Connecting all relevant stakeholders, GCH is a platform that pursues 3 main objectives:
1. Facilitating the participation of cities and their networks in relevant multilateral processes and bodies.
2. Facilitating partnerships between cities, their networks and Geneva-based international organizations and other entities.
3. Urban mainstreaming by providing a space to discuss urban issues and enhance the visibility of the urban work of Geneva-based actors.
Urbanization is a defining trend of the past decades, and it will define our future. Today, more than half of the world’s population lives in cities and by 2050, 68 % of the world’s population is projected to be urban. In comparison, 30 % of the world’s population was urban in 1950 (cf. UN World Urbanization Prospects: The 2018 Revision). New cities have thus emerged, and cities become bigger day after day. This trend has affected the way people live, work, think and thrive. And it should also impact the way diplomacy works and international relations are conducted.
Day after day, new cities emerge and cities become bigger
In 2000, there were 371 cities with 1 million inhabitants or more worldwide. By 2030, a projected 706 cities will have at least 1 million residents.
See the World’s Cities in 2018, Data booklet, p. 2, available here.
There is today widespread recognition that cities play a key role in tackling global challenges such as climate change, pandemics, disasters, unemployment, mass migration, etc. Because they are first responders on the ground, their voices need to be heard in multilateral fora that address these global issues and seek solutions at the international level.
The Global Cities Hub has been set up to accompany this trend and strengthen the role of cities and other local and regional governments in international discussions that take place in Geneva. Established in 2020 by the City of Geneva and the Canton of Geneva, with the support of the Swiss Confederation, the Global Cities Hub is an association under Swiss law.
Cities, Local and Regional Governments
The term “city” has a broad meaning. It includes many things, such as the urban space in which things occur, the urban communities which live there, as well as the authorities which adopt and implement urban policies in a given territory.
When talking about cities’ engagement in multilateralism, GCH specifically refers to local and regional governments – such as mayors, governors, presidents of a region/province – which are the authorities representing and speaking on behalf of cities.
Geneva, a centre of global governance and multilateral diplomacy
International Geneva hosts an unmatched number of International Organizations, States, NGOs, academic institutions and private companies. These actors meet regularly and work on virtually every topic critical to globalization, including peace, security and disarmament, humanitarian action and law, human rights, migration, labour, economics, trade, science, telecommunications, health, the environment, and sustainable development.
Local and regional governments increasingly take part in Geneva’s multilateral meetings, such as the Forum of Mayors, to present their own perspectives or find technical expertise in relation to numerous global challenges discussed at the international level. Local and regional governments are increasingly solicited by UN agencies and other actors, which recognize that local and regional governments make a vital contribution to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and tackling the world’s most pressing challenges.
Mindful that the contribution of local and regional governments can and must be further reinforced, the Global Cities Hub supports all efforts to increase their influence and status in global governance.