We are celebrating World Cities Day by making a call to action for sustainable urban development

On  World Cities Day, as the world organization which brings together the highest number of local and regional governments from around the world and which has been bringing this group's voices to the global debate for decades, UCLG reaffirms the commitment of the level of government closest to the people to co-creating inclusive and sustainable cities.

Following the recently adopted Urban Agenda at Habitat III and the document adopted in Bogotá during the World Summit of Local and Regional Leaders, local elected officials and local government professionals representing metropolitan governments, intermediary and peripheral cities, small towns and regional authorities have shown the world their commitment to co-creating our cities together with states, the international community and civil society with the sharing of responsibilities and resources. 

The Bogotá Commitment states that the current global challenges represent an unprecedented opportunity to drive sustainable development, and that local and regional governments “need to be at the centre of public policy processes, translating normative ideals into concrete policies and practical investments that will remake human settlements as the primary driver of a new, sustainable era"

In this context, on World Cities Day, as declared by the Bogotá Commitment, we remember that local and regional governments are calling for the following actions: 

"Action at local and country level to govern in partnership and build governance capabilities to that end, aiming to co-create cities and territories that preserve the Right to the City of all inhabitants, to adapt production and consumption patterns for a sustainable future, to share and protect the commons, and to foster heritage, creativity, diversity, understanding and peace. 

Action at international level to transform the role of local governments in international policymaking processes and to ensure structural consultation of the organized constituency of local and regional governments at all levels of governance, particularly through international partnerships.

It also calls for recognition of local and regional governments’ efforts to organize, produce informed inputs to international policy processes and develop international cooperation, solidarity and peer to peer learning through our international networks.

And for Commitment from our peers to engage in international action to contribute to the united voice of local and regional governments through active participation in local government networks and to strengthen coordination and consultation mechanisms, in particular the World Assembly of Local and Regional Governments, to be developed into the true political interlocutor of the international community in all matters related to sustainable development. ”

The Bogotá Commitment and Action Agenda is UCLG’s contribution to the global debate on sustainable development, and complements the Statement of the World Assembly of Local and Regional Governments to Habitat III, which was adopted on 14 October 2016, also in the framework of the UCLG Congress, and presented at the recent World Assembly in Quito, on 16 October and in the framework of Habitat III.

Moreover, The New Urban Agenda, adopted at the Habitat III Conference, is a major victory for local and regional governments. However, its implementation will depend on a new partnership between the international community, States and the local governments tasked with implementing it.

  • See in our photo gallery the participation of local governments in Habitat III 

Out of all the delegations which attended the Third United Nations Conference on Housing and Sustainable Urban Development (Habitat III) in Quito, the local and regional authorities’ delegation was the largest and most involved. This is far from surprising; in the twenty years that have passed since the Habitat II Conference, local and regional governments have gathered together in international networks, such as UCLG or the Global Taskforce, to work on joint proposals and bring them before the international community. It was thanks to this global organization that the Habitat III process was able to bring about an unprecedented mobilization of local leaders. 

The input from local and regional governments to the Agenda was more than necessary, as they best understand the challenges of urban management and, ultimately, are responsible for ensuring sustainable development in their cities and territories. 

As the UN Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon, rightly said, in Quito: "mayors, governors and councillors are at the forefront of the battle for sustainable development".

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