Urban Journalism Institute

The international municipal movement adopts a strategic blueprint

The Pact for the Future of Humanity is a reality

Emilia Saiz
Secretary General United Cities and Local Governments (UCLG)

Mayors, governors, and local leaders around the world are well aware that our world is at a foundational moment. The pandemic placed them in front of an unprecedented scenario, but also gave them a renewed sense of purpose to deliver truly transformative action, to overcome the current levels of inequality, address the environmental crisis, and challenge the widening cultural divide. 

Under this backdrop, the World Organization of United Cities and Local Governments, the largest global network of cities and local, regional, and metropolitan governments and their associations; inheritor of a century-old movement based around city diplomacy and cooperation, approved the Pact for the Future of Humanity. A Pact for the Future of People, the Planet, and Government adopted by 345 political representatives elected in a gathering of over 4,000 leaders.

In the largest exercise in local democracy in the world, the Pact for the Future was adopted by consensus from the governing bodies of our Organization.

Through this Pact, local and regional governments embrace their critical role and responsibility to promote a more equitable and sustainable quality of life for citizens and communities alike, protecting their rights to global and local common goods while protecting the planet for future generations. 

The Pact, in short, as stated by UCLG President and Mayor of Montevideo Carolina Cosse, is “the commitment of local and regional governments to systemic transformation through a diplomacy that is driven by feminist leadership and solidarity, committed to local democracy and peace, loyal to the values of subsidiarity, gender equality, self-government, and accountability”.

The approval of the Pact for the Future proves the far-reaching aspirations of the movement, ensuring that local and regional governments are able to play their part within a renewed multilateral system to achieve the global development agendas, such as the 2030 Agenda, the Paris Agreement, and the New Urban Agenda. The international movement has been claiming a seat at the global table for many decades and as predecessors to the state driven multilateral system founded after World War II (their foundations date from 1913), they see themselves as critical players to ensure the much-needed revamped global governance system that is able to deliver.

The Pact has a powerful narrative, claiming a common humanity: “we reject greed, prejudice, and division, and we choose to place care at the heart of our Pact for the Future”. The three axes of the Pact (People, Planet, and Government) are showcasing care for the human rights of all people and care for the integrity of our planet. To meet the expectations of current and future generations, and to reaffirm our common humanity.

The 7th UCLG World Congress and Summit of Local and Regional Leaders closed on 14 October 2022 with the adoption of the Pact for the Future of Humanity. 

The Pact is grounded in a deep understanding and sense of responsibility from UCLG members of the critical role they should play to ensure “a more equitable and sustainable quality of life for citizens and communities, protecting their rights and global and local common goods while protecting the planet for future generations.”

With the approval of the Pact, the organization has also reinforced its identity with the Feminist Municipal Movement, the universal “Right to the City for All,” the principles of gender equality and democracy, and its mission to put care at the centre of local governance.

The increasing relevance of UCLG in multilateral spaces, especially in the last decade, will continue to be a strategic goal, especially towards the United Nations Summit of the Future and the post-2030 development agendas.

You can read the full version of the document here

People, Planet and Government: Three axes to drive transformation.

© The World Bank 

The Pact for the Future for People focused on the needs of current generations and expanding the rights of future ones by guaranteeing access to public services and the commons. As we acknowledge the impact of growing inequalities within and between cities, the Pact seeks to deliver fairness and intersectional justice for everyone and for every place.

The Future for the Planet promotes systems and ways of living in harmony with our planet while building resilience and sustainability through policies that renature our production and consumption models, which will be crucial cornerstones of the Pact for the Future – and an endeavour that no actor nor level of government can achieve alone.

The Future for Government is founded upon the call of our communities who are increasingly pleading for the transformation of governing systems. We are in a once-in-a-generation opportunity to review and improve our tools to respond to the challenges we face and to ensure that we drive a profound transformation of our societies and our systems.

The Pact for the Future: Beyond Narrative. 

Ahead of the mid-term review of the 2030 Agenda and the SDGs in 2023, and with the post-2030 world on the horizon, the Pact provides the vision to deliver a world that bridges local actions and global trends and that brings the territorial perspectives to the global agendas. The Pact is a global initiative that commits to hope, demonstrating that another way is possible and that, collectively, there is an abundance of resources, intellectual capacity, skills, and desire to do better. 

2023 is the opportunity to kick-off a collective thinking process that builds on the legacy of the municipal movement; embracing its foundational values and principles (decentralization, subsidiarity, self-government, accountability), with Care, Culture, and Human Rights as cross-cutting values towards renewed public service delivery. It will be the moment to build high-impact partnerships and to foster collective thinking, together with civil society around the structure and scope of the four enablers of the Pact for the Future: Commons, Finance, Trust, and the renewal of the Governance architecture.

The Pact preceding the UN Summit of the Future is, in itself, a step in disrupting the discussions that will need to lead to developing a renewed ambitious common agenda that goes beyond 2030, and looks towards a brighter future.

“The ambition is for the full Global Taskforce, that brings the voice of cities and regions to the international sphere, to influence the outcomes of the Summit of the Future”.

“A central role of local and regional governments for a renewed, networked and efficient multilateral system. A multilateralist system that accepts the fact that global challenges can only be dealt with by dealing with local challenges and that in turn local challenges depend on global challenges.”

UCLG Pact for the Future of Humanity