Founded in May 2004 and headquartered in Barcelona, United Cities and Local Governments (UCLG) is the united voice and world advocate of democratic local self-government. It represents and defends the interests of local and regional governments on the world stage, regardless of the size of the communities they serve. UCLG’s major areas of policy include local democracy, climate change and sustainable development, Achievement of the Millennium Development Goals of the United Nations (MDG), local finance, urban development, urban risk reduction, city diplomacy for peace building.
Disaster Reduction Goal
The UCLG World Council in Istanbul in November 2008 adopted the position of local and regional governments on Disaster Risk Reduction. The document sets out the commitment of local and regional governments to implementing local risk reduction strategies and awareness-raising campaigns aimed at reducing the vulnerability of the most disadvantaged populations; and to participating in regional, national and international platforms. This position also calls upon states, cooperation agencies, and the agencies of the United Nations to support local actions and awareness-raising campaigns, to assist in the sharing of good practices, to establish capacity-building programmes and training for municipal officials, and finally, to set up a World Forum of Local Governments, which would serve as an institutional support for the implementation at the local level of the Hyogo framework for Action.
In the context of the Campaign, UCLG will serve as a gateway to reach out to local governments and will facilitate city-to-city learning experiences on disaster risk reduction.
Policies and Programmes in DRR
Partnership for Urban Risk Reduction (PURR)
The “Partnership for Urban Risk Reduction” is an adhoc coalition of 5 international organizations: United Cities and Local Governments (UCLG), Earthquake and Megacities Initiative, Metropolis, CityNet, and ICLEI Local Governments for Sustainability.
PURR premise is that implementation of developmental and social policies takes place at the local level, as the day-to-day undertakings of physical and land use planning; urban development, construction control, social programs and infrastructure development remain in large part the responsibility of local governments. Further, local authorities remain the primary agent of service delivery to the population, thus directly impacting restitution of livelihoods and welfare during and after a disaster. Thus, by engaging in effective disaster risk reduction (DRR) policies and practices local authorities could bring about large scale protection of human life and property, and preserve development asset and sociapolitical stability.
The Partnership for Urban Risk Reduction has three main goals:
1. Worldwide awareness campaigns about risk reduction in regions regularly affected by natural disasters.
2. Building capacity at the local level to foresee and manage risks by transferring technical know-how to local actors and decision-makers.
3. Setting up a global platform for local authorities and their partners in order to build and promote a sustainable strategy for disaster risk reduction within the broader international context.
Making Cities Resilient Campaign Activities
UCLG has been a partner in the Making Cities Resilient campaign since its set out and participated in the definition of the campaign strategy. UCLG hosted the first partnership meeting in Barcelona in 2009, and has organized different events in the “Africities 5” December 2009 with UNISDR and African Mayors; a workshop with Mayors from West Africa and Southern Africa. UCLG has integrated the principles of the Making Cities Resilient campaign in its Action Plan adopted in Mexico 2010. According to Mr. Boussaraoui, “people are very aware” of the potential impact of disasters in their territory and the public is absorbing disaster risk reduction concepts in areas where UCLG is working. Opportunities for future cooperation includes the promotion of UNISDR’s campaign. UCLG’s next big focus is on Rio+20, where their involvement is expected to revolve around four messages: UN governance; climate change; incorporation of culture as one of the pillars of sustainable development; and the Making Cities Resilient Campaign.