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 solved by national governments alone. Cities have become key partners to tackle these challenges and support the efforts to reach the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in the remaining ten years.
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. 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”.
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 in the region. However, the pressing sustainability questions do not allow us to rest on our laurels. This is why UNECE convened the UN’s first Forum of Mayors and thus further opened the multilateral stage to city leaders. What better way to pay tribute to the UN’s 75th anniversary than by putting cities on center stage? This historic event was held at the Palais des Nations in Geneva on 6 October 2020.
What to expect?
- Share actions to inspire change.
On 6 October 2020, mayors from Vancouver to Vladivostok shared concrete actions and innovative solutions on urban resilience, including the following topics: (1) Local responses to the COVID-19 pandemic, (2) City actions to adapt, mitigate and respond to the effects of climate change, (3) Local responses to natural hazards, and (4) Medium-term and long-term resilience strategies in cities.
- Support the Geneva Declaration of Mayors
City leaders expressed their support for the Geneva Declarations of Mayors, the outcome document of the Forum of Mayors.
- Showcase your activities
Cities and organizations shared promotional material at an exhibition space. Video material were also submitted to virtually exemplify the city’s resilience strategy.
- Have an impact on the political agenda
The Forum culminated in concrete recommendations by mayors which fed into the decision-making process of the 81st 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.