Urban Journalism Institute
Municipal Times Journal


  • President Yoon expressed his support for the positioning of local governments as key players on the international stage
  • Former United Nations Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon, stressed the need for both local and global solutions to address current challenges

The President of the Republic of Korea, Yoon Suk-yeol, officially inaugurated the World Summit of Local and Regional Leaders and the 7th UCLG World Congress at the Daejeon Convention Center. 

During the ceremony, Yoon committed to support the development of local governments and to increase their role as key players at the global level. He also referred to the need for more solidarity between nations and local governments in the context of both the pandemic and the climate emergency. He noted that “as we went through the COVID-19 crisis, we were able to realize once again how much of an important role local governments play.”

Referring to the context in the Republic of Korea, Yoon said that he was determined to back local governments because “local competitiveness equals national competitiveness,” and enable national growth. “I believe the key to a local governments’ era lies in local governments discovering their growth engines on their own, with sufficient authority and responsibility, and the central government actively supporting this,” he added.

Former United Nations Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon, also participated in the Summit’s Opening Ceremony. He stressed the importance of Summit’s theme, Breaking Through as One, “to elevate partnerships and the municipal movement, as well as its contribution to the key global agendas”. During his mandate as the head of the United Nations, Ban was a defender of the role of local and regional governments in sustainable development, and during his tenure the adoption of SDG11 and the New Urban Agenda were milestones for the municipal movement. He reiterated his 2012 statement that “the battle of sustainability will be win or lost in cities,” when stressing that “local is global and global is local” and signaled municipal cooperation as key for a transformative future. 

Emilia Saiz, UCLG Secretary General, called for regional and local authorities to push for their position at the multilateral level and to bring a new social contract to the table through the Pact for the Future of Humanity (to be adopted on the final day of the Daejeon World Summit). She stressed that UCLG is “the home of local multilateralism and in this UCLG Congress, we want you to feel that you are more than the sum of all of us, because our power lies in our capacity to act together.”

The UCLG Governing President and Mayor of The Hague, Jan van Zanen, referred to the main motto of the Summit when highlighting that “local and regional governments have shown their efforts to break through as one, guaranteeing the provision of public services and rights that are inclusive, supportive, equal, and fair. Our ambitions are global, and the municipal movement is up to the challenge.” 

The Mayor of Daejeon, Lee Jang Woo, welcome and thanked all visitors to Daejeon and added his commitment to “breaking through as one.” “We will seek ways to make the global village more prosperous and advance sustainable development,” he said.