At the occassion of the UCLG world congress, Local Government Associations (LGA) from all around the world gathered for a LGA Forum. This years' edition discussed how LGAs are responding to global crises, including COVID-19, the climate emergency and social-economic inequalities, and what there is to learn from each other in this regard. The Forum was organized by GAOK (Korea) and VNG (The Netherlands). Metropolis, CUF (France), SALGA (South Africa), FCM (Canada), FSLGA (Sri Lanka), CLAIR (Japan), FEMP (Spain) and UMT (Turkey) participated as co-organisers.
How LGAs adapt their services and approached to COVID, the climate emergency and the economic crisis
After the opening remarks from VNG and Metropolis, three rounds of interactive panel discussions were held. The first session of the forum focused on COVID response and on how the LGAs adapted to the health emergency crisis. The session discussed what LGAs did/are doing to support their members, how they strengthen the collaborative approach among key stakeholders, and what they are doing in the long term to ensure they are more financially/socially resilient and prepared for future challenges.
The second session of the Forum concerned the climate emergency. The panellists discussed how different cities are responding to the climate crisis and what role LGAs can play in assisting their members in this field. The session also investigated if LGAs have a role to play towards local councils and residents, when it comes to reaching local carbon reduction targets.
In line with the global economic downturn and rising costs, the last session of the Forum discussed the issue of growing social economic inequality. LGAs efforts to further improve municipal performance in the field of reducing inequalities were presented by the panellists.
The role and position of LGAs within UCLG
At the end of the Forum, the Union of Municipalities of Türkiye (UMT) and the Association of Netherlands Municipalities (VNG International) announced their ambition to further institutionalise the “Forum of Local Government Associations”, as a permanent body of UCLG. This message was also shared with the UCLG World Council. LGAs are important partners of UCLG in the localization of the global agendas and in multi-level governance. In recent years, which have seen more and more crises, responsibilities and roles of LGAs have changed and so has the relation with our constituencies, and the relation with the central governments in our countries, as well as with our international partners. This makes the announced reboosting of the LGA Forum even more relevant.
Source: Councillor Cemal Bas, UMT