Cities are at the forefront of the battle to address some of humanity’s most pressing challenges, from climate change to pandemics and disasters. As our world becomes more urbanized – with approximately 75% of the population of Europe and North America already residing in cities – these issues cannot be tackled by national governments alone. To guarantee that future urban development is well-planned and equitable, local administrations must have the necessary capacity and resources, and be fully included in global efforts to meet the 2030 Agenda’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
UNECE is committed to putting into action the vision of “a stronger, more networked and inclusive multilateral system, anchored within the United Nations” put forth by the United Nations Secretary-General. To achieve this, the UNECE Executive Committee decided on 13 January 2023 to further boost efforts towards a more sustainable, resilient, inclusive urban development by establishing the Forum of Mayors as a subsidiary body of the Committee on Urban Development, Housing and Land Management (CUDHLM). The meeting also appointed Architect Norman Foster as the “Advocate of the Forum” for 2023.
Norman Foster, Founder and Executive Chairman, Foster + Partners and President of the Norman Foster Foundation, said: “The future of cities is the key to the future of our planet. As Advocate of the Forum, I am honoured and delighted to influence and support the work of the new Forum of Mayors over the coming years.”
Sami Kanaan, Mayor of Geneva, declared: “You, the representatives of the 56 member States of the UNECE, have just taken an important decision, that of institutionalizing the Forum of Mayors. I would be tempted to describe this decision as historic as it marks a remarkable step in the direction of modern and more inclusive global governance; especially here in Geneva which is recognized as a major center of multilateralism.”
The third edition of the Forum of Mayors will be held in Geneva on 2-3 October 2023, before the 84th Session of the Committee on Urban Development, Housing, and Land Management (3-6 October 2023).
The Forum will give the chance to mayors and vice-mayors to share their success stories and challenges contributing to the achievement of multi-level and multi-governance coherence and complementary. It will allow for the participation of mayors and vice-mayors in the UNECE region to share their strategic plans, actions, and joint initiatives for addressing regional and global challenges, promoting human-centered solutions, and supporting the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
In particular, the Forum seeks cities that have committed to, first, promote sustainable urban development, housing, and land management, as well as to strengthen the city resilience, while making the city greener and more inclusive, ensuring sustainable urban transport and affordable housing that leaves no-one behind.
Mayors and vice-mayors will have the opportunity to give recommendations to the UNECE Committee on Urban Development, Housing and Land Management and to agree on and adopt their own Declarations.
Soon, the Committee on Urban Development, Housing and Land Management bureau will choose extraordinarily the first Chairperson and two Vice-Chairpersons of the Forum of Mayors bureau among the mayors and vice-mayors who attended the previous editions of the Forum in 2020 and 2022. In October 2023, the next members of the bureau will be directly elected by the Forum of Mayors.
Alongside the Forum, an “interregional segment” session will see the participation of mayors and vice-mayors from all over the world. This special session will be organized with the contribution of other UN Regional Commissions: the Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP); the Economic Commission for Latin America (ECLAC); the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA); and the Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA).
Join us on 2-3 October 2023 in Geneva as we explore the future of sustainable urban development!