulted in the improvement of the well-being of citizens. More details here.
All the details about the 4th edition of the UCLG International Prize – City of Mexico -Culture 21 here.
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The 5th Report of the Global Observatory on Local Democracy and Decentralization (GOLD V), The Localization of the Global Agendas, was presented in Durban at the UCLG World Congress, on November 14 , 2019.
The report is the result of a participatory process which brought together the expertise of researchers from different regions, the work and feedback of all UCLG Regional Sections, Committees and partners, as well as the direct contribution of local and regional governments and their national associations and networks. The Report is the outcome of a collective effort by UCLG and its membership, and it marks a new milestone of collaboration and commitment for our constituency as a whole.
The report showcases local and regional governments’ efforts to achieve the global sustainable agendas, and analyses the evolution of institutional frameworks for local, metropolitan and regional governments in each world region.
The full report (currently available in English only) and the Executive Summaries are now available at the following link.
To consult the Africa chapter of the report, please click here
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In view of the increasing situations in which the integrity of local government and its representatives are undermined around the world and in which the fulfilment of the duties of local and regional governments is becoming increasingly difficult and continuously challenged:
We call on national governments all over the world and the international community to pay particular attention to the protection of the rights of local and regional elected officials and leaders of local and regional governments in the performance of their duties, and to ensure that contexts of fragility do not undermine local democracy.
Local and regional governments gathered in Durban at the UCLG Congress acknowledge and pay tribute to their colleagues and former members of the UCLG Governing Bodies Iván Arciénaga, former mayor of Sucre and former Vice President of UCLG for Latin America; and Paola Pabón, Prefect of Pichincha, and further acknowledge and join the motion of support from our colleagues of UCLG-Africa to Adama Sangare, Mayor of the District of Bamako.
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The Observatory of Decentralised Cooperation EU-LA is launching the fourteenth edition of the online training course in Decentralised Cooperation.
The online training offered by the Observatory will be taught in English, Spanish and French. This will lead to a broader diversity of visions and experiences that will unquestionably result in a richer training.
This course aims to provide local governments with the tools to tackle the challenge of finding opportunities to improve the well-being of their citizens through decentralised cooperation relations. This is a specialisation within international relations and cooperation, closely linked to development and local governance.
The programme primarily targets technical and political decision-makers in international relations and development cooperation at local and regional governments. Similarly, it encourages the participation of applicants from other spheres of government, who guide and manage decentralised cooperation programmes.
The course will run in Spanish, English and French, at the same time, so that candidates from all countries in the world speaking either of those two languages may apply.
·Pinpoint the benefits of international projection.
·Highlight the difference between the logic of international cooperation and development in decentralised cooperation actions.
·Identify the challenges of decentralised cooperation.
·Embrace the culture of partnerships and agreements.
·Acquire notions of the management of decentralised cooperation initiatives and instruments: planning, establishment of partnerships, project management and communication management.
·Learn the rules of cooperation: appropriation, harmonisation, alignment, sustainability, etc.
·Share various real experiences of decentralised cooperation.
Lesson 1: The international action of local and regional governments
Lesson 2: General framework of development cooperation
Lesson 3: Decentralised cooperation
Lesson 4: Modalities of decentralised cooperation
Lesson 5: Management and evaluation of cooperation projects
The training is designed specifically for experts with a professional activity. It is NOT compulsory to be connected to the Campus at any specific time, so each participant may adapt the learning hours to their own agenda.
Furthermore, this online course is clearly designed to be practical. Accordingly, there is a strong bias towards activities, most notably those that generate an underlying debate or that are conducted in groups and in relation to practical cases.
Before starting the training as such, the course includes a Module 0 that introduces students to the dynamics and strategies of online training; enabling them to become familiar with the virtual environment and its main tools for communication and interaction with the group.
There will be a teacher and a reference tutor to walk the group through the course materials and the activities linked of each topic.
Applications and admissions:
A total of 35 places are offered for each of the three language modalities (English, Spanish and French). The course carries no cost for participants since the training is offered entirely through scholarships sponsored by the Barcelona Provincial Government.
Once all the applications have been received, the evaluation committee will review the various profiles and select the 35 successful applicants for each of the two language modalities. The selection process will take into account the applicant’s suitability in connection with the target audience profile described above, and will seek to ensure a balanced intake, with participants from as many countries as possible.
The course takes place over 3 months and has a total of 60 equivalent class hours. Participants.
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