Riyadh-led Urban 20 brings together 42 cities in collaborative process

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Photo of first Sherpa meeting.
Photo of first Sherpa meeting.

RIYADH — On Oct. 2, the Urban 20 (U20) Mayors Summit, the annual highlight for the international community of urban leaders, will present a 27-point consensus-built Communiqué to the Group of 20 (G20) following nine months of seminal research and analysis into rebuilding cities in a more sustainable, inclusive and naturally diverse way in a post-pandemic world to achieve equitable, carbon-neutral, inclusive and healthy societies.

U20 Chair and President of the Royal Commission for Riyadh City, Fahd Al-Rasheed said, “I feel immensely proud of the progress we have made as the U20. Together, we have brought together 42 cities and 30 knowledge partners we have formed agile and responsive task and workforces which have authored in-depth and rigorous academic research to help us look at our cities with new eyes.”

He added: “Throughout our presidency of the U20, we have aligned closely with the Saudi G20 mantra of “realizing opportunities of the 21st century for all” through our themes of Inclusive Prosperous Communities, Circular, Carbon-neutral Economies and Nature-based Urban Solutions. “And beyond all of this, we have created a platform for the U20 to continue to improve the lives of urban residents across the globe.” This has been guided by the core U20 principles of Collaboration & inclusiveness, Comprehensive global polices and Consensus-building.

The Summit, being held virtually for the first time between Sept. 30 to Oct. 2, will outline and discuss policies that could accelerate the urban recovery from the impact of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, and will feature speakers and panelists from the world’s leading organizations including Maimunah Sharif, the executive director of the United Nations-Habitat, Lamia Kamal-Chaoui is the director of the OECD Center for Entrepreneurship, SMEs, Regions and Cities and Virginia Raggi, the Mayor of Rome, and many more.

Since the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia’s presidency of the U20 group began in December 2019, the official engagement group formed three taskforces to examine and analyse the topics of Inclusive Prosperous Communities, Circular, Carbon-neutral Economies and Nature-based Urban Solutions. Representing 23 cities, in collaboration with 31 knowledge partners, the taskforces have collectively drafted more than 1,000 pages of research. They were submitted to the U20 as 15 seminal white papers.

The research yielded more than 160 actionable recommendations, which formed the basis of the key findings that the U20 will discuss in-depth during the Mayors Summit and which will all contribute to the final communiqué.

The U20 also formed a Special Working Group on COVID-19. Representing 13 cities with a combined population of 75 million people from nine G20 countries, the group collated 32 case studies and first-hand research, which document how cities dealt with the pandemic and their citizens’ responses to government efforts.

The Special Working Group’s consolidated recommendations offer direction for cities to better manage the socioeconomic fallout from the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic with greater agility and flexibility and come together as one voice in front of the G20.

The U20 Mayors Summit, held virtually from the U20 2020 Chair city of Riyadh, will host three days of speeches and interactive panel discussions featuring some of the world’s most distinguished thought-leaders. — SG


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