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Networks of the Global Taskforce gather to debate the agenda for 2021 and the next steps at the GTF Working Session.

15 December 2020

Over 130 participants, including representatives from GTF member networks such as UCLG; CLGF; AER; Regions 4; ORU-FOGAR; ICLEI; C40, FMDV, UCCI, AL-LAS; CUF; the Resilient Cities Network; Metropolis; Platforma; CEMR; and UCLG-MEWA, and special partners from UN-Habitat, UN DESA, the FAO, Cities Alliance, and UN-Women gathered to discuss the GTF’s agenda and upcoming calendar for 2021 and to align priorities for the group’s upcoming annual meeting taking place in February 2021.

2021 will be the first year of the review of the implementation of the New Urban Agenda. In this regard, the group received a presentation by UN-Habitat on the Urban Agenda Platform which is intended to act as a platform for co-creating and systematizing the report and follow-up of the New Urban Agenda, and as a one-stop location for all information related to its implementation.

The working session of the Global Taskforce addressed, as well, the topic of the Ecological Transition. 2021 is set to be a pivotal year for the agendas on climate and biodiversity, with the celebration of COP26, COP15 on biodiversity, UNEA-5, and the Race to Zero. Members of the Global Taskforce exchanged on their plans and preparatory activities towards the key advocacy events on the climate and resilience agenda to ensure alignment and synchronization of action.

Participants argued for transforming the type of interlocution we can be involved in (with national governments, with the UN system, and with other stakeholders) and exchanged on what the constituency can do to act decisively and offer political leadership. The idea of carrying out a joint narrative on issues such as the ecological transition can help strengthen our political position towards the United Nations.

UNDESA laid the groundwork towards HLPF 2021, which will be focused on COVID-19 recovery and resilience. Our constituency’s contribution, the fourth Local and Regional Governments’ Forum is set to take place in the framework of the High-Level Political Forum (HLPF), and will provide an opportunity to bring local public service provision, finance for the SDGs, and the local and regional contributions to the SDGs in review, as well as to present the fifth report from our constituency to the HLPF on the role of LRGs in the recovery.

The session came to an end by highlighting items that will be an important part of our agenda for the coming year. Food systems, migration, and gender equality, which had been high on our agenda took the stage. Introduced by the FAO, the presentation on food systems argued how cities can contribute to healthier, more equal, and more sustainable food systems through helping consumers take decisions, and how the decade of acceleration needs to spur communities to transform food systems to achieve the SDGs.

UN-Women argued how COVID-19 is affecting women, and how the recovery plans are gender-blind, but that there is also an opportunity to enhance coordination and mobilization and enhance our connectivity to bring about gender equality. Member networks of the GTF also called to be more vocal about engaging in conversations in gender equality, especially considering the pandemic.

With regard to food systems, members of the Global Taskforce agreed on how timely it was to introduce the topic as a key item in the agenda since COVID-19 has demonstrated that we are often taking them for granted. Moreover, with regard to migration, participants argued for the need to transform the narrative around migration, in particular, due to the impact that COVID-19 has been having on mobility.

The session wrapped up with participants agreeing on the importance of strengthening the narrative of the joint constituency, as well as importance of working together to address all of the topics in our joint agenda, and agreed to carry out follow up meetings on items such as communication before the Annual Meeting as a means to enter 2021 with a renewed agenda.

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