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A new step forward

The world’s largest meeting of mayors, local and regional leaders and their associations closed on 14 October 2022 in Daejeon, Republic of Korea. It was the first time after the breakout of the COVID-19 pandemic that most of them met physically.

During the worst moments of the health crisis, cities were on the frontline, active and tireless in performing tasks they know best: creating proximity, offering care, and fostering inclusiveness. Virtual bilateral or collective meetings were the main channel of communication for mayors to join forces, ask for urgent support, find common solutions or share concrete practices for nearly everything: producing masks, distributing food, managing basic services for everyone and everywhere, attending to the most vulnerable or strengthened healthcare.

The social and economic impact of the pandemic was the next global challenge. Local governments strongly requested for transformative multilevel recovery plans. The need for local implementation as the main driver for a more resilient and sustainable systems able to leave no one and no place behind was not only more obvious than ever, but even unavoidable.

During the whole period between 2020 and 2022, UCLG kept its key role as an enabler for its constituency. The emergency was managed in parallel with a structured, thoughtful and inspirational multistakeholder co-creation process for a common and long-term recovery agenda. That process culminated with the approval of the Pact for the Future of Humanity, a profound commitment of local and regional leaders towards a sustainable and inclusive transformation as representatives of the citizens they serve.

The powerful statement was accompanied by the election of a renewed and multiregional UCLG leadership, led for the first time ever by a female mayor, Carolina Cosse, Mayor of Montevideo.

The Pact is a bold, tactic and strategic step forward of local multilateralism. On 23 and 24 September 2024, the United Nations will celebrate the “Summit of Future: the multilateral solutions for a better tomorrow”. Local leaders have already prepared their contribution. They are ready to discuss, contribute and offer support at the heart of multilateralism.