City mayors create 'global parliament' to manage urbanisation

Mon Oct 17, 2016 8:54am EDT
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By Paola Totaro

QUITO, Ecuador (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - More than 60 mayors from around the world have joined forces to create an alliance dubbed a 'global parliament' to demand a more powerful role in the management of city growth and urbanisation.

Speaking on the eve of the United Nations Habitat III conference in Quito, Ecuador, on Sunday, the mayors outlined a united vision in which local government would lead the global response to rising urbanisation.

They said collaboration rather than competition would help them address the most urgent challenges for the world's cities, from affordable housing and transport to climate change, migration and refugees.

The mayor of Montreal, Denis Coderre, quoted U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon who once said that if "you need to settle a problem, ask a mayor" and urged his colleagues to remember that "united we conquer".

"I believe that national governments will have to realise that cities exist and that it is not just in speeches that we make a difference in the quality of life of our people, our citizens," he said.

"Today we find ourselves at a crossroads: with migration the world is not defined any longer by countries or continents but by cities. We, local government, are the ones at the frontline to address many of the most pressing issues."

More than 35,000 people, from academics and planning specialists to government officials and U.N. leaders have gathered together in the Andean city to discuss the future of the world's cities.

Held every 20 years, the conference comes at a point when, for the first time in history, more people live in cities than rural areas.   Continued...