Care is both a need and a service, but it is also a social value that helps qualify how services, assistance, and support are provided. The value of care aims to keep people feeling safe and maintains their dignity. And caring cities are inclusive cities. A policy paper for the World Summit of Local and Regional Leaders at local government level proposes some thoughts on this.
A city that cares fulfils its human rights obligations as well as the needs and aspirations of everyone. Places and spaces should be available, acceptable, accessible, and affordable for everyone. This means city and community ecosystems need a new social contract to be caring. This contract should involve collaboration and be based on respect for people and the environment.
The policy paper discusses the challenges and sets some recommendations for local and regional governments and some points on taking local action. This paper will be of interest to policy makers in all levels of government.
Enabling Environments for Local Action
“The responsibility for caring extends across all of government. Local and regional governments need to be supported and enabled to make the necessary transformations in favour of caring systems. To this end, this paper recommends taking the following actions at the national level:
a. Enact adequate, inclusive regulatory and policy frameworks establishing the basis for green, sustainable, and accessible public services and infrastructure
b. Sustain adequate transfer and allocation of financial resources to strengthen local-level technical capacity and enable efficient implementation.
c. Establish the legal foundations to institutionalize meaningful participatory and multi-level governance that considers the whole of society, moving past political alliances and promoting government accountability at all levels.”
Joint way forward
Governments at all levels need to share responsibility for creating caring systems by collaborating with communities. The policy paper recommends establishing strong partnerships and collaboration to enable social change. Here are some of the key points:
- Care is a human right and a public good and universal access to it
- Establishing collaborative platforms and social dialogue
- Challenging the gendered division of labour of paid and unpaid care work
- Respect for local and indigenous knowledge
- Accessible and ethical information management
The title of the policy paper is Caring Systems and was presented at the UCLG World Congress and Summit of World Leaders held October 2022 in Korea.
UCLG = United Cities and Local Government.