High-level dialogue on the impact of COVID-19 on development cooperation



The UCLG Decalogue for the post COVID-19 era is the political charter of world organisation United Cities and Local Governments (UCLG) in these times of crisis. The document, which consists of 10 actions towards the sustainable and inclusive recovery, builds on the political declaration of the most recent world congress of UCLG. At that congress, local and regional governments and their associations already committed to build a world of solidarity. 

The decalogue highlights the importance of international work of local and regional governments and their associations. Before and during the COVID-19 crisis, local and regional governments have demonstrated their capacity to act as promoters and guardians of international solidarity and development. The Sustainable Development Goals remain the primary framework for international action, at all levels of government. 

The Capacity and Institution Building Working Group of UCLG has worked on a joint position on COVID-19 and (the continued need for) local government development cooperation. The position highlights that development cooperation by local governments is an effective means towards sustainable recovery from the ongoing crisis. Furthermore, it mentions how the CIB network, a platform for professionals working at local governments and their associations on international development, plans to concretely contribute to the objectives mentioned in the Decalogue. 

To further discuss how COVID-19 is impacting development cooperation by international organisations, national governments ànd local governments, UCLG and CIB have decided to organise a high-level dialogue (a #CitiesareListening event), where we invite representatives from all of these parties. The conversation will touch upon the latest developments in international development and reflect on how COVID-19 has enlarged pre-existing issues and is creating new opportunities. It is important to have this conversation with representatives from national governments and donor organisations to ensure that the funding reaches the communities that need it the most and that we develop more resilient societies. 




William Cobbett, Director of Cities Alliance, will moderate the second panel of the event. The first panel will be moderated by Lucy Slack, of the Commonwealth Local Government Forum. 


Opening remarks will be delivered by:


  1. Emilia Saiz, UCLG Secretary General 
  2. Jan van Zanen, Mayor of The Hague, Chair of VNG and co-president of UCLG 


Panelists will include: 


  1. Geneviève Sevrin, Director of Cités Unies France 
  2. Achim Johannsen, Senior Policy Officer, BMZ Division - Governance, Democracy, Rule of Law, German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development 
  3. Bert Janssens, Head of European and International Unit at Association of Flemish Cities and Municipalities (VVSG, Flanders) 
  4. Representative from the Swiss Development Cooperation 
  5. Nayoka Martinez Bäckström, Senior Program Specialist Thematic Coordinator – Urban Development Unit for Global Cooperation on Environment from the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida) 
  6. Carme Gual, Director, Region of Catalonia 
  7. Jenny Jansson Pierce, Director SKL International, Sweden 
  8. Lex Gerts, Deputy Director of Stabilization and Humanitarian Aid, Ministry of Foreign Affairs The Netherlands 
  9. Marlène Simeon, Director of PLATFORMA 
  10. Representative from MFA Mexico 


Additional speakers to be confirmed. 


Closing remarks will be delivered by:


  1. Berry Vrbanovic, Mayor of Kitchener and UCLG Treasurer
  2. Peter Knip, Director of VNG International and Chair of the CIB Working Group 
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