UCLG holds 2009 Executive Bureau and World Council meetings

Chinese Vice President Xi Jinping addressing the opening ceremony of the 2009 UCLG World Council The United Cities and Local Governments (UCLG) held the annual meeting of its governing bodies, the Executive Bureau and World Council, in Guangzhou, China 10-13 November.

Around 500 representatives of local and regional authorities—and their partners from international institutions and national ministries—attended the event, which was hosted by the Guangzhou Municipal People’s Government and the Chinese People's Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries.

Mayor of Paris and UCLG President, Bertrand Delanöe, along with co-presidents Amos Masondo, mayor of Johannesburg, and Istanbul Mayor, Kadir Topbas, presided over the 30 meetings, which included sessions of most UCLG committees and working groups.

The theme of this year’s World Council was, “Cities: Approach to the Global Financial Crisis”. Discussions focused on the following areas:

  • The financial crisis. The World Council highlighted the active role cities are playing in countering the effects of the economic downturn. Mayors from cities including Johannesburg, South Africa; Frankfurt, Germany; Rosario, Argentina; and Vancouver, Canada shared their solutions for dealing with the crisis and the impact it has had on local finances.
  • Climate change. The Council reaffirmed its desire to see a truly global, ambitious and legally binding agreement emerge out of the UN climate change conference (COP-15) in Copenhagen 7-18 December. It condemned the removal of references to local governance in current COP-15 draft agreements and, in response, elected to create a negotiating delegation of cities and launch an international campaign to mobilise municipalities the first week of December.
  • Development aid effectiveness. The Council underscored the need for reforms in the outdated aid system. It also called for greater involvement by local authorities in the definition, implementation and evaluation of international policies to allow development aid to respond more effectively to the needs of populations.

The Cities Alliance was represented at the meeting by Programme Manager, William Cobbett, who gave a presentation on trends in international development cooperation.

In another presentation during the Council’s plenary programme, East Asia Director for Sustainable Development, John Roome outlined the World Bank’s new urban strategy, which was launched in Singapore 11 November by World Bank President, Robert Zoellick (See Spotlight story).

In other issues, the World Council elected Mayor of Quito, Ecuador Augusto Barrera as a new UCLG co-president and decided to hold the next Executive Bureau meeting in Chicago in April 2010.


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