Mayors and local government representatives from around the world have asked their umbrella body, United Cities and Local Governments (UCLG), to facilitate implementation of an action plan to respond to the specific needs of communities stricken by the tsunami disaster.
At an extraordinary meeting in Paris City Hall at the weekend weekend, the officials mandated UCLG – the world’s largest local government organization – to have its World Secretariat act as the focal point for information exchange between local governments.
“It is entirely natural for the world’s local authorities to express their solidarity with the victims of the tsunamis,” said UCLG President Bertrand Delanoë. “We salute the overwhelming sense of solidarity among our citizens which has seen communities around the world launch innumerable initiatives aimed at alleviating the suffering of those affected by the disaster. In order to optimise our efforts, we will harness both the solidarity and technical expertise of our members via the extensive network of local governments which make up our organization.”
The meeting called by Mr. Delanoë, Mayor of Paris, brought together the Mayors of Athens, Barcelona, Budapest, Dublin, Hanover, Istanbul, Ljubljana, Nicosia, Rome and Toronto, as well as the Deputy Mayors of Lisbon and London, and representatives from the cities of Amsterdam, Berlin, Kazan, Madrid and Stockholm.
The mayors expressed their wish to prioritize assistance to children and the reconstruction of infrastructure, with particular attention to the provision of clean drinking water and sanitation. UCLG will facilitate exchange of information on the different initiatives, and will ensure coordination with the United Nations and its agencies.
Participants at the Paris meeting also agreed that UCLG should establish a database of local government experts to enhance the resources of the United Nations, NGOs and national authorities, with which UCLG is collaborating. The database will contain information on the technical expertise available within local government in order to respond to future requests for international assistance in fields such as water, sanitation, transport and infrastructure.
Mr. Sergio Piazzi, Head of External Relations of the United Nations Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, said that such a database would significantly improve the UN’s ability to strategically plan humanitarian relief efforts in domains such as water and sanitation, infrastructure and other basic services.
See also: http://www.unhabitat.org/unacla