Delegates and participants from 57 cities across the world and 35 cities from India will gather on 7-8 July, 2023 in the twin cities of Ahmedabad and Gandhinagar, Gujarat. This gala preparation is for the Mayoral Summit of the sixth cycle of Urban 20, an Engagement Group under the G20. By facilitating discussions among cities from the G20 countries, the U20 establishes a platform for cities to collectively inform G20 negotiations with respect to urban priorities. With over 500 participants, including Mayors, Deputy Mayors, and city officials besides government delegates and knowledge partners, this is poised to become one of the largest U20 summits ever. The twin cities are bedecked with banners and posters highlighting the priorities of Ahmedabad City, the U20 Chair.
Ahmedabad is all set to welcome the delegates, and extensive preparations are ongoing to make the summit a success. Besides the inaugural session and the handover of the U20 Communiqué by the Mayors to the G20 leaders, a number of thematic sessions and spotlight events have been included in the two-day schedule. In this endeavour, Ahmedabad is supported by the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs (MoHUA) as the nodal ministry, the National Institute of Urban Affairs (NIUA), the Technical Secretariat of U20, and the U20 Conveners, C40 Cities and UCLG (United Cities and Local Governments).
The Mayoral Meet will be officially inaugurated on 7 July by the Hon’ble Chief Minister of Gujarat, Shri Bhupendrabhai Patel, and the Hon’ble Minister of State for Housing and Urban Affairs, Shri Kaushal Kishore. The Hon’ble Mayor of Ahmedabad, Shri Kiritkumar J. Parmar, on behalf of Ahmedabad city, will welcome the delegates and Shri Abhay Thakur, Sous Sherpa of G20 and Shri Manoj Joshi, Secretary, MoHUA will share their perspectives on the development journey of Indian cities.
Thematic sessions on the six U20 priority areas will be organized during the summit. The U20 priority areas echo the emphasis G20 is laying on environmental responsibility, climate finance, and cities of the future. The six priorities under U20 are namely; ‘encouraging environmentally responsible behaviours’, ‘accelerating climate finance’, ‘ensuring water security’, ‘promoting local culture and economy’, ‘reinventing frameworks for urban governance and planning’, and ‘catalyzing digital urban futures.’ The Thematic Sessions will include talks and presentations by Mayors or equivalent city leaders from the cities of Tokyo, Riyadh, Paris, Surat, Srinagar, Amman, Los Angeles, New York City, Katowice, Rio de Janeiro, Dubai, Indore, Kitchener, London, Montevideo, Johannesburg, Kochi and Durban among others.
The following Spotlight Sessions would also be part of the summit:
- Decarbonising the Built Environment
- Mainstreaming Women, Youth and Children in Urban Development
- Redefining City Investments: a global urban framework utilizing future technologies
- Closing the Loop: circular economy in water, wastewater and solid waste
- Building Climate-Responsive and Resilient Cities
- Making Data Work for People
Several knowledge partners are collaborating with NIUA to organize these sessions. These include World Economic Forum (WEF), C40 Cities, All India Institute of Local Self Government (AIILSG), UNESCO, UNICEF, GIZ, and ICLEI. Speakers and discussants in these sessions would include experts on urban development issues from various organizations including UN Agencies, World Bank Group, International Finance Corporation (IFC), and multilateral organizations, development banks, etc.
The participating Mayors from across the world would also engage during closed doors sessions on both days to further deliberate on U20 priorities and sustainability agenda for cities. The closed-door session on the second day of the summit has been designed as a cities’ roundtable on the issue of ‘climate finance.’
During the Mayoral Summit, delegates will visit the GIFT City (Gujarat International Finance Tec-City), a state-of-the-art business district in Gandhinagar. The delegates would also explore the architectural marvels of the old city of Ahmedabad through a heritage walk, and visit Sabarmati Ashram to understand the pivotal role played by Mahatma Gandhi in the Independence Movement of India and his messages of peace and non-violence to the world. They will also visit various urban development initiatives undertaken in Ahmedabad city including the Sabarmati Riverfront. Delegates will also attend events reflecting various facets of the culture of Gujarat and India and experience the taste of authentic Gujarati cuisines.
The Communiqué is an outcome document of the U20 deliberations in every cycle, which is endorsed by cities across the G20 countries. The Mayoral Summit will conclude with the handover of the Communiqué by the participating Mayors to the G20 Sherpa Shri Amitabh Kant, and the Hon’ble Union Minister for Housing and Urban Affairs and Petroleum and Natural Gas, Shri Hardeep Singh Puri.