• More than 430 global and city leaders gathered in Ahmedabad this week at the 6th Urban 20 Summit, ahead of G20 meetings later this year in India
  • A record number of 105 cities have endorsed this year’s U20 Communiqué, which calls on national and city leaders to work together as “valuable and equal partners” to halve global emissions by 2030 and address inequalities, while creating safe, resilient and just societies and promoting equitable, affordable and inclusive development
  • U20 members highlight the urgent need to overhaul development finance to increase support for climate action in cities, especially for adaptation in Global South cities facing the brunt of the climate crisis, and stress the key role local public service provision plays in sustainable development as a key instrument for delivering social security and protections

Mayors, governors and city leaders representing some of the world’s largest economies today offered solutions to the Group of 20 (G20) on ways to tackle our complex, intertwined climate, economic and humanitarian crises.

They urged world leaders to take concrete actions to accelerate sustainable and just development that leaves no-one behind, deliver social justice and address structural inequalities. City leaders also called for an overhaul of financial institutions so they disincentivise investment in fossil fuels, step up support for climate adaptation and support cities in tackling the climate, economic and humanitarian crises. 

Cities are at the frontline of climate change, and have done groundbreaking work over the past years setting ambitious climate targets and delivering on robust climate action plans. Moreover, cities have been working day in and day out protecting their communities through local public service provision, ensuring the safeguarding of human rights and fostering of local democracy.

The gathering of city leaders at the Urban 20 (U20) Summit was hosted by Kiritkumar J Parmar, the Mayor of Ahmedabad, supported by the Indian Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs, and co-convened by C40 Cities and United Cities and Local Governments (UCLG).

At the summit closing, Parmar, this year’s U20 Chair, presented a six-point Communiqué addressed to the G20 heads of state to the Indian G20 Presidency and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, represented at the event by the Hon. Minister of Housing and Urban Affairs Shri Hardeep Singh Puri and G20 Sherpa Amitabh Kant. The Communiqué outlines U20’s vision for working collaboratively with the G20 to inspire city-level solutions to global climate, economic and environmental issues. It was signed by 105 cities. 

This year’s U20 Summit took place amid growing global momentum to reform the world’s financial system to make it fit for purpose for today’s challenges. With half the world’s population living in cities – and often at the frontline of the climate crisis – mayors and city leaders came together to send a strong message that multilateral bank reform must help close the massive finance gap holding back urban climate action.

The U20 Communiqué represents the first time that mayors and city leaders from around the world have come together to put forward a joint position on the need to reform international financial institutions. A new U20 climate finance working group will explore multilateral development bank (MDB) reforms that could help to accelerate investment in urban climate finance, and deepen collaboration between cities and the G20 Expert Group on Strengthening Multilateral Development Banks. The Communiqué emphasises the strategic importance of city administrations in confronting the global climate crisis and accelerating sustainable development for four billion urban residents, calling mayors and city leaders a “crucial constituency” for today’s world leaders.

“We can deliver on social justice, inclusion, climate action, resilience towards disasters and a good quality of life for all citizens,” the U20 Communiqué states, “only if cities and national governments work together as valuable and equal partners.”

The U20 Communiqué highlighted six key areas of focus designed to shift urban action “from intention to action” and called for the G20 to collaborate with city leaders to:

  • Encourage environmentally responsible behaviours
  • Ensure water security
  • Accelerate climate finance
  • Champion “local” culture and economy
  • Reinvent frameworks for urban governance and planning
  • Catalyse digital urban futures

Kiritkumar J Parmar, the Mayor of Ahmedabad and current U20 Chair, said: “World leaders rely on their cities to deliver good jobs, sustainable economic development and bold climate targets. Mayors are already leading climate action but need urgent support from world leaders to reform international financial institutions and release billions in climate finance needed to achieve these shared goals.”

Hardeep Singh Puri, Union Minister for Housing & Urban Affairs and Petroleum & Natural Gas, said: “We can look back with pride on the wide-ranging deliberations that have been undertaken over six months in this U20 cycle. I congratulate the chair city of Ahmedabad for anchoring the process. Cities are going to be central to achieving various global goals related to sustainability, inclusivity and climate resilience. I note with pride that this year’s communiqué, with its underlying theme of moving from ‘intention to action,’ has been endorsed by a record 105 cities. This is a proud moment for India’s G20 Presidency. Participation of 90+ mayors and city leaders, 70+ organisations and 430+ delegates demonstrates recognition of India’s key role in shaping the global future.”

Amitabh Kant, G20 Sherpa, said: “This year’s U20 cycle has broken several records, including having the maximum number of endorsements. Six white papers have been released focusing on the six priority areas. The cycle has encouraged people participation and involved 105 smart cities’ movement, et cetera. I encourage mayors to be the leaders driving climate action and finance. This would enable them to leave behind a rich legacy for the future generations to come. India as this year’s G20 Presidency is highlighting the need for a reinvigorated multilateralism to make global governance more representative, effective, transparent and accountable, especially financing from MDBs for climate finance. These are especially relevant within the U20 and focus on these should be continued also in the forthcoming Presidencies as for the first time, there are four Presidencies leading the voice of the Global South, including Indonesia, India, Brasil and South Africa.”

C40 Executive Director Mark Watts said: “Cities are engines of the global economy and also the largest contributors of global emissions, placing them in a powerful position to impact the climate agenda. The U20 Communiqué is inviting world leaders to join hands with city leaders in an urgent call to action, and to reform international financial institutions so they allow cities to access climate finance directly as they facilitate resilient, equitable and healthy cities.”

Emilia Saiz, Secretary General, UCLG, said: “Today, cities are at the forefront of protecting people’s rights and the planet in the face of overlapping crises. Urban 20 calls for these commitments to go hand in hand with a new way to finance and understand development. Putting care at the centre of local service provision and redefining the social contract will be critical for a sustainable future for all.”

Share article

More Articles