Why the Forum of Mayors?
Cities are on the front lines of addressing humanity’s most pressing challenges, including pandemics, climate change and natural hazards. As our world is growing increasingly urban – with some 75% of the population already living in cities in the UNECE region – these challenges cannot be addressed by national governments alone. Cities have become key partners to tackle these challenges and support the efforts to reach the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development (2030 Agenda) in the remaining seven years.
In 2020 and 2022, the Forum of Mayors brought together city leaders from Europe, North America, Central Asia and the Caucasus to amplify local solutions to address the key challenges of our time.
In 2020, the overall theme focused on “City action for a resilient future: Strengthening local government preparedness and response to emergencies and the impact of disasters and climate change” while in 2022 the Forum addressed “Recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic while advancing the implementation of the SDGs” .
How did it all come about?
At UNECE, we are committed to giving cities a voice. On 8 April 2019, UNECE organized the Day of Cities. Fifty mayors and deputy mayors from the region came to Geneva to share best practices and define a new vision for urban sustainability. However, the pressing sustainability questions do not allow us to rest on our laurels. This is why UNECE convened the first Forum of Mayors of the United Nations on 6 October 2020 and thus further opened the multilateral stage to city leaders.
The Second Forum of Mayors took place on 4-5 April 2022 at the Palais des Nations, in Geneva, Switzerland, back-to-back with the Regional Forum on Sustainable Development (RFSD). It brought together around 500 online and in-person participants representing cities and member States from across the ECE region and beyond, the United Nations Regional Commissions and specialized organizations, non-governmental organizations and academia. Mayors and vice mayors from 44 cities shared their experiences in finding people-centred solutions that simultaneously meet the needs and aspirations of their citizens, hedge against disasters and rise to the climate change challenge in a manner that ensures the successful implementation of the 2030 Agenda.
On the 13th of January 2023, the UNECE Executive Committee, at its 126th session, agreed to the establishment of the Forum of Mayors as a subsidiary body of the Committee on Urban Development, Housing and Land Management.
The objectives and the scope of the Forum of Mayors (see ECE/EX/2023/L.4, annex) are:
a) To allow for the participation of mayors in the UNECE and to share their city strategic plans, actions and joint initiatives for addressing regional and global challenges, including implementing SDG 11 and other relevant targets;
b) To support the implementation of the work of the UNECE Committee on Urban Development, Housing and Land Management (CUDHLM) and subprogramme 8;
c) To promote human-centred solutions for supporting the successful implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development;
d) To facilitate the sharing of experiences from cities, including success stories and challenges, in line with the topic of the Forum and within the mandate of the Committee;
e) To contribute to achieving coherence and complementarity between the local, regional and global levels in furtherance of a stronger, more networked and inclusive multilateral system. The Third Forum of Mayors will take place on 2-3 October 2023 in Geneva immediately prior to the 84th Session of the Committee on Urban Development, Housing and Land Management.
What to expect?
Share actions to inspire change
On 4-5 April 2022, mayors from Victoria (Canada) to Bishkek (Kyrgyzstan) and from Hod Hasharon (Israel) to Reykjavík (Iceland) shared concrete actions and innovative solutions on urban resilience, including the following topics:
- Resilient, healthy and climate-neutral buildings and affordable and adequate housing;
- Vibrant public spaces, green cities and nature-based solutions
- Sustainable urban transport, shared mobility and safer roads
- Sustainable urban planning, the 15-minute city and smart urban development solutions.
Support the Geneva Declaration of Mayors and promote human-centred solutions for supporting the successful implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development
City leaders expressed their support for the Geneva Declaration of Mayors, the outcome document of the Forum of Mayors and a commitment to action in the following areas:
- Strengthen the resilience of our cities
- Take ambitious climate action
- Make our cities greener
- Accelerate the transition to sustainable energy
- Ensure urban transport is sustainable
- Ensure housing is affordable, healthy and adequate
- Make cities more equitable and inclusive
- Turn these aspirations into reality.
Have an impact on the political agenda
The Forum culminated in concrete recommendations by mayors which fed into the decision-making process of the 83rd session of the Committee on Urban Development, Housing and Land Management to be in a better position to draft and adopt tailored and targeted instructions for UNECE member States.
Go to the official website of the Forum of Mayors