Urban Journalism Institute
Municipal Times Journal

The World Summit of Local and Regional Leaders and World Congress kicks off in Daejeon

The Seventh Session of the World Summit of Local and Regional Leaders and World Congress will officially start on 12 October in Daejeon, Republic of Korea. The World Summit is organized every three years by the United Cities and Local Governments (UCLG) – the global network of cities and local, regional, and metropolitan governments and their associations that aims to represent, defend, and amplify the voices of local and regional governments to leave no one behind and no place behind. The Summit is the largest gathering of mayors, presidents of associations, local elected officers, and practitioners from around the world. 

The World Summit builds on the century-old traditions of the municipal movement by providing a voice to cities and local governments and advocating addressing global issues locally and promoting the role of cities, which are at the forefront of many rising challenges, including the COVID-19 pandemic, increasing disasters, as well as humanitarian crises.  

This is the first time since the start of COVID-19 pandemic that the World Summit will take place, and for the first time in its history it will be held using a hybrid format. The COVID-19 pandemic and recent geopolitical crises have further exposed some of the challenges our world faces today — for example, the need to act in a coordinated way on a global scale, especially when considering the enormous economic, social, and environmental impact of different events. Indeed, the events of the past three years threaten to reverse the progress made toward the achievements of the United Nations 2030 Agenda and to even see the state of global sustainable development slide back decades. Failing future generations is not an option; for this reason, the municipal movement will gather local governments, leaders, international partners and actors in Daejeon under the motto “Local and Regional Governments Breaking through as One”.

 The breakthrough will culminate in the main outcome document of the World Congress – the Pact for the Future of Humanity (henceforth the “Pact for the Future”). The Pact for the Futurewill also define UCLG’s Strategic Priorities for the years 2022 through 2028, andwill be structured around three axes: people, planet, and government. The process to develop the Pact for the Futurewill consist of deliberations, debates, and consultations with stakeholders. The Pact will serve as the municipal movement’s roadmap for its contributions to the United Nations Summit of the Future, planned to take place in September 2024.

The axes – people, planet and government — will guide all the main themes of the debates. UCLG aims to transform the social contract between residents and local governments within the framework of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals. It will achieve this with the support of strengthened relationships with international partners, civil society, and other stakeholders, integrating their feedback through the Town Hall process, and will receive inputs from the local leaders and UCLG members through the Policy Councils and Assembly track.  

The World Summit will follow the model set by the 2019 World Congress in Durban and will include:

  • The Statutory track, which covers the main meetings of the governing bodies of UCLG. This track aims to adopt policies and decisions that will shape the future of UCLG.
  • The Local4Action track, which provides the space for all participants to innovate, co-create, and share inspiration. This track gathers UCLG members, partners, global institutions, and local actors to organize sessions reflecting on the main axes of the World Summit. 
  • The Town Hall track, which invites partners from civil society organizations and stakeholders to a dialogue where they are invited to raise their voices and contribute to the decision-making process through the policy papers that feed into the overall global policy processes.
  • The Assembly track, where the local and regional governments guide the narratives and set territorial priorities. The UCLG Sections and regional groups contribute to the policy-making priorities and align them with the overall work of UCLG by adopting position papers that feed into to the Pact for the Future and other outcome documents of the World Summit. 

In addition, the 2022 edition of the World Congress will also include the Daejeon track to explore the Republic of Korea’s vision and inputs to the globally discussed topics. 

The World Summit will be a defining opportunity for local and regional leaders, international organizations, and various stakeholders to demonstrate the importance of diversity and inclusion in achieving the global agendas and targets.