14 December 2019 I KATHMANDU – UCLG ASPAC Manifesto (2015-2020) has served as strategic guidelines to stimulate the needed improvements toward the fulfilment of UCLG ASPAC’s vision and mission. As we are approaching the final year of the current Manifesto, it is a critical time to reflect on the implementation progress and the strategic priorities for UCLG ASPAC’s next Manifesto 2020-2025.

UCLG ASPAC Member Retreat on Setting the Priorities on Localising the Global Agendas 2030 for UCLG ASPAC Manifesto 2020-2025 was part of a broader event on “Strengthening Local Government Associations’ Leadership: Towards Effective SDGs Localisation & Voluntary National Review 2020,” jointly organised by UCLG ASPAC, UCLG World, in Kathmandu, Nepal, from 12 to 14 December 2019. The event was funded by the European Union (EU) under UCLG-EU Partnership Programme.

Around twenty LGA representatives including the Presidents of all three Nepali LGAs: Association of District Coordination Committees of Nepal (ADCCN), Municipal Association of Nepal (MuAN), National Association of Rural Municipalities in Nepal (NARMIN), and the representatives of the Association of Indonesia Municipalities (APEKSI), League of Cities of the Philippines (LCP) and Municipal Association of Bangladesh (MAB) participated in the Retreat to discuss and identify strategic priorities for UCLG ASPAC’s next Manifesto.

UCLG ASPAC Secretary General Dr. Bernadia Irawati Tjandradewi expressed her views during her welcome remarks, “I’m glad that key actors from UCLG ASPAC members are attending this event to discuss and contribute to our Manifesto 2020-2025. Thanks to the leadership of UCLG ASPAC Presidency, the number of memberships has significantly increased including those from China, Nepal, South Korea and Indonesia. In terms of funding, UCLG ASPAC has managed to obtain abundant support from its members and partners. Nevertheless, there are still challenges and it is important that we are able to transform them into opportunities.”

The Retreat started with a presentation from UCLG ASPAC’s staff members to present the outcomes achieved under each strategic area of the current Manifesto. The participants then worked together in groups to analyse Local Government Associations (LGAs)’ roles and involvement in localising the Global Agendas during 2015-2019, and take stock of the major progress as well as shortcomings;  identify good practices for strengthening LGAs’ roles on localising the Global Agendas, including in the areas of policy advocacy, awareness raising, capacity enhancement and regional and international cooperation; and discuss strategic challenges for LGAs’ work on SDGs localisation, identify expected improvements, and set out five priorities for UCLG ASPAC’s actions for 2020-2025.

The Retreat’s outcomes will feed into the draft of UCLG ASPAC Manifesto 2020-2025, which will be presented at the 1st Executive Bureau Meeting in Wellington, New Zealand in April 2020. The final draft will be considered and adopted at the 8th UCLG ASPAC Congress to be held in Zhengzhou, China, from 24th to 28th August 2020.

During the closing session, Dhulikel Mayor, President of MuAN and UCLG ASPAC’s Co-President Ashok Bayanju, conveyed his sincere thanks to everyone for their valuable contribution to the discussion. According to Co-President Ashok, “the achievements on constitutional provision of local government were not easy. We worked hard and struggled a lot for this. We had to fight for democratic functioning even by joining street demonstration and rigorous advocacy and lobbying. I humbly remind my colleagues from other countries that, without your dedicated actions and support from partners you cannot achieve it. Similarly, we have to fight for localisation of SDGs.”