Marking the establishment of The Forum of Mayors at UNECE, Norman Foster has been named as the “Advocate of the Forum” 2023.

In the official press release, the UNECE noted: Pandemics, climate change, and natural disasters are some of humanity’s most urgent problems, and cities are at the forefront of the battle to address them. These issues cannot be tackled by national governments alone since our world is becoming more urbanized, with approximately 75% of the population of the UNECE region now residing in cities. To guarantee that future urban development is well-planned and equitable, local administrations must have the necessary capacity and resources. The success or failure of the UN 2030 Agenda Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) will be determined by whether local governments are appropriately empowered.

Norman Foster, Founder and Executive Chairman, Foster + Partners, said: “The future of cities is the key to the future of our planet. As Advocate of the Forum, I am honoured and delighted to influence and support the work of the new Forum of Mayors over the coming years.”

Sami Kanaan, Mayor of Geneva, declared: “You, the representatives of the 56 member States of the UNECE, have just taken an important decision, that of institutionalizing the Forum of Mayors. I would be tempted to describe this decision as historic as it marks a remarkable step in the direction of modern and more inclusive global governance; especially here in Geneva which is recognized as a major center of multilateralism.”

The Forum will allow for the participation of mayors and vice-mayors in the UNECE to share their strategic plans, actions, and joint initiatives for addressing regional and global challenges, promoting human-centered solutions, and supporting the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

The Forum will give the chance to mayors and vice-mayors to share their success stories and challenges contributing to the achievement of multi-level and multi-governance coherence and complementary inspired by the vision of the United Nations Secretary-General of “a stronger, more networked and inclusive multilateral system, anchored within the United Nations”.

In particular, the Forum seeks cities that have committed to, first, promote sustainable urban development, housing, and land management, as well as to strengthen the city resilience, while making the city greener and more inclusive, ensuring sustainable urban transport and affordable housing leaving no-one behind.

Mayors and vice-mayors will have the opportunity to give recommendations to the UNECE Committee on Urban Development, Housing and Land Management and to agree on and adopt their own Declarations.

The third edition of the Forum of Mayors will be held in Geneva on 2-3 October 2023, the 84th Session of the Committee on Urban Development, Housing, and Land Management.

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