RIYADH, KINGDOM OF SAUDI ARABIA [6, February, 2020]:
(PICTURES: photos of HE Fahd Al-Rasheed, chair of U20 Riyadh 2020 and assembled U20 group)
Representatives of city leaders from around the world met in Riyadh on 5th – 6th February to discuss priority topics that will lay the foundation for the U20 2020 Mayors Summit in the Saudi capital later this year.
With research showing nearly 70% of the world’s population will live in cities by 2050, the U20 — urban powerhouses of the G20 — will play a central role in making progress towards national agendas and the UN Sustainable Development Goals. The U20 provides an important platform for engagement between G20 heads of government, representing the world’s twenty largest economies, and city leaders.
HE Fahd Al-Rasheed, U20 2020 Chair, expressed his deep pride in hosting the first U20 meeting in Riyadh, and urged delegates to “take tangible steps, to discuss solutions that have worked—resulting in collective wins for cities—and explore how we can share these more broadly in an actionable U20 Communiqué”.
The meeting highlighted that cities and urban administrations face similar challenges, regardless of their resident country. These challenges include improving energy efficiency, zero-carbon mobility and urban transport systems, resilience in the face of natural disasters, social inclusion, and affordable housing. U20 Riyadh aims to build momentum, raise ambitions, and accelerate action to address these issues in addition to propelling urban perspectives onto the G20 agenda.
Riyadh Sherpa Abdulmohsen Alghannam, Buenos Aires Sherpa Francisco Resnicoff, UN-Habitat Regional Director Dr. Erfan Ali, and Former Mayor of Quito Dr. Mauricio Rodas led sessions. The Sherpas agreed to create special U20 taskforces comprising city representatives and other relevant organizations, to explore these issues in detail in the coming months. These efforts will continue throughout the year and involve a second Sherpa meeting in July. The process culminates in the U20 Mayors Summit in Riyadh on 30 September – 2 October, whose final Communique will be presented to the G20.
Urban20 (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.
The city representatives are known as “Sherpas”, a Nepalese word describing someone who prepares a route to the summit for colleagues. In the U20 context, sherpas are senior city officials preparing the ground for their mayors at the Riyadh U20 Summit.
About U20 Co-Conveners
C40 Cities connects 94 of the world’s greatest cities to take bold climate action, leading the way towards a healthier and more sustainable future. Representing 700+ million citizens and one quarter of the global economy, mayors of the C40 cities are committed to delivering on the most ambitious goals of the Paris Agreement at the local level, as well as to cleaning the air we breathe.
UCLG (United Cities and Local Governments) is a global organization of local and regional governments, representing and defending their interests on the world stage. UCLG’s network represents 70% of the world’s total population and is present in all world regions. UCLG’s key areas of political interest are: local democracy, the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals, local finance, urban development and city diplomacy in peace building.
Eng. AbdulMohsin Mohammed AlGhannam, Saudi U20 Sherpa