I am delighted to see the statement from the G7 Heads of State, at their recent meeting in Germany, recognising the role of cities in delivering a sustainable future for the planet, and for all our citizens.
It is hard to overstate the importance and radical nature of this simple message, set out below. For the first time the G7 is acknowledging the role of cities and their local democratic leadership in solving the major challenges our nations face, like Climate Change.
And this is not just a statement. The G7 have tasked ministers in each country to come up with new thinking and ideas for policy, which will be adopted at a new G7 Ministerial Meeting for Sustainable Urban Development. In short, this will lead to action that can improve the quality of lives of millions of people in all our cities, across coming decades.
The G7 remain one of the world’s most influential and powerful networks of leaders, yet this statement is in part an acceptance that the really big issues cannot be solved by nations alone, but only by working together with cities, where most people live. In the UK, more than 80% of the population is already urban, and despite the challenges of Covid, still rising.
As Chair of Core Cities UK, I will be picking this up directly with our own Government, making sure that those ideas are developed in partnership with our cities from the very start. This will not only build on the spirit of the G7 statement, but also give us the best chance of success.
I want to pay tribute to the outstanding work of the G7 Urban7 (G7 U7) partners who have made this possible: city networks like the Core Cities UK across all the G7 nations, the Global Parliament of Mayors, ICLEI, United Cities and Local Government, The German Federal Ministry for Economic Development and Cooperation, and the Association of German Cities who hosted this year’s G7 U7 event during Germany’s G7 presidency.
This achievement could never have happened without such important and dedicated partners, but I am also proud to say that this is an initiative first hosted by the UK’s Core Cities who, together with their G7 U7 counterparts, have demonstrated the power of city networks collaborating to create change, something we need more, not less of.
My grateful thanks go to all the G7 U7 city networks and their visionary, talented leadership with whom it is my pleasure to continue to work:
Canada: Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM)
France: France Urbaine (Urban France)
Germany: Deutscher Städtetag (Association of German Cities)
Italy: Associazione Nazionale Comuni Italiani (ANCI, National Association of Italian Municipalities)
Japan: Japan Designated City Mayors' Association (JDCMA)
The European Union: Eurocities
UK: Core Cities UK
USA: The United States Conference of Mayors (USCOM)
G7 Heads of State Communique
We acknowledge the significant role of cities, their associations, and networks as actors in our transformation towards sustainable development. We commit to foster exchange among and with cities. We task our relevant Ministers to develop a joint understanding of good urban development policy to be adopted at the first ever G7 Ministerial Meeting for Sustainable Urban Development, and to decide on joint initiatives for unlocking the full potential of cities to promote social, cultural, technological, climate-neutral, economic, and democratic innovation for the common good