24 February, 2022 – In January, the G7 Presidency published its program, which highlighted the importance of “harnessing the transformative power of cities.” Cities can offer immense contributions to the goal of “progress for a just world” and the five fields of action defined by the Presidency.

To this end, the Association of German Cities, the Global Parliament of Mayors and ICLEI have joined forces to form a strong urban alliance to accompany the German G7 Presidency. This urban alliance continues the Urban7 – U7 process successfully launched by the Core Cities UK in 2021. The Urban7 Group is supported by the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development and the Service Agency Communities in One World of Engagement Global. The Urban7 Group will cooperate with all federal ministries working on urban issues. These include in particular the Federal Ministry for Housing, the Federal Ministry for the Environment and the Federal Foreign Office.

Markus Lewe, Mayor of the City of Münster (Germany) and President of the Association of German Cities, said: “Cities are at the forefront when solutions to global challenges are needed. We stand up for freedom, democracy and human rights. We join forces in international networks and cooperation on implementing climate and sustainability goals. The German G7 Presidency has recognized the transformative power of cities. It is time that the urban perspective is permanently taken into consideration. The Urban 7 are ready to make their contribution.”

Peter Kurz, Mayor of Mannheim (Germany), Chair of the Global Parliament of Mayors and G7 special envoy of the Association of German Cities announced today: “The cities that have joined together in the Urban7 Group are ready to actively support the G7 Presidency. We will work hard to bring the urban perspective into the work of the Presidency. Cities are a crucial policy level for addressing the challenges of our time. Cities are also the critical policy level for effective implementation of the UN’s 2030 Agenda. In early May, 2022, the representatives of the cities of the G7 will gather at an Urban Summit and adopt the declaration of the Urban7 Group.”

Cllr Nick Forbes, Chair of Core Cities UK and Leader of Newcastle City Council (United Kingdom), said: “It was my great honour to host the first U7 gathering of eminent colleagues representing many great international cities and their networks. As Germany takes up the G7 Presidency, I look forward to working with the Association of German Cities as the G7 U7 lead and host in 2022, as well as our other project partners. The year ahead will be a challenging one. Building quickly on COP26 to deliver Net Zero in a fair and equitable manner, and our need to address economic recovery from Covid19 whilst continuing to deal with its ongoing impacts, will mean that cities and nations must collaborate like never before. This holds true within but also between nations, bringing a heightened importance to our U7 initiative, ensuring that our work together enriches the G7 dialogue whilst resulting in practical action on the ground in our cities.”

Frank Cownie, Mayor of Des Moines (USA), and president of ICLEI’s Global Executive Committee said, “For decades, the sustainability and urban community have long been asking for active leadership of G7 countries for ambitious action, pursuant to their historical responsibility as well as technical and financial capabilities. ICLEI welcomes the unprecedented acknowledgement of the importance of cities and sustainable urbanization by the 2022 G7 German Presidency as a game changer to accelerate multilevel action in the age of climate emergency globally. Thus, following the successful launch in 2021, the evolution of the Urban7 community into a more systematic engagement mechanism comes at a perfect timing and with a strong potential. ICLEI is proud to collaborate with Association of German Cities and Global Parliament of Mayors as well as partnering German institutions to actively support these efforts and ensure synergy with other global sustainability advocacy of local and regional governments, building on its engagement in the G7 process since 2016”.