28 June 2022 — Today the German Marshall Fund announced that 51 mayors joined together to advance a Global Declaration of Mayors for Democracy in collaboration with the Global Parliament of Mayors, GMF Cities, and the Pact of Free Cities.

Cities are on the front lines of the fight to preserve liberal democracy and defend against attacks on free expression. Drawing from their cities’ shared identity as champions and centers of democratic development, the mayors reaffirmed their unwavering commitment to rebuilding and reinforcing democracy, standing up for free and fair elections at home and abroad, defending the rule of law at all levels of government, and addressing urban challenges through the lens of democracy and democratic values.

This declaration builds on a previous initiative of the mayors of Budapest, Bratislava, Prague, and Warsaw, who saw the growth of illiberal forces eroding democracy in their respective countries and came together to develop the powerful Pact of Free Cities in 2019. All four mayors also signed the Global Declaration of Mayors for Democracy and are joined by dozens of their colleagues across the world—from Bristol to Buenos Aires and Turin to Taipei.

The Mayor of Budapest Gergely Karácsony celebrated the declaration: “In the age of rising authoritarianism, cities stand as a bulwark against the erosion of freedom and the rule of law. We are thrilled to see that the Pact of Free Cities inspired a global movement of city leaders rising above partisanship to rebuild and reinforce our increasingly fragile democracies.” As did Marcin Krupa, Mayor of Katowice, Poland: “It is mayors and local communities that are most effective in defending the pillars of democracy. We—mayors—are currently observing negative trends and facing limited resources—but we will not be marginalized and we will continue to deliver in this context.”

The declaration emanates from the commitments mayors made at the Summit for Democracy in 2021, informed by a democracy-focused dialogue hosted by the Chicago Council on Global Affairs and GMF Cities, and propels their cities’ year of action ahead of the second Summit for Democracy in early 2023. Championing these commitments, Director of GMF Cities Steven Bosacker said: “Cities started democracy. Now they have a chance to save it. This declaration is a bold statement from mayors who lead by example to fortify democracy in their own cities and now urge colleagues from around the world to join them.”

▪︎ Read the full Global Declaration of Mayors for Democracy here.
▪︎ To read the press release “Mayors Introduce Global Declaration for Democracy”, click here.
▪︎ Interested mayors can join the declaration any time before the second summit by contacting Paul Costello (pcostello@gmfus.org) from GMF Cities.
▪︎ A video of Visegrád Group signatories speaking about the declaration is viewable at this link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EqtMkeM7U7Q