UCLG ASPAC Congress 2021: Safeguarding Local Governments’ Efforts from Steady Recovery to Sustained Prosperity

7-9 September 2021 | UCLG ASPAC convened local leaders and representatives in the 8th UCLG ASPAC Congress that was hosted by Zhengzhou and CPAFFC. The Congress created closer connection and collaboration entering the post-pandemic era pursuing for sustainable prosperity. More than 700 registered participants coming from city representatives (Mayors, high-level key officials), distinguished partners, and network joined the discussions taking theme “From Steady Recovery to Sustained Prosperity in Post-COVID Asia and the Pacific.” Important decisions were also made to set the course of the organisation.


The Conference

Throughout the three-day discussions and meetings, participants were exposed with insights from various distinguished speakers.

Mr. Bambang Susantono, Vice-President for Knowledge Management and Sustainable Development Asian Development Bank (ADB), shared the guidance note on 5E Approach to Liveable Cities namely economic competitiveness, environmental sustainability and resilience, equity and inclusiveness, enablers, and engagement.

Ms. Maimunah Mohd Sharif, Executive Director of UN-HABITAT encouraged urban leaders for actions in areas such as affordable housing, public space, prosperity, and climate action.

Ms. Armida Salsiah Alisjahbana, Executive Secretary of the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) expressed her expectation to have the result of the Congress forwarded to the regional level.

Mr. Mohamed Boudra, President of UCLG World and Mayor of Al Hoceima, invited city leaders to re-think the city planning, mentioning “The time has come for us to reflect how we plan city. … We need to leverage our efforts to collaborate. …The lesson of solidarity will be key to carry out the pact of future that works for people, planet and local governments.”

Ms. Leni Robredo, Vice President of the Philippines, also highlighted “Key words for New Normal: Act together with community, Spirit of collaboration… The only way to any challenge is: together.”

Mr. Jiang Jiang, Vice President Chinese People’s Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries, in his remarks mentioned that “UCLG ASPAC is an important platform. … This is the right moment to discuss together how to use this important platform. … Let us build the consensus together.”

Ms. Hou Hong, Mayor of Zhengzhou Municipal People’s Government and Co-President of UCLG ASPAC wish the success of the Congress and that the result of discussion can also contribute to stabilise the current pandemic condition.

Mr. Ashok Kumar Byanju Shresta, President of UCLG ASPAC wished the success and fruitful discussion of the first virtual Congress event of UCLG ASPAC.

In the Plenary Session “Propelling the New Normal from Steady Recovery to Sustainable Prosperity in Post COVID Asia and the Pacific”, insightful practices were also presented. Mayor Suzuki Yasutomo of Hamamatsu, for example, shared the initiatives from the city included application of Crowd Congestion Level Lamp as well as collaboration with private sector (LINE application) for monitoring system; in economic measures, there were also 100 Million Yen Cashback Campaign, (for dining out at certified restaurant), Big Reward Points Campaign with PayPay as support for local economy, conducting online food fair, and creating delivery platform. In line with the efforts, Vice Mayor Emil Elestianto Dardak of East Java also shared the strategy to accelerate local economy including strengthening the Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs), capacity building, education, and health improvement. In addition, Mr. Hyungjong John Lee, Ambassador for International Relations of Daejeon Metropolitan City shared initiative of the city in incorporating technology in facing the COVID-19 pandemic.

Throughout the three-day meetings, a total of nine side events, seven committee meetings, and main discussion on Propelling the New Normal from Steady Recovery to Sustainable Prosperity in Post-COVID Asia and the Pacific. It served as main platform for participants to discuss on climate financing and budgeting, tourism recovery, human rights, actions acceleration in SDGs localisation, urban management for resilient and healthy cities, information on tools from partners (Making Cities Resilient 2030, handbook for cities to localise SDGs with human rights approach), as well as identify potential collaborations and enhance cooperation amongst cities and local governments.


The Statutory Meetings

The Executive Bureau Members also made essential decisions that determined the course of the organisation including:

  1. Adoption of Manifesto 2021-2025

After approximately two-year long of preparation and discussions among members conducted offline and online, UCLG ASPAC Manifesto 2021-2025 was finally adopted. For the implementation, UCLG ASPAC formulated workplan of the Organisation (2021-2022) accordingly.

  1. Upcoming 9th UCLG ASPAC Congress to be conducted in 2023
  2. Tenure Extension of Presidency, representatives of Executive Bureau and Council from 2020-2022 to 2020-2023
  1. Madam Zhang Yajie is the new Chair of UCLG ASPAC Standing Committee on Women in Local Government and UCLG ASPAC Co-President on Women in Local Government.
  1. Reactivation of Financial Management Committee for 2021-2023
  1. Xi’an to host the next UCLG ASPAC Executive Bureau Meeting in April/May 2022
  1. Establishment of new committees: HDP Nexus Committee led by Gyeonggi Province, Tourism Committee led by Xi’an, and Circular Economy Committee supported by AIILSG
  1. Approval of New Members: Semarang City, Banjarmasin City, Musi Banyuasin Regency, Sawahlunto City, North Minahasa Regency, Balikpapan City, Maritime Local Government Network (LGN), Dhulikhel Municipality, Namyangju City, and National Association of Mayors of Korea (NAMK)


The 8th UCLG ASPAC Congress concluded with a virtual revelation of UCLG ASPAC Monument established by Zhengzhou Municipality. The monument taking the form of number 8 is created to mark eternal friendship with cities and local governments in Asia-Pacific region and allow various positive interpretation such as unity and peace. On this occasion, there was also announcement of winners of photo competition organised by UCLG ASPAC and the first virtual photo exhibition showing the submitted works of all participants. The incorporation of signing ceremony of several cities’ collaboration also enhanced this event as a platform to connect local governments in the region.


UCLG ASPAC highly appreciates the commitment of Zhengzhou Municipality and CPAFFC to host the 8th UCLG ASPAC Congress despite delays and challenges faced. UCLG ASPAC also thanks the involvement and active participation of partners and members in succeeding the biggest gathering of cities and local governments in Asia-Pacific region.