Imagining together a more sustainable urban future in the 1st UCLG World Forum of Intermediary Cities

Imagining together a more sustainable urban future in the 1st UCLG World Forum of Intermediary Cities

The 1st UCLG World Forum of Intermediary Cities will take place from 5 to 7 July, in Chefchaouen (Morocco) under the invitation of the Mayor of Chefchaouen and President of the Forum, Mohamed Sefiani, and with the support of the Province of Chefchaouen and the Moroccan Ministry of Home Affairs.  The aim is to engage all levels of governance on the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and global agendas in the intermediary cities. Chefchaouen will host an interesting two-day debate on the role of local and regional governments in these issues.

Intermediary cities represent one-third of the world's urban population, around 1.4 million inhabitants, and these cities are territories with a high level of multidimensional interaction with the rural world, therefore any public policy carried out in an intermediary city will have an impact on the rural environment of a city.

For this reason, intermediary cities are fundamental pillars for sustainable development on a global scale as they are a key potential for an imagined and projected society in the sustainable development agendas. Local and regional governments are at the core of the dynamics of the implementation of global agendas and a more sustainable urban future can be seen in intermediary cities.

Unveiling the potential of intermediary cities at UCLG Executive Bureau

In faced of these future challenges, on 23rd of May, the first day of the UCLG Executive Bureau in Strasbourg, the Steering Committee of the UCLG Intermediate Cities Forum met to present the 1st World Forum of UCLG Intermediate Cities and discuss new opportunities for the committee for the upcoming year. Firdaous Oussidhoum, Coordinator of the Forum, made a presentation on the World Forum.

The President of the UCLG World Forum of Intermediary Cities and Mayor of Chefchaouen, Mohamed Sefiani, together with the Mayor of Odienné, Nassénéba Touré, presented the provisional programme, the topics to be discussed at the working groups and the objectives of the Forum.

Making sustainable development a reality through the Intermediary Cities

This 1st UCLG World Forum of Intermediary Cities will be held in Chefchaouen on 5- 7 July under the invitation of Mohamed Sefiani, mayor of the city. This is the first global meeting after the intermediary cities regional forums that have being taking place since the 5th UCLG congress in Bogotá, Colombia, in 2016. The regional forum for Africa in Odienné (Ivory Coast, Africa), regional forum for MEWA in Nevşehir (Turkey), regional forum for Europe in Tarrasa (Spain), regional forum for Latin America in Cuenca (Ecuador) and in the Asia Pacific region by ASPAC in New Delhi (India) have also been held, where new challenges for the implementation of the SDGs in intermediary cities were shared. This first World Forum is the result of all these meetings that took place in four continents where the participation and commitment of the UCLG’s regional sections has been essential.

A global participatory consultation process was carried out in which intermediary cities from all over the world were welcomed to participate. After this process the necessary resources to identify new challenges in the implementation of the SDGs in the intermediary cities were obtained. These materials were obtained together with those resulting from the thematic meetings of the regional forums in the form of declarations, conclusions and summaries from each of the pilot cities, by region and continent.

One of the objectives of this exchange between local and national governments and international institutions, among other actors, will be to open a debate on the role of intermediary cities in the dynamics of the implementation of global agendas such as the New Urban Agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals from their own perspective, needs and voice.

In order to achieve this goal, different actors will gather together to develop a specific Charter-Agenda that will mark the starting point for developing solutions, reflections and processes that can be adapted to the reality of intermediary cities to achieve sustainability.  This work agenda will open a new global perspective among the different negotiations that will be involved in the Forum.

To give visibility to these exchanges of experiences a website has been published where you can find all the related information of the World Forum, resources, and the latest updates. 

Round tables and dialogues focused on common issues that include the four continents

On the first day of the Forum, 5th of July, a various range of topics will be addressed, such as the implementation of the Paris Agreement, the Talanoa Dialogues and the need of raising awareness of the 2030 Agenda and the Climate Agenda.

On July 6, the themes to be discussed are the following:

  • The Intermediary City as a generator of "Value" and its citizens as an engine of economic growth.
  • Awareness raising and sensitization: citizenship, multiplier of the SDGsimplementation.
  • The global territorial justice of Intermediary Cities in the World: How to achieve equity?
  • The culture of "good living" in intermediary cities: an economy, a responsible experience and a way of living in the city.
  • Natural Resources: A Legacy of Humanity

On Saturday 7th of July cities will learn from each other and international organizations and other multi-level actors will have the chance to exchange experiences in the different parallel sessions.

The expected outcome of these dialogues is the Charter of Intermediate Cities of the World, composed of the negotiations and commitments taken during the Forum. This will be a roadmap to reveal the full potential of intermediary cities to achieve the 2030 Agenda, using specific instruments for the follow-up and monitoring of the actions and challenges of the implementation of the global agendas in the intermediary cities.

The 1st UCLG World Forum of Intermediary Cities in Chefchaouen will be a useful moment to generate a change in the political agendas in order to meet the challenges faced by the intermediary cities and find common solutions to global problems such as how to make more inclusive cities, with urban mobility and where culture and people are placed at the centre of development.

A key meeting to call for the key role of the intermediary cities in the implementation of the global agendas !

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