UCLG: A local perspective on global issues
It has been years since cities became aware of their own importance. Aware that their role, beyond being subservient to national entities, was decisive in achieving a better world for all. And from that awareness, in 2004, UCLG was born: the World Organisation of United Cities and Local Governments.
Its purpose was very clear: to ensure that local and regional authorities around the world had their own, unified voice in the international community. And its most important objectives are to foster inclusion and equality, as well as to promote secure livelihoods for all.
But the important part is not only what the administrations that join in UCLG want to do, but also how to do it, because this network has collaborative work as its banner and uses dialogue and the exchange of knowledge and experiences as a basic tool. Because the important thing for all these administrations is to find local and sustainable solutions to global problems. That is why this organisation works through innovative undertakings and agreements; they are the common threads that are first implemented in small spaces and then transcend communities and borders by empowering the local level.
An extensive network with a decentralised structure
Since its inception, the network has attracted many administrations interested in developing local collaborations and learning from other geographical areas. This is why today UCLG integrates more than 240,000 cities and regional governments (from small towns to megacities) and more than 175 associations of local authorities. This fact is enough to properly gauge the extent of this network: It represents 70% of the world’s population and is present on all continents.
Following its horizontal logic, this organisation has a decentralised structure consisting of seven regional sections, one metropolitan section and one section for regional governments. In this way, public governance at all levels is democratised. Sections function as branches covering a specific geographical area. Each of them provides the necessary support to fulfil the activities decided by the organisation’s government bodies and implements UCLG’s policy.
We all have a role to play
Thanks to the network, participating authorities can work under common objectives and strategies, and do so close to the people in their community. “Our challenges know no boundaries and the solutions must begin at home, locally. As close to the communities as possible”, says Dr. Mohamed Boudra, Mayor of Al Hoceima and President of UCLG.
The institution also acts as a space where participating entities can share their projects, successes and lessons learned, and speak with a unified voice before the international community. They also have the opportunity to promote good governance practices around the world. Mohamed Boudra points out that “full collaboration between the spheres of government and the involvement of all stakeholders are essential”.
Today, the network embodies the ideals of the SDGs. The year 2020 has been very unique and UCLG is committed to taking on a major task ahead. The task of fighting inequality, promoting transformation towards a more just, peaceful and sensitive world that responds to the aspirations of its citizens.
It is clear to the institution that without the participation and collaboration of all, the SDGs will continue to be mere wishful thinking. Click here to see UCLG’s roadmap to accelerate the completion of the SDGs.