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The first two days of the UCLG Retreat focused on providing a co-creation space for all participants to explore the municipal movement’s existing skills, tools, and capacities. The goal was to build future concrete collective actions to unpack the Pact for the Future of Humanity and to put the shared visión into action.

To facilitate interaction, exchange of views, and the diversity of proposals, a daily space called the Factory of the Future with interactive workshops was designed as part of the Retreat programme.

The main conclusions from the different groups and sessions consolidated that local and regional governments are central players in addressing the current polycrisis context. Hence, developing high-impact partnerships to advocate for the added value of local and regional governments, both at the multilateral level and among citizens, is crucial. Moreover, there is a need to focus on increasing trust as a critical foundation for the renewal of democracy and the transformation of the economy and governance structures at the local, national, regional, and global levels.

During the Media for Cities debate held on 23 February, one of the most pressing challenges discussed was the perception of local institutions and their relationship with the media, social media, and communities. The exercise to better explain the impact of local action and engage with journalists and media representatives will continue at the UCLG Executive Bureau, scheduled in Brussels in June 2023.

Part of the challenge is to work towards a world that acknowledges the multilateral system as a common good for humanity, and local and regional governments have an essential role to play. By complementing the traditional multilateral system and helping to transform it into a genuinely networked multilateralism, the municipal movement can lead the way and deliver its claimed added value.

Even in polarised times, the municipal movement’s resilience and ability to advance through dialogue were also recognised as part of the added value. The different type of multilateralism proposed by the municipal movement is based on understanding and compromising, including and respecting individual approaches to the collective vision and action, and investing in a slow but robust peaceful transformation.