Urbanization has been quite rampant as more than half of the global population lives in cities. It is speculated that cities will host two-thirds of human race by 2050. This, in turn, leads to massive energy consumption which is already over 75% of the world’s energy. This additionally generates 75% of related emissions causing climate change.
Global urban collaboration
The phenomenon requires effective global action and for that emerges the need for productive dialogue between the national and the local governments on issues ranging from the climate emergency, addressing inequality and sustainable economic development.
Hence, the Urban 20 (U20) was visualized and launched in 2017 under the leadership of Mayor Larreta of Buenos Aires and Mayor Hidalgo of Paris to bring together mayors from major G20 cities. The move’s focus is on- climate change and sustainable development, including socio-economic issues at the nexus of the Sustainable Development Goals.
Cities’ cross-cutting challenge of access to finance. Every year, the U20 considers the relationship between these areas and the G20 priorities, and contributes to the process and policy priorities identified by the U20 chair. So far, several cities across the world have held U20 summits which include: Ahmedabad, Jakarta, Rome – Milan, Riyadh, Tokyo, Buenos Aires.
Ahmedabad As U20 2023 Chair
Gujarat’s Ahmedabad is the Urban 20 2023 chair, following a handover from Jakarta, the U20 2022 chair. It has identified six priority areas building on this year’s G20 theme “One Earth – One Family – One Future” that are critical to global agendas.
The agenda includes-
(1) Encouraging environmentally responsible behaviors
(2) Ensuring water security
(3) Accelerating climate finance
(4) Championing local identity
(5) Reinventing frameworks for urban governance
(6) Planning and catalyzing digital urban futures
The U20 Inception meeting was attended by more than 200 participants from across the world. There was a City Sherpa Meeting that was attended by representatives and Sherpas from 42 cities, which is the largest recorded participation from U20 participating and observer cities since the inception of the U20 Engagement Group.
Ahmedabad, in the meeting, called on cities to work together in a spirit of solidarity and with the objective of deepening their collaboration and to collectively find solutions that is in sync with the overall objectives of the G20. The U20 Mayors’ Summit in July 2023 allowed the U20 cities to present their joint recommendations to the government of India as President of the 18th G20 Heads of State and Government Summit.
Potential areas of convergence for infrastructure financing, improving disaster adaptation, mitigation and response in cities, and mainstreaming digital governance were discussed by the Chairs of three G20 Working Groups, namely – the Infrastructure Working Group, Disaster Risk Reduction Working Group and Digital Economy Working Group. The areas of convergence between U20 and other engagement groups of the G20, particularly the role cities can play in engaging the youth and creating opportunities for them, facilitating a robust startup ecosystem, and fostering innovative strategies in the areas of environment, climate finance, water security and digital governance were also discussed with the Chair of Startup 20 and representatives from Youth 20 and Think 20.
Participating city mayors and delegates, dignitaries and knowledge partners unanimously agreed that this U20 cycle has been a huge success and has surpassed all previous cycles in a number of aspects.