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UCLG & Global Taskforce

UCLG - 18.11.2009

Summary of UCLG world council in Guangzhou (10-13 November 2009)
Around 500 representatives of local and regional authorities, as well as their partners - international institutions and national ministries - gathered together in Guangzhou, China, from 10 to 13 November 2009 for the world council of United Cities and Local Governments.
The vice president of the People's Republic of China, Jinping Xi, opened the world council. He laid out his conviction that cities must contribute increasingly to opening up and that they are accelerators of innovation and development. Recalling that innovation is the motor of growth, the mayor of Guangzhou, Guangning Zhang, highlighted the fact that his city placed the environment at the top of its priorities. -We seek to build sustainable cities'.
The economic and financial crisis
In her speech on the effects of the economic and financial crisis on German local governments and expectations for the year to come, mayor of Frankfurt and president of the German Association of Cities (Staedtetag), Petra Roth, said: 2010 will be far more difficult. Although economic growth is likely to be 1.2%, local authorities are expecting a further reduction in income and a clear increase in expenditure. (...) Forecasts have shown that under the current funding structures, deficits will not just be a short phase but will turn into long-term structural deficits. German local authorities are therefore demanding a general review of their funding structures.
Climate change
Special highlight was also given to the following up on the international negotiations on climate change during and after Copenhagen. Concerned as to the outcome of the COP 15, local and regional authorities reaffirmed their wish for the settlement of a truly global, ambitious, and legally binding agreement, including clearly defined objectives, this December, at the Copenhagen Summit on Climate Change. -We hope for precise objectives and scheduled commitments, legally binding restrictions and a more equal worldview', stated Bertrand Delanoë. Participants expressed their disappointment at the disappearance of some of the references to the local level of governance in the current negotiating texts. As a response, they decided to launch an international campaign for the mobilisation of municipalities during the first week of December.
Development cooperation
At a session on Development Aid Effectiveness and Support for the United Nations Millennium Development Goals, participants underlined the need to reform a system that has been showing its limitations for decades now. They insisted in particular on the need for involvement of local authorities in the definition, implementation and the evaluation of international policies if development aid is to respond effectively to the needs of populations and to enable the attainment of the goals set by the international community. Participants also affirmed their readiness to participate in the evaluation and the redefinition, ten years after their establishment, of the Millennium Development Goals, which will be undertaken by the United Nations General Assembly in autumn 2010.
Speakers included mayor of Paris and President of UCLG, Bertrand Delanoë ; mayor of Johannesburg Amos Masondo ; mayor of Istanbul Kadir Topbas ; mayor of Guangzhou, host city of the congress, Zhang Guangning.
The Council of European Municipalities and Regions (CEMR) was represented by its secretary general, Jeremy Smith.
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