UCLG is the world organization of local and regional governments and their associations, representing and defending their interests on the world stage. UCLG’s membership serves 70% of the world’s population and is present in all world regions. UCLG’s main strategic objectives are to strengthen local democracy, the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals, local finance, urban development and city diplomacy in peace building.
UCLG is a core partner of the Cities Coalition for Digital Rights (CC4DR) and believes that now, more than ever before, is there a need for sustainable transformation and a renewed vision for multilateralism that is community driven and that safeguards the rights of people and the planet. As facilitator of the Global Taskforce of Local and Regional Governments, UCLG facilitated the constituency’s response to the United Nations’ 75 th anniversary (UN75)conversation on the “Future We Want”. The constituency’s response resulted in a Vision Report delivered to the UN from cities and regions all over the world who envision a world that leaves no one and no place behind in the recovery from the pandemic and that considers everyone in the decision-making process. Our constituency demonstrates that the ethical use of digital technologies and artificial intelligence within cities are an essential way to bridge the digital divide and protect digital rights in the world envisioned for 2045.
UCLG works to advance global response and action through ground breaking commitments and agreements that become common threads that transcend borders and tie communities together, to uplift and empower the local level. In the midst of the COVID-19 crisis, the critical role of local and regional governments in protecting the rights of people and the planet through public service delivery has been emphasized and is clearer than ever. Withinthis context, the facilitation of best practices and knowledge exchange has been a key response to the pandemic. In March of 2020, UCLG, together with UN-Habitat and Metropolis launched the Live Learning Experience (LLE) series to highlight the critical role of local and regional governments in equitable service delivery, the preservation of the commons, and the promotion of human rights. As part of this series the LLE on digital technologies explored the effects and role of digital technologies during and beyond the COVID-19 outbreak.
As the use of digital technologies and services becomes more ubiquitous, the equitable and ethical application of these technologies will prove to be pivotal to the future sustainability of our towns, cities, and regions across the globe, especially in light of the Decade of Action. This is clearly reflected in the UCLG Decalogue for the post COVID-19 era, the guide for our advocacy beyond the outbreak and the basis of which are the recommendations and best practices shared during the Live Learning Experiences.
UCLG participated in and organized various events within the framework of the Smart City Expo World Congress held in Barcelona ranging from its participation as core-partner within CC4DR meetings, events related to city governance and technology, and to present the political priorities of the organization. Moreover, UCLG’s Community of Practice on Digital Cities has been facilitating knowledge exchange on digital governance and inclusive technology since 2005. Most recently, it produced it’s third Smart Cities Study in 2019 focused on the topic of Smart Governance accessible here.
As expressed by the Secretary General of United Cities and Local Governments, Emilia Saiz, together with the leaders of UN Habitat, EUROCITIES, and OHCHR, in an op-ed on Digital Rights in the COVID-19 Era, the importance of enhancing the capacity and role of local and regional governments in applying digital technologies through knowledge and financing mechanisms that support inclusion and the narrowing of the digital divide will be key for our shared future.
“It is critical to ensure service provision in order to ensure accessibility, and this entails bringing all actors, even the private sector on board. We need to define access to information as critical, and cities will need to lead the way in the defence of digital rights. Our role, as local government networks, will be to foster and put together strategies to ensure this happens.” - Emilia Saiz, Secretary-General of UCLG
UCLG is the world organization of local and regional governments and their associations, representing and defending their interests on the world stage. UCLG’s membership serves 70% of the world’s population and is present in all world regions. UCLG’s key areas of political interest are: local democracy, the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals, local finance, urban development and city diplomacy in peace building.