The Urban20 (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. The U20 group had its first inaugural Mayors Summit in Buenos Aires, Argentina in 2018; Tokyo subsequently hosted the second Mayors Summit last year.
The U20 is hosted by Riyadh this year, and the first Sherpa meeting kicked off on 4th Feb in Riyadh City. Sherpas, or Mayors' representatives, conduct preparatory work that leads up to a U20 Mayors Summit. That summit culminates in a mayoral Communiqué addressed to the G20, intended to inform and enrich G20 leaders' agendas with an urban perspective.
HE Fahd Al-Rasheed, recently appointed President of the Royal Commission for Riyadh City (RCRC), is Chair of the U20 process for 2020. As U20 Chair, he oversees development of a program to carry the U20 legacy forward and continue to “build momentum, raise ambition and accelerate action" on some of the most pressing urban challenges of our time - rising inequalities, the digital divide, and environmental degradation due to global warming, rising sea level, resources scarcity and biodiversity losses.
U20 Sherpa delegates include the urban powerhouses of G20 countries, city leaders of non-G20 countries, other leading city-focused organizations (e.g. C40, Union of Cities and Local Government—UCLG, UN Habitat) and selected observer groups. Primary focus areas include a cross-cutting focus on urban financing and investment, innovation and technology and implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as set out by multiple global agreements and global development frameworks, including the Paris Agreement, the New Urban Agenda and The Sendai Framework, among others.