Mayor of Rio de Janeiro Eduardo Paes and Mayor of São Paulo Ricardo Nunes became co-chairs of the 7th Urban 20 (U20) cycle on 1 December 2023.

As Brazil officially takes over the G20 Presidency from India, the Brazilian cities will take over the chairship of U20 and lead U20 cities in their engagement with the G20, elevating the voices of urban centres at the heart of G20 economies.

Urban 20 is a G20 Engagement Group, bringing together cities from G20 countries to inform and influence the discussions of national leaders at the G20. The purpose of the U20 is to facilitate lasting engagement between the G20 and cities, raise the profile of urban issues in the G20 agenda, and establish a forum for cities to develop a collective message and perspective to formally contribute to G20 negotiations.

The world’s population is increasingly urban. By 2050, 68% of the global population – 6.6 billion people – will live in cities. Most of this growth will take place in cities in Asia, Africa, and Latin America. The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) estimates that 65% of the 169 Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) targets cannot be achieved without involving subnational governments, including cities.

Building on the central theme of Brazil’s upcoming Presidency, “Building a fair world and a sustainable planet”, the co-chairs will deliver a U20 agenda focused on priority issues, such as sustainable development, social inclusion and inequalities, and increasing subnational access to climate finance. One of the main goals of the 2024 cycle is to guarantee direct investment and access to public and private financing so that cities, especially in the Global South, can promote a just climate transition with better urban infrastructure. This economic agenda includes the reform of multilateral development banks, the creation of new financial instruments for cities and the guarantee of tax systems that decentralise the execution of public policies in cities.

The 2024 U20 cycle will include a Sherpa meeting and in-person mayoral activities hosted in each of the cities, leading up towards the G20 Leaders’ Summit in Rio de Janeiro in November 2024.

Eduardo Paes, Mayor of Rio de Janeiro, said: “Rio and São Paulo bring together institutions that think about and produce the development of Brazil. Our common goal is to attract a large number of mayors around a productive agenda. Cities around the world want to influence the G20 heads of state during the Rio Summit in November. Alongside São Paulo, we will indicate ways to expand public and private financing for sustainable urban development.”

Ricardo Nunes, Mayor of São Paulo, said: “For 6 years now, Urban 20 provides an opportunity for the world’s major cities to come together and strengthen the G20 agenda with concrete recommendations from an urban perspective. The global context is now more challenging than ever and cities and national leaders need to work together to find solutions and discuss global economic, climate and development issues. The Urban 20 is one such mechanism that facilitates local-to-national discussions. I and my fellow U20 Mayors are proud to take part in the G20 process and look forward to an impactful and collaborative cycle.”

Mark Watts, Executive Director, C40 Cities, said: “Urban 20 is uniquely placed to speak directly to the leaders of the world’s biggest economies. Next year, in particular, Brazil – as host of COP30 – has a key role to play in ensuring the world is on track to achieve the targets of the Paris Agreement. There is an urgent need for leadership at the level of national governments, and I am delighted to see the creation of the Global Mobilization against Climate Change by the G20 Brazil Presidency. The key to accelerating climate action and delivering national strategies is by working with the doers who are progressing the phase-out of fossil fuels. By working with mayors and investing in cities, G20 leaders can catalyse stronger and faster national climate action. As permanent conveners of U20, C40 – together with UCLG – looks forward to facilitating engagement between national and city leaders in this important global forum.”

Emilia Saiz, Secretary-General, UCLG, said: “Cities are hubs of prosperity but they are also hubs of care, diversity, creativity and community-building, acting as guarantors of rights for all through local public service provision. The Urban 20 is a vital space to ensure that the actions and aspirations of the G20 are informed by the impactful and scalable policies and political leadership brought out at the local level. Only through multilevel governance, solidarity and partnerships can we bring about change in the world and a new resolve to accelerate the implementation of the global agendas.”

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