Asia Pacific Commitment, Perspectives, and Contribution in UCLG Council Meeting 2020

9 – 13 November 2020 | Guangzhou – Cities of Asia-Pacific expressed their commitment once again to sustainable development through UCLG Council Meeting 2020. Hosted by the city of Guangzhou, China, the gathering recorded the commitment of city leaders to contribute to the attainment of global goals that took various forms, from discussion of issues to role enhancement of the organisation and committees.

The Committee on Statutory Affairs, for example, highlighted the renewal of the UCLG Policy Councils. UCLG Secretariat presented the proposed different composition of policy councils. In the discussion, new Policy Council on the New Urban Agenda (NUA) was also addressed. This new policy is essential as 2021 is the year of reporting to the NUA. Appointment of the New UBUNTU Advisers was also discussed by The Committee on Statutory Affairs. The new UBUNTU advisors are Maria Fernanda Espinosa, 73rd President of the United Nations General Assembly; Barbara Samuels, Executive Director of the Global Clearinghouse for Development Finance; and Prof. Kazuhiko Takeuchi, President of the Institute for Global Environmental Strategies (IGES). They will work with the rest of the UBUNTU advisors and contribute to expand UCLG’s outreach especially for the post COVID era. The Committee took note on the updates in governing bodies and the membership requests from ASPAC region: Sejong City, Bandar Lampung City, and Wuxi City.

During the meeting of the Committee on Local Economic and Social Development, a training programme on innovation for cohesive territories, post-pandemic economic recovery was launched. The meeting also mentioned that the Committee is now preparing for 5th World Forum on Local Economic Development, which will take place virtually from 26 May to 1 June 2021. In addition, it was shared that UCLG, UNDP, and UNCDF are collaborating to develop a guiding framework for gender-responsive local economic recovery. The process is planned to be finalised in December 2020-January 2021 and dissemination is started in January-February 2021. Discussion in the meeting of Committee on Culture exposed the works conducted namely International Award UCLG, 2020 Rome Charter, UCLG Culture Summit (conducted in 2021); as well as its advocacy through #Culture2030Goal Campaign, statement on COVID-19, launch of statement in HLPF July 2020, and consolidation of an operational connection with the global civil society networks.

Commitment of city leaders was reiterated in various dialogues. Mayor Li Mingyuan of Xi’an on the High-Level Policy Dialogue on Ecological Transition in the Context of Post COVID, for instance, addressed the connection between democracy and ecological transition. He stressed the importance of creating synergies between international institutions and national representations. The policy dialogue further addressed issues such as human rights, sustainable recovery from COVID-19, local government actions on finance, green economy, mainstreaming climate change into policy, and inclusive community, among others. Commitment was also expressed by Mayor Wen Guohui of Guangzhou, in the opening ceremony of the Executive Bureau. He highlighted that Guangzhou City has been committed to promote innovation, collaboration with other cities, and improve governance to pursue a shared future. Mr. Liu Qibao, Vice Chairperson of the National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference said that they are willing to improve communication and coordination with other countries particularly local governments around the world to tackle the COVID-19 pandemic and strengthen mutual collaboration. It also resonated with the commitment of the Chinese People’s Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries (CPAFFC) expressed by Mr. Lin Songtia, President of CPAFFC and Mr. Song Jingwu, Co-President of UCLG and Vice President of CPAFFC to enhance collaboration with other cities and national government in fighting COVID-19.

Discussion in the Executive Bureau also highlighted the renewal process of the UCLG Strategic Priorities for 2022-2028. Referring to Durban Declaration, UCLG Decalogues for the post COVID-19, and Rome Charter, the renewal process of priorities is set towards the development of Pact for the humanity, people, planet with governments and for democracy. Some practical actions planned to be taken included the new Policy Council on the New Urban Agenda, the external assessment process, the Local4Action Hubs, the international spaces for dialogue, the localisation of SDGs, Global Compact of Mayors, Global Solidarity Fund, The Gold Report VI, etc.. UCLG ASPAC also shared the economic challenge faced by members due to the COVID-19 pandemic.