The UCLG World Council has been held in Konya (Türkiye) from October 26 to 28, 2023. A number of important meetings for participants have taken place as part of this event, including the General Assembly and the meeting of UCLG-Eurasia Council, the Executive Bureau, as well as the meeting of the UCLG World Council.
Uğur Ibrahim Altay, Mayor of Konya, who is to assume the duties of the UCLG President, made a welcoming speech.
“I sincerely believe that the traditions, cheerfulness and hospitality of our city will leave a lasting impression. I am sure that the results we will get here will contribute to the progress of mankind,” Mayor of Konya said.
On the first day of the working program, October 26, in the thematic session entitled “Right to the City: Reclaiming the Commons”, Evgeniya Lodvigova, Vice-Mayor of Kazan, noted in her report on this topic: “Returning of public commons is a mission closely related to the protection of inalienable human rights. And what kind of rights? From the most basic: the right to food and water, the right to a healthy life, to such complex rights as the right to create spaces where the memory of people and historical events can be stored and passed on from generation to generation. But once again, the most important thing is to understand and listen to what is paramount for people whose interests we represent”.
Artem Silkin, Director of the Museum-Reserve “the Island-Town of Sviyazhsk”, also spoke at this session.
The General Assembly and the meeting of the UCLG-Eurasia Council, also held on October 26, were accompanied by the adoption of decisions on a number of key issues. They included the change of the organization’s name (renaming from “The Eurasia Regional Section of the World Organization “United Cities and Local Governments”” to “United Cities and Local Governments of Eurasia”), statutory changes, changes in the main type of economic activity, inclusion of new members (the cities of Yalta (Russia) and Veliky Novgorod (Russia) in the organization, the plan of upcoming events, the results of past events, the work of UCLG-Eurasia since the last meeting of the Council in Daejeon (South Korea).
Regarding the adopted changes and development of UCLG-Eurasia, Vera Galushko, Chairperson of the Krasnodar City Council, said: “I am convinced that the new name can contribute to the establishment of new partnerships. I would like to propose to start working towards establishing cooperation and developing joint projects with the Eurasian Development Bank and the Eurasian Economic Commission”.
Yersin Otebayev, Deputy Akim of Astana, told about the experience of Astana’s participation in the UCLG’s past events at the Council meeting: “...There was a meeting of the UCLG Presidency in February in Barcelona, where we discussed the UCLG’s work plan for 2023. Also, Astana took part in the meeting of the UCLG Executive Bureau, which was held in June in Brussels. An important event was the participation in the Sustainable Development Goals Summit in New York. It was a large-scale event at the UN headquarters. And local governments, including Astana, had an opportunity to speak from the UN rostrum. Thus, I consider the activities of UCLG-Eurasia for the past period useful and efficient”.
At the end of the Council meeting, Ilsur Metshin, President of UCLG-Eurasia and Mayor of Kazan, who acted as the Chairman of the meeting, added: “Summarizing the results I can note that this year we have held more events than it had been planned. All these events have been held with the active engagement of both members of the organization and foreign colleagues. I thank everyone for supporting the activities of the organization”.
The next day of the World Council has begun with the session “Multilevel Governance: Regaining Trust”, where Yanina Pavlenko, Head of the Yalta City Administration, made a speech, sharing the experience of her city: “...Residents can address the Head of the Republic, members of the Government, heads of cities through social networks or groups in messengers with various questions within 24 hours... There is a direct communication between the leadership of governments and residents of city on the instructions of the Head of the Republic in all municipalities of Crimea in a constant mode. Each street and house is assigned a responsible person: head of administration, head of municipality and their deputies, deputies of a city council. Meetings with residents are held several times a week, where problems of citizens are discussed”.
The meeting of the UCLG Executive Bureau has centered around two main clusters of issues: institutional matters (consideration of the reports of the Executive Bureau from the Brussels meeting, the Financial Management and Statutory Committees) and key policy points and strategic priorities, including the upcoming UCLG Culture Summit).
The Executive Bureau meeting has been followed by the World Council meeting. The main topics have included the discussion and adoption of the report of the Daejeon World Council meeting, the work plan for 2024, financial management issues, as well as the renewal of the co-presidency, political councils of UCLG, the leadership of UCLG consultative mechanisms and their work plan.
One of the significant decisions has been the approval of Zhenis Kasymbek, Akim of Astana, as Co-president at the World Council. Also, the emphasis during the meeting has been made on the upcoming scope of the organization’s work, holding future events.
Ilya Nozhechkin, Chairman of the Ulyanovsk City Council, in his speech at the World Council has separately touched upon the topic of climate change: “The 2030 Agenda offers an excellent roadmap of how to change our way of life, and we should strive to do everything in our power to complete what we have started. One of the great challenges of our time is the climate crisis affecting every corner of our planet. A step towards solving this problem can be the widespread adoption by cities and regions of climate strategies for disaster prevention, mitigation, adaptation to climate change”.
At the end of the Friday program of the day, a solemn ceremony has been held to hand over the UCLG presidency mandate from Carolina Cosse, Mayor of Montevideo (Uruguay), to Uğur Ibrahim Altay. It is the Mayor of Konya who will serve as the President of UCLG for the next year.
“...During my tenure, we will work hard to strengthen the position of local and regional governments in the international arena together with our stakeholders and members of the presidency team”, Uğur Ibrahim Altay has said in his inaugural speech.
On the final day of the program, at the session dedicated to the problem of natural system restoration, Rasikh Sagitov, Secretary General of UCLG-Eurasia, has spoken about the challenges and ongoing efforts in the states of Eurasia. Summing up, he emphasized that “it is important for each municipality and region to contribute to the formation of a responsible attitude to the environment. Every year more and more companies, stakeholders are trying to use the principles of environmental and social responsibility in their activities to compensate for the damage caused to nature, and it is important to support them in this matter.
Biodiversity is a universal asset, and by preserving it, we think not only about the present, but also about future generations”.
The meetings of the World Council were attended by Ilsur Metshin, President of UCLG-Eurasia, Evgeniya Lodvigova, Vice-Mayor of Kazan, Yanina Pavlenko, Head of the Yalta Administration, and Konstantin Schimanovskij, Chairman of the Yalta City Council, at the head of his delegation, Vera Galushko, Chairman of the Krasnodar City Council (also at the head of the delegation), Ilya Nozhechkin, Chairman of the Ulyanovsk City Council, Timur Nagumanov, Mayor of Almetyevsk, Oleg Dovgopol, Head of the State Administration of Tiraspol and Dnestrovsk, and Vadim Doni, Chairman of the Tiraspol City Council, Andrey Maksimov, Chairman of the Commission for territorial development, urban environment and infrastructure, Alexandra Ignatieva, the Tekstilshchiki Municipal District in Moscow, Director of the Union of Russian Cities, Albert Semenov, Chairman of the Yakut City Council, Oleg Ireneev, Head of the Khangalassky District of the Republic of Sakha (Yakutia), Petr Germogenov, Head of the city of Pokrovsk, Ranis Kamartdinov, Head of Buinsk, Lenar Nurgayanov, Head of the Executive Committee of Agryz, Fargat Mukhametov, Head of Bolgar, Sundui Batbold, Chairman of the Mongolian Association of Local Authorities, who headed the delegation of representatives of the city of Ulaanbaatar, Yersin Otebayev, Deputy Akim of Astana, Radus Akhmetshin, Chairman of the Neftekamsk City Council, and Ilfat Minyazev, Deputy Head of the Administration of the city, Alexey Lyashchenko, Chairman of the Commission on Local Self-Government, Information Policy and Public Relations of Rostov-on-Don City Council, Sergey Sukharev, Deputy Chairman of the Rostov-on-Don City Council, Olga Plekhanova, Deputy Head of the Executive Committee of the city of Bugulma on Social Issues, Vyacheslav Gavrilov, Deputy Mayor of Yaroslavl for Public Relations, International Relations and ensuring the activities of the Mayor's Office, Nikolay Byzin, Deputy Head of Zelenodolsk, Lenar Akhmetov, Deputy Head of the Executive Committee on Economics Entrepreneurship Development of Mendeleevsk, Irina Sagidullina, Deputy Head of Naberezhnye Chelny Municipality, Sergey Timakov, Deputy Head of Leninogorsk, Rishat Samigullin, Deputy Head of Mamadysh Municipal District, representatives of Yelabuga, Ufa, Sviyazhsk and the Republic of Sakha (Yakutia), etc.
In total, the World Council gathered about 400 representatives of local and regional governments from more than 60 countries and 160 cities around the world, according to the Konya Municipality.