By Anne Hidalgo, Mayor of Paris and Horacio Rodríguez Larreta, Head of Government of the Autonomous City of Buenos Aires
Over the past few years, the G20 has established itself as one of the world's most important forums for dialogue in order to address global challenges and discuss the agenda for economic development.
What began as a space for intergovernmental coordination on financial and economic matters now includes a broad agenda of issues, including employment, agriculture, technological change, climate action and the fight against corruption, to name but a few. Each G20 chair is responsible for following up on current issues and proposing new lines of action in an ongoing process of updating and enriching the discussion on the global development agenda.
This enriched G20 agenda went hand in hand with the incorporation into the process of various stakeholders. These stakeholders form various "engagement groups", which provide the perspective of experts from various areas and help to inform and enrich the matters addressed by the leaders. Business leaders, women, young people, think tanks and civil society organisations make up some of those groups that contribute to the G20 agenda.
The majority of the topics addressed by the G20 and its engagement groups have an impact on cities; furthermore, the policies and actions that we pursue at local government level are crucial for implementing and driving forward these agendas, and also so that countries are able to fulfil many of the commitments that they undertake in various international forums. In spite of this central importance of cities, until now large cities did not have a channel for dialogue within the G20 that enabled them to contribute their viewpoint to the discussion on the development agenda.
Therefore, from Buenos Aires and Paris, and supported by C40, we are launching the Urban20 (U20), a space that enables cities to be involved in the G20. This initiative seeks to establish a forum in which the major cities of the world develop a joint position that helps to inform and enrich the discussion between national leaders during the next G20 summit, which will take place in Buenos Aires towards the end of 2018.
In 2010, for the first time in history, the urban population surpassed the rural population, and by 2050, it is estimated that at least two-thirds of the world's population will live in cities. The transformations brought about by urbanisation, and the experience gained by cities with regard to innovation and the quality of their public policies, have the potential to boost well-being and economic growth across the globe.
Cities can enrich spaces such as the G20. As part of an inclusive solution to succeed in solving global problems, U20 will work to ensure that cities play an increasingly important role in the response to the development concerns of our time, particularly in the areas of climate action, the future of employment and social integration, starting with the creation of more inclusive, resilient and prosperous societies.
We believe that this journey, upon which we are embarking today and which will culminate in the first U20 Mayors Summit in October 2018 in Buenos Aires, is an appropriate and necessary first step towards establishing a regular and productive channel of dialogue that enables cities to contribute to the global agenda discussed by the G20.