The two-day Urban 20 Mayoral Summit, hosted by the chair city Ahmedabad, in Gandhinagar from 7-8 July, concluded with the handover of the Communiqué from the Mayors to G20 leaders. The Communique was officially endorsed by 105 cities across the world, the highest ever number of endorsements received to date for any U20 Communiqué, and more than twice the number of endorsements for any previous communiqués.
The Communiqué has been drafted as an action agenda for the six priorities identified collectively by U20 cities. These priorities include encouraging environmentally responsible behaviours, accelerating climate finance, championing local culture and economy, ensuring water security, catalysing digital urban futures, and reinventing frameworks for urban planning and governance. The Communiqué is aligned with the G20 theme of “Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam”, or One Earth, One Family, One Future.
“Cities are going to be central to achieving various global goals related to sustainability, inclusivity and climate resilience.” said the Hon’ble Minister for Housing & Urban Affairs, Shri Hardeep Singh Puri, while addressing the gathering. The Minister shared his views on the power of the ‘urban constituency’ and the challenges of global development would have to be addressed through cities as agents of change. He reiterated that the six priorities identified by the Communiqué would be central to our collective survival in the future. He spoke about nine areas that cities should focus on, to work towards a sustainable future:
1. Strengthen local governance
2. Plan beyond traditional boundaries
3. Push for financially self-reliant cities
4. Foster a culture of innovation
5. Harness the power of data and technology
6. Shift from regulation to facilitation
7. Focus on impacts not outcome
8. Put citizens at the heart of urban policy
9. Leverage local culture and economy
The G20 Sherpa, Shri Amitabh Kant, at the handover session, emphasised the role of cities in shaping a sustainable and prosperous future. He highlighted the importance of the Summit, especially at a time when one-third of the world is facing recession and the impacts of the climate change crisis in addition to geopolitical issues. He applauded the efforts under U20 and specifically stressed on the need for adequate infrastructure finance for cities of the future and better urban planning to resolve multiple urban issues. Further, Shri Kant spoke of the alignment of U20 with the Hon’ble Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi’s vision for India’s G20 presidency, that it will be “inclusive, decisive and action-oriented”.
The handover was moderated by the U20 convenors, C40 Cities and UCLG. The Hon’ble Mayor of Ahmedabad handed over the Communique to Shri Hardeep Singh Puri and Shri Amitabh Kant, amidst thunderous applause from the delegates.
The Summit was hosted with the support of the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs, Govt. of India, National Institute of Urban Affairs (NIUA), the U20 Technical Secretariat, brought together city leaders from across G20 countries to deliberate on actions towards sustainability. Several spotlight sessions and thematic sessions were organised as part of the Summit, along with closed-door sessions with city mayors and heads of delegates on pertinent urban issues such as climate finance.
The current U20cycle has also created a record with over 50 articles, 6 extensive background research papers, six white papers on the six priority areas and six U20 bulletins being prepared and released during the cycle. The Summit also saw the launch of several technical papers and documents including the Policy brief on Mainstreaming Gender in U20 and the Ahmedabad Resilient City Climate Action Plan, which gives a roadmap for achieving net-zero emissions by 2070.
Participating city mayors and delegates, dignitaries and knowledge partners, all unanimously agreed that this U20 cycle has been a huge success and has surpassed all previous cycles in a number of aspects.
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