A decade of change: shaping multilevel governance on a global scale

Durban, November 2019 – About 75 mayors and city network leaders from all around the world gathered in Durban last week to convene on the topics of multilevel governance, migration, urban security and health, reflecting the pressing issues of the world. The outcome of the debates between mayors led to the GPM Durban Declaration 2019 which emerged from this year’s annual summit.

GPM mayors voted in favor of commitments and calls for national governments and international institutions to include and collaborate with city leaders. The voting led to the Durban Declaration, which says that “the traditional institutions and frameworks of global governance must evolve to reflect the centrality of cities to solving the global challenges. Multilevel structures and platforms at the international policy-making level allowing cities to be directly involved in the crafting and the implementing of shared global agenda must, in the years ahead, take shape.”

Newly appointed Executive Committee Chair Mayor Peter Kurz (Mannheim, Germany) noted that the Durban Declaration is a collective commitment from mayors to implementing the Global Compact for Migration and the Global Compact on Refugees in cities, institutionalizing welcoming standards to ensure that every person’s basic needs are provided for and a call on governments to fight the underlying structural and political causes of migrations flows.

In the field of Urban Security mayors committed themselves to the resolution (amongst others) to reduce all forms of violence by 50% within the cities jurisdiction by 2030. As far as Urban Health concerns, mayors voted in favor of some concrete actions such as the achievement of at least 90% vaccination coverage in city’s 12 month old population with at least one dose of measles-containing vaccine.

The voting resolutions were based on previously drafted position papers. The position papers were prepared by city officers, experts and international networks such as the UN-Habitat, Welcoming International, Strong Cities Network, African Forum for Urban Security, Georgetown University and Nelson Mandela Medicine School. Leading up to the Summit, mayors from around the world had the opportunity to provide feedback to the resolutions, culminating in a parliamentary vote.

The Summit also hosted a dynamic panel with global city network leaders from US Conference of Mayors, Metropolis, UCLG, ICLEI, IOM, and OECD. Finally, the declaration was based on the adoption of the resolutions.

Mayors voted on the resolutions through a virtual platform. This is the key mechanism of the GPM that facilitates online debates and votes to mayors on a regular basis regardless of time and location and without a substantial investment in travel time and costs.

At the launch of the Durban Declaration Mayor Kurz said that “in only a few years the GPM as a transnational political body has been established. To consider that this has been accomplished without any financial support from national governments illustrates the astonishing ability of cities and their mayors to act.”

The mission and goals of the GPM are very ambitious: it is dedicated to further develop the international political system by including cities through valuable participatory rights. Kurz: “Interestingly hereby are the achievements of the European integration processes such as the European Committee of the Regions as an example for recognition of municipal self-governance”.

Mayor Kaunda, mayor of Durban and host of the GPM Annual Summit 2019 said: “the GPM network is an important resource to champion the cause of cities around the world. It is important for mayors of the world to unite as counterparts and facilitate action by international agencies and global organisations that speak to challenges on a local level”.

Click here to read the Durban Declaration 2019.

For more information

See enclosed the group photo of mayors that convened at the GPM Annual Summit in Durban from 9-11 November 2019.  For more information on the GPM: https://globalparliamentofmayors.org/ or contact Caroline Schep, Executive Director GPM Secretariat, caroline.schep@denhaag.nl / +31 (0)6 22 01 63 23.