The power of cities
By Margarita Obiols, Former Secretary of the International Relations Department of Generalitat de Calatunya
Due to life’s circumstances, I have been privilege enough to participate over the last decade – the golden decade no doubt – in the international municipal movement that celebrates a century of life. The perspective of one hundred years is already something that merits historical respect, furthermore when this period has seen the most spectacular changes imaginable in populations and in all aspects of town and city life.
We have seen the power of cities grow, a power that is unique, built on solid secular foundations and that has an extraordinary future: the power to understand, to exchange, to cooperation and most importantly the power to maintain peace. The path of the movement has been colossal and a historical success and characterised by huge supporting will in what Maragall called our ‘mot d’ordre’. It was “UNITED NATIONS, UNITED CITIES” in Strasbourg in the General Assembly of CEMR before François Mitterand, and Gemerek, “le gran témoin”.
The path has been intricate, let us not deny it. We could fill many pages with episodes and anecdotes that certify that it was in no way easy, but the objective was extremely powerful and energy was in surplus! I want to mention Joan Clos, who from Barcelona and Metropolis, was relentless as depositary of the idea of unity and of the achievement of a single voice for cities before the United Nations. Fortunately he continues in this task.
What we call civility is something so powerful as to include the understanding between peoples and between cities. It is also the construction of a future, a future that must indisputably be built around the citizen. For all this, the municipal movement is of importance. Long life to our movement!
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