Local and regional leaders call for a stronger role in the implementation of the New Urban Agenda in the Statement of the World Assembly

INTERNATIONAL

The UCLG global network actively contributed to the success of the World Assembly of local and regional governments’ session that took place on the 8th of February in the context of the World Urban Forum (#WUF9) as facilitator of the Global Taskforce of local and regional governments.

UCLG Secretary General Emilia Saiz and UCLG ASPAC Secretary General Bernadia Irawati introduced the event. Emilia Saiz recalled the importance of the New Urban Agenda as an accelerator of the 2030 agenda and commented on the role of local and regional governments as the guardians of the Habitat III agenda and those who can best monitor its implementation. Bernadia Irawati addressed the rapid urbanization of the Asia-Pacific region and the need for the voice of local governments to be heard in an ever-changing environment.

The rest of the sessions tackled the follow-up and implementation of the New Urban Agenda, addressing the expectations and priorities of local and regional governments as well as issues which are key to the implementation of the New Urban Agenda such as a strong local governance and the need for multi-level governance which allowed for the localization of the SDGs.

The final panel, which centered on the priorities of local and regional governments in the New Urban Agenda, was introduced with a question by Jean-Pierre Elong Mbassi, secretary General of UCLG-Africa: “How are we, local and regional governments, going to implement the New Urban Agenda, a global agenda, in cities in crisis?”

After the sessions took place, UCLG members and partners of the Global Taskforce read the statement of the World Assembly of Local and Regional Governments, which started off by introducing the positioning of local governments, together with civil society, as guardians of the Habitat III legacy.

[Read the Statement of the World Assembly of Local and Regional Governments at the World Urban Forum]

Following this, the speakers reviewed some of the commitments agreed upon in the New Urban Agenda such as the inclusion of the reference to the Right To The City, a major victory since it introduces the concept into the global political agenda and the commitment of the member states to strengthen multi-level governance, which is a key requirement in order to ensure decentralization.

From Quito to Kuala Lumpur

Gender equality and the need to ensure women’s participation and equal rights in leadership at all levels of the decision-making process is also at the heart of commitments agreed upon in Quito, which means that the New Urban Agenda is a means to an end, but also a signal that we are not quite where we should be. 

The main challenge of fulfilling these, admittedly, ambitious goals set in the New Urban Agenda is ensuring that the political commitments which were taken in Quito come into fruition and can be implemented. Enhancing political commitment, and bringing member-states’ involvement into the proposals approved upon in Quito becomes a necessity, as does defining clear mechanisms which can bring local and regional governments into the monitoring and reporting process of the New Urban Agenda. 

The goals of the New Urban Agenda, global as they may be, can only be implemented in the local level, and bringing these actors into the table is fundamental in their accomplishment.

Thus, the speakers addressed these issues and regarded of the commitment of UN member states to a 2-year process to conduct consultations, dialogues and analysis of the follow-up and review of the New Urban Agenda as the means to evaluate its implementation.

What further commitments do we need?

Local and regional governments reminded the audience of the measures which still needed to happen in order for the goals set in the New Urban Agenda to be achieved. A strong global governance, without the likes of which it would be impossible to place the citizens at the centre when designing policies, becomes mandatory in order to achieve global goals, as does listening to cities and increasing their role in the decision making process.

Integrating the implementation of all global agendas and designing a renewed relationship between local and regional governments and the UN would further improve the implementation of these agendas at the local level. The statement concluded with a commitment to further contribute and consolidate the World Assembly of Local and Regional Governments.

Local and regional governments call on the world to #Listen2Cities

The #Listen2Cities campaign was relaunched on the occasion of the World Urban Forum. The campaign calls on the international community to define effective mechanisms to ensure full involvement of the local and regional governments’ constituency in the monitoring and reporting process of the New Urban Agenda. The campaign has been a great success as had demonstrated our capacity to coordinate as a global network and to reaffirm local and regional governments’ key role in the implementation of the major global agendas as well as our commitment as guardians of the Habitat III legacy.

[Follow #Listen2Cities to know more about this campaign]

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