On the side-lines of the on-going 24th Session of UN-Habitat Governing Council, a side event was held to discuss local authorities and urban law.
Titled Local authorities and urban law: meeting challenges and harnessing opportunities, the session gave local authority leaders a forum to discuss challenges to their regulatory systems including including capacity building needs and reform priorities.
Robert Lewis-Lettington from UN-Habitat introduced the concept of urban law and presented the work that the Urban Legislation Unit is currently doing.
From the city of Medellin, Diego Restrepo described the Colombian urban planning framework and the specific legislation that the city of Medellin has passed to make use of a range of land management tools contained in the national legislation. The City of Medellin has in fact made large use of the decentralized law making powers for example around urban planning and associated financing mechanisms in its planning instruments.
He further explained that Medellin is one few Colombian cities taking advantages of these delegate powers for its strong political will and financial and human capacities.
Leszek Pochroń-Frankowski, locally elected councillor of the central district local council of the city of Gdansk (Poland) described the role of the councils in engaging the public in the municipal law making process. The local councils are indeed a powerful tool to get communities feedback on legislative reforms and to receive proposals for new interventions.