Juan Mari Aburto | Mayor of Bilbao
Itziar Urtasun | City Councillor for Gender Equality of Bilbao

From 11 to 13 June in Bilbao we are hosting the Council of European Municipalities and Regions (CEMR) Conference on Equality Diversity and Inclusion. Together with the Association of Basque Municipalities (EUDEL) and the CEMR, we are working in our city to make this forum the best platform for sharing experiences and developing ideas on the transformation of the social panorama.

Equality, diversity and inclusion represent essential values for European municipalities and regions to build a better, fairer, more inclusive and human Europe. This is precisely what we want in Bilbao; to help build a better society.

From Bilbao City Council we await you at this great European event, and I also invite you to make the most of your stay in Bilbao to discover our culture, our art, our architecture, our cuisine and our language, Basque, the oldest in Europe.  

Ongi etorriak Bilbora!     We’re waiting for you! 

Imanol Landa Mayor of Getxo, Chair of the Association of Basque Municipalities - EUDEL
Garazi López de Etxezarreta | Deputy Mayor of  Errenteria. Deputy Chair of  the Association of Basque Municipalities - EUDEL

Dear colleagues and counterparts,

We would be delighted if you would come along and join us at a must-attend event in Bilbao from 11 to 13 June 2018. We have put a great deal of time and effort into ensuring that this CEMR Conference is what we all want it to be, a benchmark for the municipalities of Europe.

The three days of the conference will be dedicated to developing a community of practice on equality, diversity and inclusion local policies from a new "intersectional" approach. Local governments are embracing the challenge of constructing settings that are inclusive and guarantee rights for the diversity of identities that made up our citizenry.  Those identities are underpinned by the intersection of different cultural, social and biological categories, including  gender, language, sexual orientation, age, disability, ethnics.

Citizens rely on their representatives to search for the instruments required for socially and cohesive cities "on a human scale" that are fare to everyone to be constructed.  Such cities would meet the dreams of everyone, over and above their differences, as spaces of coexistence and equal opportunity.

Our "toolbox" is the plans, programmes and public policies. These plans must be defined, implemented and assessed with their target audience. The municipality is the laboratory where each project and each policy is tested and implemented. 

We local elected officials are "collectors" of the dreams, thoughts and aspirations of our citizens, of the people who live and coexist in our municipalities. Our fundamental mission is to gather those citizen "dreams" and turn them into "tailor-made" solutions to meet different needs. 

We hope that our desire to turn dreams into reality inspires and drives us to give our all at this Conference.  We will seize and enjoy this shared experience!



Stefano Bonaccini | CEMR President, AICCRE President, President of the Emilia Romagna Region (Italy)
Gunn Marit Helgesen | CEMR Co-President, KS President, Councillor of Telemark County (Norway)

The world today is more connected and complex than ever before. We face new realities, particularly as regards inequalities, discrimination and social exclusion in the everyday lives of people. Local elected representatives are passionate about providing high-quality services to all citizens and have the unique responsibility and possibility to take action on these fronts.

As President and Co-President of the Council of European Municipalities and Regions, we are proud that our organisation has led the world with the European Charter for Equality of Women and Men in Local Life and we would like to invite you to our 2018 conference. Discover how local and regional governments harness the rich diversity of our societies. Discover how they can transform that dynamism into impactful and effective governance rooted in respect for human rights, fair and equal treatment and the inclusion of all members of society.

If we are to achieve the vision of Europe we have been building, it will be crucial to integrate a human rights-based approach in all local activities, from education and employment to transport and public management. This applies equally to global commitments such as the New Urban Agenda and the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

Let’s take the LEAD and demonstrate how European municipalities and regions are Local Equal Active and Diverse. Differences unite us!