Record number of city leaders back U20 push for sustainable cities

Mayors and leaders from 39 cities around the world line up in support of call for action ahead of G20 summit

The Kingdom Tower, operated by Kingdom Holding Co., left, stands alongside the King Fahd highway, illuminated by the light trails of passing traffic, in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, on Saturday, Jan. 9, 2016. Saudi Arabian stocks led Gulf Arab markets lower after oil extended its slump from the lowest close since 2004. Photographer: Waseem Obaidi/Bloomberg
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A record number of mayors and city leaders on Friday gave their backing to the U20 Communique calling on the world’s greatest economic powers to invest in sustainable urbanisation and fight the “climate emergency”.

The leaders of 39 cities including Berlin, Paris, Rome, Madrid, Buenos Aires, London, Seoul and Tokyo endorsed the 27-point document.

The three-day Urban 20 Summit, due to take place between September 30 and October 2, is being organised as part of the G20 summit which Saudi Arabia is set to hold in November.

The U20 conference is slated to host mayors of major global cities.

The Communiqué also includes an impassioned call for the G20 to commit and respond “immediately to the climate emergency” by substantially reducing greenhouse gas emissions to deliver the 50 per cent global reduction required by 2030, and “reach carbon neutrality no later than 2050”.

The summit’s organisers say the document is the culmination of more than 1,000 pages of research, drafted by three U20 taskforces over more than nine months of collaboration. The 27 policy recommendations contained within are part of a drive to achieve carbon-neutral cities in the near future.

After the text was officially presented to the G20, the U20’s Chair, Fahd Al Rasheed, said: “Handing over the Communique to the G20 today and reflecting on what we’ve achieved in the past year, I feel a great sense of hope and anticipation that the work we’ve put can make a real difference in the days ahead.”

Mr Al Rasheed said it was “a testament to this diverse and inclusive global group of U20 leaders” that they were able to rise to the challenges presented by the coronavirus pandemic.

UN Habitat Executive Director Maimunah Sharif thanked Saudi Arabia for its efforts in organising the summit, which is being hosted remotely from Riyadh.

“I would like to thank the Government of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and our generous host, the Royal Commission for Riyadh City for the huge efforts made to organize the U20 as part of the Chairmanship of Saudi Arabia to the G20 in 2020,” he said.

The first U20 summit was held in 2018. It takes place in the country that is hosting the annual G20 summit.