Ada Colau: “This is the century of cities and the fight against inequality”
City. Speaking at the World Assembly of Cities and Local Authorities in Quito, the Mayor of Barcelona and co-president of the UCLG called for greater cooperation between administrations.
The Mayor of Barcelona and co-president of the United Cities and Local Governments (UCLG) network, the most important network of cities in the world, believes that cooperation between administrations is essential and that there must be paradigmatic shift in the relationship between cities and states. The Mayor was speaking at the World Assembly of Cities and Local Authorities in Quito, an act prior to the Habitat III summit by the UN to decide the New Urban Agenda for the next twenty years and which places the emphasis on combatting inequality and climate change.
“This is the century of cities, as well as the feminisation of politics and a change in values”, asserted Ada Colau in front of the assembly inaugurated by the UN Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon. Colau, defending the declaration being presented by cities at the Habitat III summit, also called for challenges to be tackled via cities.
“Enough competing, we must cooperate”, asserted the Mayor, who called for cities to play a greater role in decision-making as they are part of the problem and part of the solution. As an example, Colau brought up public transport: while states are signing agreements to reduce the use of private vehicles, Barcelona and its metropolitan area have seen funding for public transport from the Spanish government slashed. In light of this, Colau used the occasion to call for local governments to have access to funding without having to rely on states.
Colau’s speech also noted the feminisation of politics and the growing number of women in decision-making, as well as defending the work of cities in protecting the most vulnerable groups in society. “Cities must be territories for rights, particularly of those most vulnerable, such as children, women, refugees and LGBTI people. Cities which stand up for equal opportunities, rights and freedom”, affirmed the Mayor.