Ada Colau: “Cities are crying out for cooperation from states”
Tue, 17/05/2016 - 11:44
Cities. The Mayor spoke at the UN on behalf of European cities and said she was “ashamed of a Europe which lets people die”.
The Mayor of Barcelona spoke at the UN on behalf of European cities during the World Assembly of Local and Regional Governments. Colau called for a greater role in international organs for cities and broader cooperation between local government and states. Speaking about the refugee crisis, the Mayor said she felt “ashamed of a Europe which lets people die”.
The meeting in New York is one of the preparatory meetings ahead of the Habitat III summit in Quito, from 17 to 20 October, aimed at defining the new urban agenda of cities in housing and sustainable development. The preliminary act for the upcoming summit was actually held in Barcelona on 4 and 5 April.
“We’re not here to compete with states. When cities want more of a say it’s because their current voice is insufficient and we’re crying out for cooperation. We can’t be quibbling over responsibilities or vying to be the prime mover. What we should be doing is cooperating to solve people’s problems and have fairer, more sustainable and friendly cities”, stated Colau, who also defended the feminisation of politics as an antidote to unchecked neoliberalisation.
Speaking about the Quito summit, the Mayor made an explicit request for a space to govern the urban agenda where local authorities play an active part. “It’s not just about listening to the voice of cities. Cities need to form a stable part of governance on the new urban agenda to be agreed in Quito”, noted Colau, observing that “urban policy can’t be set out without cities”.
“We’re ashamed of a Europe which lets people die”
The Mayor of Barcelona made the most of the occasion to make a specific request for the UN to help Europe see that its stance on asylum and refuge policies is erratic. “We’re ashamed people are drowning at sea or freezing to death along borders. If Europe wants to be a model in democratic rights, it must change its policies”, asserted Colau, speaking before local authority officials from all over the world.