The Hague, September 11th 2016

Over 60 mayors representing cities from all over the world today founded the Global Parliament of Mayors (GPM) at the conclusion of a two-day conference in The Hague, The Netherlands. This new platform will enable cities to further their cooperation in addressing global challenges. For this inaugural meeting mayors discussed action oriented plans concerning climate change, migration & refugees and governance.

The Global Parliament of Mayors (GPM) derives from the ideas dr. Benjamin Barber introduced in his book ‘If mayors ruled the world’. Professor Barber asserts that cities, and the mayors that run them, offer the best new forces of good governance. They are well positioned to offer local notions and best practices to support and accelerate global answers in an ever interdependent world.

The mayors assembled in The Hague agreed on ‘The Hague Global Mayors Call to Action’, stating that the GPM will allow cities and their pragmatic, problem-solving mayors to cooperate on critical issues such as climate change, refugees, pandemic disease, inequality and urban security, problems that other institutions have not always been able to address. These founding cities are at the forefront of what will expand to be an even broader and more encompassing association. The GPM will share best practices, offer a common global voice for cities, and act as a permanent action oriented platform. It will work with and advise international organizations like the OECD, the World Bank and especially the United Nations.

During the conference, mayors extensively talked about migration & refugees and about climate change and put forward actions cities can take. On climate change, mayors stressed the importance of the upcoming Habitat III in Quito. The GPM can and should be represented there, in order to put forward practical and effective policies. In this respect, one can think of ideas about funding and room to experiment with sustainable and proven solutions (i.e. green buildings).

On migration and refugees, mayors exchanged best practices and underlined the importance of close cooperation between cities of departure and cities of arrival. The GPM framework offers ample opportunities to do so.

The Hague, the international city of Peace and Justice, was the obvious venue for the inaugural meeting of the GPM. Mayors are determined not to lose momentum and, as far as governance is concerned, aim at close cooperation with the United Nations and governments. They will further build on the achievements of the OECD, COP21, Habitat III and urban networks like Eurocities, the US Conference of Mayors and others in addressing these ‘glocal’ challenges. For the GPM the objective is that the meeting will be followed up by at least one larger conference each year, in alternating continents. In order to secure that the GPM has traction, a small committee will oversee next steps in organizing and enhancing global mayor’s voices in the world. Mayors representing the five continents will be part of the committee, chaired by Jozias van Aartsen, mayor of The Hague.