On 6 October 2020, the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) and the Geneva City Hub hosted the Forum of Mayors in Geneva to discuss city-level action for a resilient future. During this event, city leaders from Europe, North America, Central Asia and the Caucasus came together to exchange on key questions such as building a resilient future in the aftermath of the pandemic, how will urban life look after the global pandemic, preparedness and response to climate change effects, and inclusive multilateralism.
Several Covenant of Mayors signatories took the floor to share how they are responding to the covid crisis to increase resilience, social inclusion, and working on their green recovery plans.
Among them, Dublin’s Lord Mayor Hazel Chu mentioned the mobility measures taken during the pandemic to optimise the city in social distancing and make travelling safe. These measures include setting up a dedicated mobility team in the city council, widening pavements, and installing cycle lanes. Joana Balsemao, Executive City Councillor of Cascais, mentioned the strong effort of the city to protect the most vulnerable citizens. Laia Bonet, Deputy Mayor of Barcelona stressed how ‘cities remain spaces for diversity, creativity, and community making, even during the pandemic. The pandemic has also made clear the need to shift towards more inclusive and sustainable models in European cities, and trigger investments for the green recovery.
Gergely Karácsony, Mayor of Budapest, mentioned the three pillars of the city’s policy: climate protection, strengthening the participatory democracy, and social justice.The City of Prague is also raising its climate ambition. Its Mayor, Zdeněk Hřib, shared how last year, the city adopted a climate pledge to reduce CO2 emissions by at least 45% compared to 2010 levels and reach climate neutrality by 2050. Dealing with the effects of the pandemic have also offered an opportunity for innovation, strengthening resilience, and tackling climate change. The economic recovery will need to be supported by investments in green and sustainable projects.
Mayors endorsed the Geneva Declaration committing to implementing the SDG11 for inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable cities, and put it at the centre of the post covid recovery efforts to build back better.
See the list of speakers here
Visit the Geneva Cities Hub website here