By Berta Acero
RABAT, 25 September 2013
- With less than ten days left for the 2nd World Summit of Local and regional Leaders and the 4th United Cities and Local Governments (UCLG) Congress, the city of Rabat is preparing to host from 1-4 October 2013 one of the biggest assemblies of local and regional elected representatives from across the world.
Under the guiding principle "Imagine society, build democracy", over 3,000 participants from over 100 countries will address the contribution of local and regional authorities to the well-being of communities and their role in the post 2015 international development agenda.
Local and regional representatives, financial institutions, international organizations and experts, the private sector along with partners from civil society will come together to confront the demands of an increasingly urban population, including from the disaster risk reduction perspective.
The Summit, which coincides with the one hundredth anniversary of the municipal movement, will tackle four major issues: fostering wellbeing, strengthening solidarity among territories, supporting new local governance, and promoting diversity.
Ms. Margareta Wahlstrom, the Special Representative of the UN Secretary General for disaster risk reduction and head of the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR), will be speaking about the new economic, social and environmental challenges, such as urbanization and climate change, which are challenging wellbeing around the globe despite the improvement of local public services.
The thematic round table "Fostering Wellbeing" will take place on 3rd of October (9.00-10.30 am) and will also address the contribution of local policies to the evolution of lifestyles. More specifically, the discussion will revolve around how the provision and quality of basic services also has an impact on the resilience of cities and communities and the measures taken by local governments to adapt to the threat of disasters and climate change.
As the United Nations and the international community redefine the development goals for the coming fifteen to twenty years, the discussions of Summit will also contribute to the development of the successor of the current 10-year international disaster risk reduction, the Hyogo Framework for Action (HFA) 2005-2015. The new framework for disaster risk reduction is expected to be adopted during the World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction (WCDRR) in 2015 in Japan.
In this regard, the output of this conference will also be an important step towards the definition of a new world urban agenda in the framework of the 3rd Conference of the United Nations on Infrastructure and Sustainable Urban Development -Habitat III Conference- to be held in 2016.
The Summit will also bring the opportunity to shed light on innovative policies and programmes that local and regional governments implement to address the major changes they face.
Practical examples on urban risk information mechanisms will be discussed at the side-event that UNISDR will be holding on October 2nd (from 11:00-13:00) addressing the topic: "Access to Risk Information for Citizens, Local Governments and Partners". The event will discuss the challenges of disaster risk reduction at the local level, with special emphasis on the improvement of transparency of risk information through advocacy and public awareness to mobilise citizens' support.
This upcoming World Summit of Local and Regional Leaders is the 4th UCLG Congress following the Founding Congress in Paris in 2004, the Jeju (Korea) Summit in 2007 and the 3rd Congress in Mexico City in 2010.