Regions building advanced territories: implementing global agendas towards a green future

Regions building advanced territories: implementing global agendas towards a green future

Last 20 October, UCLG Forum of Regions, under the presidency of the Consortium of Provincial Autonomous Governments of Ecuador (CONGOPE), and in collaboration with the government of Catalonia, organized the online side-event ‘Regions implementing the Urban Agenda in the post-COVID-19: building a Green Aftermath’, as part of the European Week of Regions and Cities.

The session reminded the COVID-19 pandemic crisis has only exacerbated inequalities and the importance of territorial approaches to address and tackle them, leaving no one and no place behind.

Antònia Sabartés, UCLG Forum of Regions Coordinator, welcomed the session stressing how current times urge regional governments of the world to show solidarity and work together. Emilia Saiz, UCLG Secretary General highlighted it is in the hand of the constituency to keep up the momentum when the agenda completes five years in 2021: "The Urban Agenda is for us the basis of everything. If you don’t have developed and resourced territories, local and regional governments, it's impossible to achieve ambitious global agendas that we set for humanity".

The Minister of Territory and Sustainability of Catalonia, Damià Calvet, explained that in Europe the urban agenda has a clear territorial vision, and called for the application of the three C’s model: “We believe in advanced territories, as cohesive, connected and competitive territories”.

The particular relevance of urban-rural linkages was constantly underscored - “The pandemic has given us the opportunity to understand that we are a single territory, that articulation and cohesion have to be stronger, that we cannot speak of urban and rural areas separately” said Pablo Jurado, President of the Imbabura Province and of CONGOPE considering the increased pressure over rural tourism and for local food production in times of COVID-19.

"UCLG does not want to return to a normality that is settled on the inequalities of the past. We know that the Urban Agenda and 2030 Agenda are the opportunity to reverse it and that will be our roadmap", said Carlos Martínez, mayor of Soria and UCLG Presidency’s Envoy for the New Urban Agenda.

A debate moderated by Albert Civit, Director General of the Catalan Institute of Land INCASOL heard the diverse experiences and practices of different regions of the world, including Santa Fe, Nouakchott, East Java, Gauteng or Guelmim-Oued Noun.

Mbarka Bouaida, the President of the region Guelmim-Oued Noun, emphasized the need to place people’s needs at the center of the COVID-19 response, “It is a social priority, to secure direct assistance to the vulnerable population, most affected by the pandemic”.

Several speakers underlined the need for strong multi-level collaboration, the provision of digital infrastructure and rights, as well as gender approaches, as strong components for a green aftermath.

Conclusions were in the hands of Agustí Serra, Secretary for the Urban Agenda Government of Catalonia and Edwin Miño, Executive Director, CONGOPE, who called for ambitious territorial ecological transition strategies and invited regions to join and collaborate with the UCLG Forum of Regions.

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