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UCLG Retreat and Campus: SALGA and eThekwini inspire readiness to host the 6th UCLG World Congress of Local and Regional Leaders


Posted: 13 February 2019

This week, a delegation made up of SALGA and the eThekwini Municipality representatives attended the fifth edition of the Annual Retreat & Campus which brings together over 200 stakeholders from the United Cities Local Governments (UCLG) global network.

The Retreat aims to identify synergies and develop joint actions and activities in line with the objectives set out, as well as pave the way for the 6th UCLG World Congress of Local and Regional leaders, which will take place in KwaZulu-Natal, November 2019. The Congress will be hosted by the eThekwini Municipality in partnership with SALGA.

Opening the Retreat, UCLG General Secretary Emilia Saiz said "We need to find the synergies, and identify the areas where we can enhance each other's work. Be daring. Be active. Be collaborative. Only then will we identify our joint priorities".

The first day of the Retreat involved discussions around readiness for South Africa to host the upcoming 2019 World Congress. Presentations were made by SALGA and eThekwini representatives on the preparatory work underway to ready the country in hosting global local and regional leaders.

eThekwini Metro Cllr Nkosenhle Madlala, says, "our challenge is to host with the values of peace and dialogue, and making sure that the gender agenda will be at the forefront." Whilst SALGA Executive Manager Lance Joel emphasized that whilst planning for the Congress it is important to consider that "meaningful conversations must be mindful of diversity," and that "all delegates should feel at home."

The afternoon was dedicated to interactive sessions which included a gathering of global communicators for the first time. The communication gathering is an effort to find common synergies and exploring new methods of joint communication towards the UCLG Congress. The communication workshop aimed to inspire a spirit of co-creation and provided a unique opportunity to jointly achieve greater visibility and impact of the actions of local and regional governments in societies globally.

UCLG and SALGA President, Cllr Parks Tau opened day two of the Retreat by focusing on and reiterating the importance linking the work of UCLG  to the priorities of the World Organisation, highlighting the need to work collaboratively  to achieve global goals, "our struggle towards our rightful seat at the global trade can only be accomplished through our joint, work, commitment and joint strategy", he said. The President also highlighted the importance of forming partnerships at a local level to implement the Agenda 2030 in the next decade.

"The implementation task is daunting, but it depends on the energy we place on it, and our collaborative action will be important to take us forward. The Retreat is a part of this, it reflects on how far we have come, how far we still have to go and what we need to do," he added.

The rest of the day's proceedings focused on Strengthening Local Democracy, Resilient Territories and Waves of Action on housing and financing.

The Retreat will conclude on Friday 15 February.

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