The Barcelona Resilience Week took place in Barcelona from the 11th to the 16th of November and brought together local and regional governments, partners and stakeholders working on resilience with the focus to advance awareness raising and take knowledge to action.
The Barcelona Resilience Week occurred in parallel to the Smart City Expo World Congress and showcased a wide range of initiatives and approaches to address urban challenges and implement the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the Paris Agreement, the New Urban Agenda and the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction.
Water management, the creation of infrastructure capable of resisting different types of natural disasters and the need to establish frameworks for collaboration between different actors were the main topics of discussion in sessions throughout the week.
UCLG ensured that resilience remain high on the political and policy agenda of both international networks and city members. During the Steering Committee of the Making Resilient Cities Campaign, Emilia Saiz Secretary General of UCLG highlighted the key role of local and regional governments in building resilience of the communities they represent. UCLG together with sister organisations ICLEI and C40 strengthened links with UN-Habitat and UNISDR and called to build mechanisms for implementation and strengthen dialogue between local and national governments to build resilient societies.
To strengthen urban resilience, it is essential to understand the structures and processes of political, administrative and financial decentralization in terms of responsibilities and capacities, including planning.
The meeting "Governance, decentralization and resilience" was held within the Smart City Expo World Congress together with UN Habitat, ICLEI and Alfredo Martinez, Mayor of Santo Domingo Este, and it was a session of exchange of experiences where decentralization and the key role of local governments to increase the resilience of cities were analyzed, since local governments are effectively in the front line of the situations of crises in which citizens find themselves.
In this sense, Emilia Saiz, Secretary General of UCLG, stressed that "governance and resilience are two concepts that must be addressed in order to build sustainable cities, and that multi-level governance and working in unison is necessary to comply with the 2030 Agenda".
Building on UCLG and UN-Habitat’s experience, the session “City perspectives on Resilience: Challenges, Opportunities and Practice” was convened by both organizations and held in the UCLG World Secretariat. Local and regional governments are key actors and have the capacity to lead effective action and rally partners to achieve transformative change. City representatives of Istanbul, Santo Domingo Este, Maputo, Asunción and Sarov, among others shared their initiatives and challenges to build city resilience programme. Sabadell and Terrassa brought the perspective of the intermediary cities to the debate. Furthermore, Emilia Saiz brought the political note highlighting the need of coordination and political willingness to build a resilience programme.
The discussions aimed to develop targeted resources for local governments seeking to localize global development agendas by building resilience.