Mayors from the world’s largest economies urged their national leaders to work together to “leverage the tremendous potential of our cities as hubs of diversity and innovation for the purpose of tackling global challenges.” Cities from G20 member states, known as the Urban 20 (U20) presented their recommendations, on climate action, social inclusion and integration and sustainable economic growth, in a communique that was delivered Wednesday to Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.
Abe will welcome world leaders at the upcoming G20 Summit in Osaka on June 28-29.
The U20 Mayors Summit which concluded Wednesday in Tokyo brought together leaders of 35 major cities, including Berlin, Helsinki, Jakarta, Osaka, Riyadh, Rome, Rotterdam and Tokyo. Yuriko Koike, governor of Tokyo, was the 2019 U20 Chair and host of the Urban 20 Mayors Summit. Tokyo is a leading environmental city with ambitious commitments to becoming a carbon neutral city by 2050 through a suite of sectoral policies in energy efficiency, transport, waste and equity, including a pioneering emissions cap-and-trade system for their buildings sector.
The communique, endorsed by the leaders of 30 cities, representing 126 million people, called on G20 member states to work with cities to implement a series of measures, including among many others:
● Set ambitious targets for greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions to peak no later than by 2020, reduce substantially by 2030 and reach net zero by 2050.
● Commit to decarbonizing the energy grid, with 100% renewable electricity by 2030, and 100% renewable energy by 2050.
● Enact national regulations and/or planning policy to ensure new buildings operate at net zero carbon by 2030 and all buildings by 2050.
● [Help] expedite the transition to zero-emission vehicles and support cities’ efforts to diffuse such vehicles.
● Reduce the generation of plastic waste... phasing-out certain single-use and hard to recycle plastics in particular.
Social Inclusion and Integration
● Implement housing strategies to ensure access of all populations to adequate housing.
● Mainstream accessibility and universal design throughout urban planning.
● Eliminate the gender pay gap and promote women’s entrepreneurship.
● Create safe cities free of violence against women.
● Proactively address needs of aging populations.
● Raise awareness on the positive impact of migration and shift the narrative from migration as a challenge to migration as an opportunity.
Sustainable Economic Growth
● Harness digitalization and emerging technologies both to promote inclusive economic growth and solve urban challenges.
● Promote digital rights and equal access for all city dwellers to affordable internet and digital services.
● Develop sustainable, resilient, and quality infrastructure, prioritizing those that serve marginalized populations and foster their inclusion in the green
● Ensure a just transition to decarbonized development.
The U20 Communique was signed by the mayors, or governors of Amsterdam, Berlin, Brussels-Capital Region, Buenos Aires, Chicago, Christchurch, Durban, Hamburg, Helsinki, Houston, Jakarta, Johannesburg, London, Los Angeles, Madrid, Mexico City, Milan, Montreal, New York City, Osaka, Paris, Port Vila, Rio de Janeiro, Rome, Rotterdam, Sao Paulo City, Seoul, Sydney, Tokyo and Tshwane.
“If we do not implement local policies, neither SDGs nor the Paris Agreement will be realized,“ said Koike. “Under such circumstances, one could say that the launch of the U20 initiative, which attempts to engage cities in the G20 process, was inevitable. It was a great honor to take over as the 2019 Chair and carry on the success of the 2018 U20 Summit in Buenos Aires.”
“The U20 challenges G20 nations to work with city leaders for the benefit of both our citizens and the planet,” said Anne Hidalgo, mayor of Paris and chair of C40. “Our ambition could not be higher; to prevent catastrophic climate change, preserve biodiversity, distribute opportunities equitably and harnesses the power of innovation and technology for a better world for all.”
"The first ever Urban 20 in Buenos Aires brought the challenges and opportunities of our urban era to the decision-making table of the G20. We are certain that the summit in Tokyo will further the notion that we, the cities of the world, are critical to fulfil the global agendas" Horacio Rodríguez Larreta, mayor of Buenos Aires.© Japan Today