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.
The Forum serves as a platform for on-going exchange and mutual learning where mayors present their innovative solutions to the common challenges cities face across the globe.
Cities learn from each other’s best practices in creating climate-neutral cities, increasing urban resilience, gender mainstreaming, mitigating the effects of adverse weather events and, actively engaging communities in policymaking and implementation.
The Forum stands out as a unique platform, providing mayors and city leaders with the chance to directly connect with member States, engage with prominent international organizations, and interact within the broader United Nations system.
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 (document ECE/EX/2023/L.4) are:
a) To allow for the participation of mayors in ECE 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 ECE 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 took place on 2-3 October 2023 in Geneva immediately prior to the 84th Session of the Committee on Urban Development, Housing and Land Management.Representatives of 60 cities were present and shared their experiences on urban regeneration and resilience, finding solutions that simultaneously meet the needs and aspirations of their residents, hedge against disasters and rise to the climate change challenge in a manner that supports the successful implementation of the 2030 Agenda. The Third Forum ended with formal recommendations from Mayors to member States, inviting them to endorse the Principles of Urban Regeneration and to involve cities and facilitate their participation in relevant UN processes, to foster a renewed and inclusive multilateralism.
The Fourth Forum of Mayors, the "Cities Summit of the Future", will take place in Geneva on 30 September-1 October 2024, immediately following the United Nations Summit of the Future in New York on 22-23 September 2024.
What to expect?
Share actions to inspire change
On 2-3 October 2023, mayors and city representatives shared concrete actions and innovative solutions on urban regeneration and resilience, including the following topics (document ECE/HBP/219)
- Combating climate change which increases the frequency of extreme weather events, such as floods, droughts and heatwaves
- Ensuring a smooth energy transition and promoting energy-efficient buildings, and public transport
- Revitalizing deprived areas in cities
- Fighting pollution
- Limiting the negative impacts of the privatization of land
- Providing adequate and affordable housing and upgrading informal settlements
- Preparing their cities for future shocks, including disasters, pandemics, mass migration influx, etc.
- Addressing the lack of municipal resources.
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 Second Forum of Mayors, and, during the Third Forum of Mayors, produced these 12 principles of urban regeneration:
- Follow an evidence-based planning approach
- Apply an integrated approach
- Plan for the long term to build resilient communities
- Promote inclusive people-centred design and governance
- Enhance affordability and accessibility of urban life and homes
- Preserve, reuse and revive tangible and intangible cultural heritage
- Optimize land use and pursue mixed-used and compact development
- Design keeping the health of citizens in mind
- Promote smartness
- Pursue circularity
- Privilege nature-based solutions and climate neutrality
- Prioritize sustainable and healthy transport options.
Have an impact on the political agenda
The Forum culminated in concrete recommendations by mayors (document ECE/HBP/2023/1) which fed into the decision-making process of the 84th session of the Committee on Urban Development, Housing and Land Management.
Go to the official website of the Forum of Mayors