15 July 2022

Major Progress for Urban7 Alliance in G7 Process

Cities have a transformative power and can contribute to goals established by the German G7 Presidency in 2022. In the last several months, significant progress has been made by the Urban7 Alliance (U7) – co-led by ICLEI – in achieving these goals in the form of meetings, declarations, and recognition in G7 communiqués.

At the U7 Mayors Summit on 3 May 2022, mayors and high-level representatives of the German G7 Presidency discussed the decisive role of cities in achieving the G7 Presidency’s vision of “progress towards an equitable world.” Highlights from the event can be found here along with the signed declaration.

In the intervening months, the Urban7 has made remarkable progress toward the goals outlined in the declaration. References to the important role of cities were made in several G7 ministerial communiqués, including the Development Ministers’ Communiqé, the Foreign Ministers’ Communiqué, and the Climate, Energy, and Environment Ministers’ Communiqué, which sends a clear sign that decision-makers at all levels recognise the power of cities.

The important role of cities was also acknowledged in the G7 Leaders’ Communiqué, which was released on 28 June 2022, and includes the following (emphasis added):

“Cities are places of diversity and identity, exchange and integration, creativity, and solidarity. They are crucial to driving prosperity and ensuring equal opportunities for all. We acknowledge the significant role of cities, their associations, and networks as actors in our transformation towards sustainable development. We commit to foster exchange among and with cities. We task our relevant Ministers to develop a joint understanding of good urban development policy to be adopted at the first ever G7 Ministerial Meeting for Sustainable Urban Development, and to decide on joint initiatives for unlocking the full potential of cities to promote social, cultural, technological, climate-neutral, economic, and democratic innovation for the common good.”

Mayor Peter Kurz of ICLEI Member Mannheim (Germany), reacted to the communiqué in his dual role as Chair of the Global Parliament of Mayors and the Association of German Cities’ Special Envoy for the U7. He remarked, “the final communiqué of the G7 Summit contains a remarkable recognition, unprecedented in this form, of the role of cities as actors for promoting prosperity, ensuring equal opportunities and transforming towards sustainable development.”

The U7 has also actively shaped several events and opportunities for exchange in recent weeks, including a high-level meeting about the G7 organised by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), and a dedicated U7 session at the World Urban Forum in ICLEI Member Katowice (Poland). Furthermore, at the invitation of the German Federal Ministry of Housing, Urban Development and Building (BMWSB), representatives of G7 countries’ Urban Development Ministries met in Mannheim on 4 July 2022, to prepare for the joint G7 summit.

In the fall, the G7 Ministers for Urban Development will meet in Potsdam to discuss sustainable urban development and resilience (September), and an online event will be held for Urban7 Alliance representatives on municipal policies in international collaborative climate action (October).

Despite these successes, the U7’s work is not complete. The group is pushing to become an official engagement group in the G7 process to ensure that cities are always formally included in the G7 in the years ahead.

The Urban7 Group Alliance, led by the Association of German Cities, ICLEI and the Global Parliament of Mayors, has been working to ensure that the voices of cities are included centrally in the G7 process. The Urban7 Group Alliance is supported by Engagement Global and the German Federal Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development.

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