Global Parliament of Mayors Annual Summit 2023

Empowering, Engaging, and Caring Cities: Delivering Democracy and Development with the Next Generations

Skopje, November 2023 – Around 100 participants, including mayors & deputy mayors, as well as leaders of city networks, and representatives of international organisations came together at the Global Parliament of Mayors (GPM) Annual Summit. The event was hosted by Danela Arsovska of Skopje, North Macedonia, with the title: “Empowering, Engaging, and Caring Cities: Delivering Democracy and Development with the Next Generations

Mayors gathered in Skopje and participated in dynamic panels on issues such as Democracy, Empowering Cities, Caring Cities, & The Power of Culture, reflecting on the pressing issues of the world. They discussed how they could work together to address some of these global challenges at the local level and push for change in existing governance structures.

The Summit was opened with keynote addresses by the President of North Macedonia Stevo Pendarovski, as well as Secretary General of the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of the Council of Europe Mathieu Mori. Mayor Arsovska also provided opening remarks.

Mayor Ricardo Rio of Braga, Portugal and Chair of the GPM observed, “In the vibrant exchange of ideas and perspectives at this Annual Summit in the beautiful city of Skopje, we witnessed the power of collaboration among mayors, deputy mayors and networks from diverse cities worldwide. Our discussions on democracy, empowering cities, caring cities, and the transformative power of culture underscored the pivotal role cities play in shaping a sustainable and inclusive global future. As leaders, we are not just representatives of our communities; we are architects of positive change. Together, we stand united in our commitment to address the complex challenges of our urban landscapes and forge a path towards a better tomorrow. As Chair of Global Parliament of Mayors, I am looking forward to develop more discussions among mayors and city activists”.

Delivering Democracy

The summit began with a debate on democracy. This session delved into the global challenge of democracy in urban governance. It highlights the worldwide variation in democracy and underscores the need for urban democracy in addressing pressing urban challenges. The speakers explored the democratization of institutions, society, and the urban spirit, emphasizing the importance of effective governance, citizen engagement, and education. The session called for a global agenda, with mayors and cities at the forefront, to address complex urban issues.

The Power of Culture & Art

The mayoral summit session delved into the crucial role of culture and art in city development, emphasizing their significance as the fourth pillar of the GPM’s focus. The discussion highlighted the impact of urban culture on planning, economy, and social life, emphasizing the need for cultural literacy in urban strategy. The arts were recognized as central to fostering an open-minded and resilient culture, with creativity essential for problem-solving, sustainability, and citizen well-being. The session stressed the importance of integrating arts and culture into urban projects for vibrant, innovative, and inclusive city development.

Caring Cities

The concept of “Caring Cities” was introduced, advocating for localized social policies, economic analysis, and spatial planning to address citizens’ needs and promote sustainability, inclusivity, and human rights. The session underscored the importance of state support for city initiatives and GPM’s role in elevating cities’ voices globally.

Empowering Cities

The summit session on “Empowering Cities” addressed the urgent need for strengthening municipal and metropolitan levels in global governance. It emphasized the vital role of mayors in driving transformative change at the local level, tackling complex issues cross-sectorally. The discussion focused on three dimensions: building true multi-level governance, expanding competencies and resources, and preserving urbanity against divisive nationalism. The session called for international recognition and inclusion of cities in addressing global challenges, emphasizing democratic, caring, and culturally innovative urban development.

At the Summit, the Global Parliament of Mayors awarded the prestigious Dr. Benjamin Barber Global Cities Award to Mayor Rohey Malick Lowe of Banjul, The Gambia. Mayor Lowe’s leadership stands out as a beacon of hope and progress. Her commitment to addressing issues such as climate change, public health, education, and social inclusivity resonates deeply with the core values of the Global Parliament of Mayors. More information about the award can be found here:

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