500 local and regional leaders commit to embrace equality, diversity and inclusion

13 junio 2018

The curtains are just closing on the CEMR conference, where over 500 local and regional leaders gathered in Bilbao from 11 to 13 June. They committed to direct their efforts towards one common goal: to act for a more open and respectful society in terms of equality, diversity and inclusion.

The closing session was the opportunity to present the conference’s main conclusions. This document was approved by CEMR’s Policy Committee, and contains 17 proposals to contribute to a fairer society for all.

These conclusions are an explicit call addressed to local and regional leaders: make sure leadership is shared between men and women, and engage in coordinated action between municipalities and regions for a fairer and more equal society. The document calls for the setting up real governance in partnership between all spheres of power: local, regional, national and European, the European institutions and international organisations.

For his part, the mayor of Bilbao, Juan Mari Aburto, stated: “We must make the development to which we aspire for our towns, regions and citizens is inclusive, truly offering opportunities to all, and which incorporates the services and support necessary to prevent and solve situations of exclusion.

The spokesperson for the Association of Basque municipalities, Mayor of Elburg, Natividad López de Munain, stressed that: “we have heard great examples of how to build very efficient governance models”, and added “let’s keep working in our villages, our communities, and our towns, so that this fire can keep on burning.

Presenting the state of play of gender balance at the Committee of the Regions, President Karl-Heinz Lambertz pointed out that “efforts still need be done within our organisation to reach gender balance among our members”. He also stressed that “equality, social cohesion and inclusion are fundamental values that must be at the heart of local action and european policy”.

After a few years at the helm of the CEMR Standing Committee for Equality, mayor of Galdakao, Ibon Uribe, passed the torch to Östergötland regional councillor, Emil Broberg, who congratulated the Committee upon the success of the European Charter for Equality of Women and Men in Local Life and its Observatory. “These tools are the cornerstone of CEMR’s work in the field of equality. Together, let’s make sure equality is in a good position in our political agendas.”

Supporting these words, the Member of the Assembly of the Republic of Portugal, Edite Estrela, explained that “when a woman enters politics, it changes her. When several women enter politics, it is politics itself that changes.” She added: “what counts is to change people’s mindsets, first and foremost in the family home.

Finally, Friso Roscam Abbing, representing the EU Agency for Fundamental Rights, concluded the debates by stressing: “if we want to ensure a sustainable future and sustainable changes, we have to focus on children’s education from a very early stage. We have to teach them what equality, diversity and inclusion is all about.”

Discover our photos and our video

To make sure you remember this moment, we have taken photos throughout the conference. You can find them here: Day 1 | Day 2 | Day 3. Make sure you also have a look at the video wrap-up of these three days.

See a picture you like? Feel free to share it on social media with the conference hashtag, #CEMRBilbao2018. That hashtag is also a great way to see all the lively debates that took place during the conference.

Thank you again for making this conference such a rewarding experience. We look forward to seeing you at the 2020 CEMR Congress in Innsbruck (Austria)!

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