RIYADH, [5, July, 2020]: The Urban20 (U20) Riyadh Team and the City of Houston will host the second U20 meeting of 2020 this week, virtually. The U20 mayors’ representatives – known as Sherpas – will gather virtually to examine key policy recommendations and new content developed by three new multinational expert taskforces. These recommendations will be discussed as part of the roadmap for U20 mayors and leaders asks to G20 Leaders later in the year.
The U20 is a powerful platform for city leaders to voice, collaborate, discuss, and concur on crucial environmental, social, and economic issues in the urban realm. It is one of several important sub-strands of the G20 group of countries, whose meetings Saudi Arabia is hosting in 2020 – the first Arab country to hold that honor.
U20 Chair His Excellency Fahd Al-Rasheed welcomed Sherpas from hub cities across the world to the meeting and explained the importance of this cooperation in these extraordinary circumstances: “Cities globally have faced unprecedented crisis in the past months. The U20 is one of the only pipelines for urban citizens, their needs and perspectives to reach the top-level, G20 decision-taking audience. This meeting will be a vital step in bringing together cities to pave the way for the Mayors Summit as hub cities drive economic recovery.”
Mayor Sylvester Turner of Houston added: “The COVID-19 public health crisis has further highlighted the central role of Cities as the drivers of the global economy and social change. The U20 provides a unique opportunity for the major cities of the world to speak to G20 leaders with a single voice, and articulate the needs and concerns of the urban world. Houston is proud to be a leading voice in this regard, and this working meeting to discuss these critical issues will further solidify the U20’s role within the G20.”
This meeting will take place on 6 and 7 July. It will bring together, once again, all city representatives (Sherpas) nominated to lead their city’s involvement, reflecting on the outcomes realized by the three taskforces, a collaborative mechanism initiated for the first time within the U20 towards developing evidence-based action-oriented policy recommendations.
Since the first Sherpa meeting in February, over 100 experts have submitted 50 concept notes and contributions of over 29,00 words. Over 30 cities and 17 knowledge partners have co-operated to develop credible and innovate, evidence-based recommendations.
This year’s U20 taskforces, with our partners in cities and organizations across the world, are driving key policy issues in 2020: circular, carbon-neutral economy; inclusive prosperous communities; and nature-based urban solutions.
The U20 Sherpas’ preparatory work leads up to a U20 Mayors Summit in Riyadh on 30 September - 2 October 2020. Their meetings and discussions will culminate in an evidence-based mayoral communique addressed to the G20 and intended to inform and enrich G20 leaders’ agendas with an urban perspective.
Urban20 or U20 is a city diplomacy initiative that brings together cities from G20 member states and observer cities from non-G20 states to discuss and form a common position on climate action, social inclusion and integration, and sustainable economic growth. Recommendations are then issued for consideration by the G20. The initiative is convened by C40 Cities, in collaboration with United Cities and Local Governments, under the leadership of a Chair city that rotates annually. The first U20 Mayors Summit took place in Buenos Aires in 2018, and the second took place in Tokyo in 2019. For 2020, Riyadh City is the Chair city and host of the annual Mayors Summit.
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