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UNECE Forum of Mayors fosters city-to-city learning for regeneration and resilience, facilitating an inclusive multilateralism

UNECE Forum of Mayors fosters city-to-city learning for regeneration and resilience, facilitating an inclusive multilateralism

Forum of Mayors 2023

Leaders from over 40 cities worldwide have reaffirmed the value of sharing experience, knowhow and partnerships as part of an inclusive multilateral process at the Third UNECE Forum of Mayors.  

City representatives shared their experiences in finding urban regeneration solutions that meet the needs and aspirations of their citizens, strengthen resilience to disasters and respond to climate change, supporting implementation of the 2030 Agenda. 

The Forum, which brought together around 300 participants representing cities and member States from across the pan-European region and beyond, the United Nations Regional Commissions and specialized organizations, non-governmental organizations and academia.  

In his keynote address, architect and Advocate of the 2023 Forum of Mayors Lord Norman Foster spoke about the possibility of using zoning to create compact cities, that are liveable, walkable, less polluting, use less energy, and lead to higher life expectancies for citizens.  “Do you steer your cities towards improving, the quality of life and to reducing their carbon footprint?… I really believe optimistically that they can be brought together… it is not an ”either/or ”, he said. 

Cooperation for regeneration  

Focusing on the theme “Urban regeneration towards 2030”, the Forum shared cities’ concrete experiences of sustainable urban regeneration and resilience initiatives and in localizing the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The Forum also featured two interregional roundtables with Mayors from around the world, organized in collaboration with the other UN Regional Commissions, which added further depth to the discussion about resilience to climate change and related extreme weather events. 

Specific urban regeneration projects discussed included the revitalization and creation of new public parks, specific regeneration of socio-economically disadvantaged neighborhoods, increased provision of social and age-inclusive housing and the increased development of sustainable and energy efficient public transport infrastructure.  

Drawing on these discussions, the Forum adopted recommendations setting out principles of urban regeneration. The recommendations, which were adopted by 84th Session of the Committee on Urban Development, Housing and Land Management, also invited UNECE member States “to involve cities and facilitate their participation in relevant UN processes, to foster a renewed and inclusive multilateralism”.  

UNECE Executive Secretary Tatiana Molcean stated “In the UNECE region, approximately 75% of the population already live in urban environments. Whether it is the climate crisis and induced natural disasters, excess mortality from air pollution, or inequalities and poverty issues, cities are on the front line of dealing with some of the most pressing issues of our time.  Through urban regeneration projects, they address many of the key challenges and goals related to sustainable development, contributing to achieving SDG progress at the local level.”  

The Forum elected its new Bureau, with Danela Arsovska, Mayor of Skopje, North Macedonia, as Chair with Ricardo Rio, Mayor of Braga, Portugal, and Susan Aitken, Leader of the Glasgow City Council, UK, as vice-chairs. Deputy Mayor of Geneva, Sami Kanaan, will remain an ex-officio member of the Bureau.  

“The Forum of Mayors allows us to discuss imminent topics, exchange experiences and know-how. We can learn from each other & our experiences, and then apply them to our local governments", highlighted Danela Arsovska, Mayor of Skopje. 

Further illustrating the wide variety of areas in which city leaders can act as positive actors for change, side events covered issues including urban food systems, city diplomacy and peace, Voluntary Local Reviews and Voluntary National Reviews of SDGs progress, and women’s underrepresentation in local governance and gender equality at local level.  

"There is a direct impact of the treatment that women receive in public life and then the willingness of women to put themselves forward into public life. This vicious cycle needs to be broken", stressed Susan Aitken, Leader of Glasgow City Council. 





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