“It is the mother in you and being a hands-on, 24-7 leader that made your presentations very powerful”.
This was the common accolade and bravura to the different presentations and speeches made by the Hon. Sally A. Lee from global leaders and other participants to the recently-concluded international forum on “World Summit of Local and Regional Leaders – 5th UCLG Congress, 12-15 October 2016, Bogota, Colombia”, and “Habitat III-Special Session on Cities, Climate Change and Disaster Risk Reduction, 17-19 October 2016, Quito, Ecuador”. Special Sessions which the Honorable Mayor attended as a panelist and participant include: a) “Community Forum on Intermediary Cities”,” Local Governance, Inclusive Governance and Participatory Budgeting”, “Forum on Locally-Elected Women”, “Practical Session on Public Spaces, “Resilient and Resource-Efficient Infrastructure”, and “Partners Meeting of the Global Initiative for Resource-Efficient Cities”.
The “New Urban Agenda”
Under the motto, “Local Voices for a Better World”, the above-mentioned Summit addressed the priorities for the “New Urban Agenda” which was adopted in Quito, Ecuador including other key matters related to its implementation and financing. The Summit also allowed the aspirations of local and regional governments to be heard and showcase their real-life experiences.
Specifically, the World Summit produced four (4) major outputs:
- 1. The Global Agenda of Local and Regional Governments for the 21st Century- This reflects the vision and legacy of local and regional authorities on the main challenges of the global development agenda (e.g. SDGs, Habitat III, etc.).
- 2. The 4th Global Report on Local Democracy and Decentralization (GOLD IV)- This provides analysis, examples of local government innovation, and case studies from across the world to support the recommendations of the Global Agenda.
- 3. The Bogota Statements – Concise and politically-driven, these reflect the major challenges that local and regional governments have identified over the course of the Summit, as well as its major outcomes.
- 4. The Key Recommendations of Local and Regional Governments to Habitat III – The key recommendations, based on the outcomes of the 2nd World Assembly of Local and Regional Governments, comprised the main proposals that the participants advocated from Bogota to the Habitat III Conference in Quito.
The six (6) cornerstones of the “New Urban Agenda” consist of the following:
- Stronger, more accountable Local and Regional Governments.
- The Right to the City at the Heart of the New Urban Agenda.
- Culture as a Driver for Urban Transformation.
- Territories for Sustainable Local Economic and Environmental Policies.
- Drive Bottom-Up National Development.
- Building the Spirit of Solidarity.
Tangible and Intangible Benefits of the Trip
- Undoubtedly, a huge honor for the City of Sorsogon to be represented in the very prestigious and powerful World Summit of Local and Regional Leaders. Not all LGUs enjoy the same privilege.
- Opportunity for the City to be recognized in the global development arena which is the passport for more international development assistance.
- We were able to articulate our core values and advocacies on grassroots and participatory governance, transparency, accountability, volunteerism, capacity building and empowerment, investing in our people, international interdependence and networking, pro-life, character and organic city, and other best practices which will surely improve our GNH (Gross National Happiness).
- 4. Fifty (50) bamboo housing units were approved for funding by Base Bahay to jumpstart our proposed “Bamboo Village”, showcasing disaster-resilient shelter infrastructures.
- 5. Several countries have extended expense-free invitations to the City Government for us to share our best practices in local governance while other countries expressed their willingness to also share with us their advanced developmental technologies. Likewise, other countries and international development agencies demonstrated their interest to discuss possible funding scheme for the development programs and projects of the City of Sorsogon.
Indeed, the trip of Mayor Sally A. Lee once again proved to the world that Sorsogon City has vast potentials and resources to be tapped. And with the assistance of the international community and the innate capability and resiliency of Sorsoganons, the city can indeed be molded as one of the “Model Cities” in the world. (T. Fortes)