GCH and UN-Habitat sign agreement to continue fruitful cooperation and set new goals

On 14 June 2024, Global Cities Hub and UN-Habitat signed a Memorandum of Understanding to pursue their successful cooperation. The purpose of this MoU is to provide a framework of collaboration to advance the participation and engagement of LRGs in multilateralism and various aspects of sustainable urban development.

UN Assistant Secretary-General and Acting Executive Director of UN-Habitat Michal Mlynàr and President of Global Cities Hub Sami Kanaan reconfirmed that joint efforts focus on advancing the state of knowledge on urban systems and the critical role LRGs should play in regional, national and multi-lateral processes. They cover sustainable urban development, the promotion of human rights, humanitarian action in urban settings, strengthening peace and security, access to water and conceptualizing people-centered smart cities. The cooperation foresees possible joint events, research, and communication. 

GCH and UN-Habitat are committed to increased awareness and capacity of cities, city networks and International Geneva stakeholders on key current and future urban challenges. Improved public policy discussions in Geneva and beyond on the participation of LRGs in multilateralism positively contribute to finding the right solutions and effectively implement them at the local level.

Localizing SDGs is key for the successful achievement of the 2030 Agenda and the upcoming World Urban Forum will put much emphasis on it. SDG11 can play a catalytic role in advancing several other global goals, such as SDG1, SDG2, SDG3, SDG6, SDG7, SDG8, SDG13 and SDG17. Therefore, sustainable urban development, including smart city development, remains high on the cooperation agenda, especially through the organization of Geneva Urban Debates.

Further, GCH and UN-Habitat also jointly collaborate with third parties. Close work with UNECE on the UN Forum of Mayors is a prime example. GCH will support the engagement of mayors beyond the UNECE region to foster a geographically balanced and inclusive participation of mayors from all regions the Cities’ Summit of the Future. ASG Mlynàr will represent UNSG Guterres at the Forum in September. Improved interaction with other global platforms and networks working on urban issues relevant to International Geneva remains crucial for the continuation of the enhanced cooperation between GCH and UN-Habitat.

The renewal of the Memorandum of Understanding offers the opportunity to assess the achievement of the past years, such as the meeting of mayors with the Heads of International Organizations and the first Smart City Leaders Talk, and discuss future opportunities and concrete events, such as the

  • Geneva Urban Debate “Towards Sustainable Ocean Economy: What role for Cities?” in collaboration with UN Trade and Development on 20 June 2024;
  • Geneva Urban Debate “World Drug Day: Advancing Drug Policy reform at the local level” in collaboration with the Global Commission on Drug Policy on 26 June 2024;
  • World Urban Forum on 4-8 November 2024
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