An ever-young centenary: the global municipal movement
By Elisabeth Gateau, Former Secretary General of the Council of European Municipalities and Regions, Former Secretary General of United Cities and Local Governments, Member of the Committee of Honour of UCLG
The year 1913 was overall a rather unique time. It was, in Europe, the culmination of one world - that of the 19th Century - and the rupture point on the brink of modernity. It was a time in which towns and cities began to become conscious of their potential, to understand that they too could be more attractive, healthier, faster and easier places to live, more ‘vibrant’ as we now say one hundred years later. It was also a time in which the alarm bells began to ring announcing what would become the First World War. Not surprising therefore that at this time of radical change (uncannily based on a faith in the future and fear of the worst, that was to become a reality) a group of engineers, urbanists, and elected local representatives were able to come together in 1913 to consider questions linked to the future of towns and cities, all in the framework of what we know today as the large world organization.
On this year, marking the centenary, it highly satisfying to know that it is through these first few fertile years that UCLG has become involved - albeit in a very unequal form although increasingly reinforced - in the work of the international institutions on the new development agenda, aid effectiveness, climate and access to essential services, the financial crises, conflict resolution, gender equality, and the construction of new democracy. All these question that we now begin to understand. As the Nobel Prize winner for economy, Roger B. Myerson, puts it, their solution can be “maximised by the federal-style democratic decentralized institutions”.
A long life to United Cities and Local Governments!
To read the full document in French, please click here.