2015 will be an unprecedented year for local and regional governments in the international agenda, with an unparalleled concentration of international policy-making processes covering a wide range of topics. Several significant international events will coincide with important processes that will take place within the Organization.
Post-2015 and Habitat III Agendas
2015 presents a unique opportunity to put the transformation of the world governance system into motion, and to include non-state actors such as local and regional governments at the relevant decision-making tables, with the definition of the new global agenda for Post-2015.
The Global Taskforce (GTF), and UCLG in particular, have always stressed that the international development agenda should be seen as a single and universal agenda that is transformative and inclusive, with strong links between Post-2015, Rio+20 and Habitat III.
World Conference on Women – Beijing+20
In 2015, it will be 20 years since the Platform for Action was adopted at the UN Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing, China. This anniversary will be an opportunity to galvanize renewed commitment and mobilize actors in order to accelerate implementation.
The Standing Committee on Gender Equality will promote participation in both national consultations and key international events, in cooperation with UN Women and the Huairou Commission. The Beijing Conference will also be the occasion to reflect upon the targets and objectives set 20 years ago and to assess how far we have managed – or not managed – to come.
The 3rd World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction will be held in Sendai, Japan, in March 2015. A new Hyogo Framework for Action (HFA2) for the next ten years will be drawn up on this occasion. Building on its commitment to help local and regional governments to anticipate and face disasters, UCLG has taken on the role of facilitating the participation of local and regional governments in this process.
It should also be noted that while 2014 saw the celebration of the 10th anniversary of UCLG, it also marked a more tragic commemoration: the 10th anniversary of the tsunami that devastated many countries in Asia. The new UCLG Taskforce on Disaster Response was also launched this year, and will be actively involved in the preparations for the Sendai Conference.
The World Water Forum
Access to water and the role of local governments in the management of this public good has been one of UCLG’s priorities since its inception. UCLG has traditionally played a key role in bringing the voice of local governments to the World Water Forum.
UCLG will therefore be greatly involved in the preparation of the 7th World Water Forum, which will take place on 12-17 April in Korea. The Forum will bring together various stakeholders to identify policies and strategies on political and technical levels. The inputs of local and regional authorities will be based on the Istanbul Consensus.
Financing for Development
The issue of financing is key for local and regional governments – who have now been engaged in decentralized cooperation and development assistance for several years – in order to ensure their capacity to implement their responsibilities within the framework of the sustainable development agenda.
The third International Conference on Financing for Development will take place in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, from 13 to 16 July 2015. The outcomes will contribute to the current discussions on the Post-2015 Sustainable Development Agenda and the related Summit planned for September 2015.
The Climate Negotiations
The climate negotiations are making a strong comeback on the international scene and mobilizing all actors. COP21, which will take place in Paris in December 2015, comes with high expectations, particularly as key agreements and commitments from States should be adopted during the Conference.
The 2015 UCLG World Council will take place in Paris, in conjunction with COP21. The gathering in Paris will be an unprecedented opportunity to mobilize local and regional governments and make our voices heard together, united by UCLG.
UCLG has been mandated by its Governing Bodies to develop a Global Agenda of Local and Regional Governments for the 21st Century to contribute to Habitat III. This initiative should also support the efforts of the Global Taskforce of Local and Regional Governments for the Post‑2015 Agenda and towards Habitat III, and the preparatory work for the next UCLG Global Report on Local Democracy and Decentralization (GOLD IV).
In collaboration with its various Committees, UCLG has drawn up an initial outline of the main points to cover (and develop further) for this future Global Agenda. This first draft identifies five areas where local and regional governments can act as “levers of change” to contribute to the global development agenda.
A Work Plan for 2015 that aims to strengthen our global network
As mentioned earlier, several significant international events will coincide with important processes taking place within the Organization. Further, it will be the first year of the implementation of an unprecedented Strategic Partnership with the European Union, which will enable joint work on specific political priorities in line with UCLG’s multi-annual strategy and EU policy on Local Authorities in Development. This partnership recognizes UCLG as the key generalist worldwide organization, with a monopoly position in representing local and regional governments internationally.
UCLG Cooperation and Learning Agenda
Since its inception, one of the core mandates of UCLG, and of the Municipal Movement itself, has been the promotion of exchanges and learning among members. Over the past decade, UCLG members have continued to invest important resources in city-to-city cooperation. Building on the experiences accumulated by members, the World Secretariat has also fostered South-South and peer‑to‑peer collaborations.
Cities possess a breadth of knowledge that is extremely valuable and encouraging for establishing a city agenda on change. It is through this hands-on experience that UCLG envisages the renewal of its role as a learning organization that can identify the needs and facilitate the increasing involvement of the membership in the global South, in order to define learning agendas.