A success in terms of participation and partner’s engagement, the United Cities and Local Governments week-long retreat concluded last Friday, February 24. Located in Barcelona, the retreat represented a strategic moment for UCLG’s future, in which issues related to its organizational structure, overall strategy, and thematic foci were discussed in depth, in order to have a nurturing content to bring up to the political discussions that will be held in the meeting of the Executive Bureau, next April, in Madrid. The Decentralization and Local Self-Government Committee participated on the week-long meeting through the representatives of Diputació de Barcelona.
The first day and opening of the retreat was dedicated to political discussions about the future and political priorities of UCLG among the new selected Presidency. Three crucial aspects emerged for the implementation of the sustainability agendas that will be kay in 2017: governance, resources and partnerships. On the second day, local and regional networks of the Global Taskforce (GTF) and partners gathered to discuss and assess the successful work done for the inclusion of local perspectives in global agendas, celebrating in particular the World Assembly of Local and Regional Governments that took place in Quito, in the context of Habitat III. The activities of the second day were divided into four different round tables in which issues such as the implementation of the New Urban agenda, the localization of the Sustainable Development Goals, the climate agenda towards COP23 and the financing pf the implementation of global agendas were discussed. An overall conclusion of the second day is the need for an enhanced partnership between local governments and international community and the need for a multi-stakeholder approach for the implementation of the 2030 agenda.
The third day was dedicated to the discussion of the concrete strategy to develop a local action for the 2030 and Habitat III agendas. Participants agreed that knowledge sharing and co-learning from different regions and sectors was at the heart of the strategy. During that day different priorities of different regions were presented. In order to concretize the shape in which such a co-learning and knowledge sharing and generation will take place, during the fourth day attention was put on UCLG Learning Agendas and the work plan of different Observatories such as the Observatory of Local Finances, the Inclusive Cities Observatory, the Latin American Observatory, and Metropolis’ policy transfer, among others. Finally, the fifth day developed in a relaxed manner, during which communication strategies for advocacy were presented and discussed further, as well as the agendas and timelines of different Regional Sections and Committees were put together.
In conclusion, the retreat was, again, a demonstration of the potential and actual team-working capacity of UCLG as a network, bringing together the different perspectives, strategic takes and content analysis of the multiple and diverse partners, commissions, working groups and regions.