2016: touchdown for the global agendas in cities and regions

A message from Josep Roig, UCLG Secretary General

In our cities and regions, mayors and governors attend to the daily agendas of  citizens in their territories. National governments direct three or four year macro policies and international organizations discuss global agendas in cycles of 15-20 years.

In 2015 and 2016 long cycles of global agendas are to be agreed. In New York, after 15 years, the Sustainable Development Goals are renewed; in Addis Ababa, financing for development is reviewed; Sendai resilience; in Paris, climate change and next year in Quito, after twenty years, Habitat III will bring the new urban agenda to the table.

For cities, regions and local governments around the world, 2016 guarantees to be a particularly intensive year.  The global agendas are touching down in cities and regions. From this year onwards, we will test the capacity of partnerships between governments and civil society to ensure that global and national agendas become useful tools to solve the everyday problems of citizens and territories. And 2016 will also be the year of our local and regional government agendas.

It will also be an intensive year for UCLG: In October we will celebrate the Congress and World Summit of Local and Regional Leaders in Bogotá and the 2nd World Assembly of Local and Regional Governments towards Habitat III.

2016 will be a year in which we continue our efforts, as well as increasing support for our mechanisms of representation, which include UCLG, the Global Taskforce and the Second World Assembly of Local and Regional Governments. We must continue to strengthen the bodies that we ourselves have created and position ourselves as key players in the political dialogue, enhancing our representative organizations at national, continental and international levels.

We need, more than ever, to support our global organization, UCLG, and make it more visible, more legitimate and more powerful in order to better represent the interests of local and regional governments worldwide.

Our movement must be unique, independent and apolitical.  It must go beyond the interests of UCLG and its members to represent the interests of all. At a time when so many interests are at stake, when so many people and institutions want to provide technical solutions and lead the international agenda, it is up to us to bring back the independent voice of local and regional governments.

It is up to us to defend the interests of the citizens we represent and continue to promote solidarity between local authorities around the world.

We count on your support and determination to ensure that our voices will be heard internationally.

In my capacity as Secretary General, I would like to send a message to our global movement at this crucial time. This New Year will culminate with our World Congress and we will work to strengthen partnerships with civil society to shape agendas that are defined by the citizens we serve.

We wish all local and regional governments a very happy New Year!