New Delhi: The G20 will not only address climate issues or food crisis, it will also focus on urban issues. U20 was established in 2017 to highlight on urban related issues. It brings together Mayors from major G20 cities and to inform the discussions of national leaders at the G20.
Simply put, the goal of G20 and U20 is to bring the urban voice to G20 and raise the profile of urban issues on the G20 agenda.
Under the G20 presidency of India, Ahmedabad, a UNESCO World Heritage city, will host the U20 cycle. Along with C40 (Climate 40) and United Cities and Local Governments (UCLG), two international non-governmental advocacy groups on urban issues, Ahmedabad will organise various events including City Sherpas’ inception meeting on February 9-10, 2023, thematic discussions and side events on urban development issues culminating with U20 Mayors’ Summit in July 2023.
“U20 is a novel concept that emphasizes urban development. This cycle will serve as a forum for dialogue and coordinated action for leaders from all over the world,” Bhupendra Patel, Chief Minister of Gujarat, had stated.
The world is more urban than ever. Today, more than half of the global population lives in cities, and it is estimated that cities will host two-thirds of all people by 2050.
Cities also consume over 75 per cent of the world’s energy, generate 75 per cent of related emissions, and they are experiencing the impacts of climate change first-hand.
Urban-20 (U20), one of the Engagement Groups of G20, provides a platform for cities from G20 countries to facilitate discussions on various important issues of urban development including climate change, social inclusion, sustainable mobility, affordable housing, and financing of urban infrastructure and propose collective solutions.
Bearing in mind the importance of cities as growth centres of development, the U20 strives to enhance the profile of cities on the global stage.
This city diplomacy initiative facilitates a productive dialogue between the national and local governments and helps promote the importance of urban development issues in the G20 agenda.
The U20 aims at facilitating lasting engagement between the G20 and cities, raise the profile of urban issues in the G20 agenda, and establish a forum for cities to develop a collective message and perspective to inform G20 negotiations.
Kunal Kumar, Joint Secretary in the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs, spoke exclusively to DD India about why city planning is so important to a global effort like the G20.
As reported by a leading media outlet, he said: “If you look at important change drivers in the coming future, it’s probably going to be urbanisation, where we use energy, and climate change. The majority of urbanisation in the future will occur in countries such as India. India should be leading the u20 agenda at this point because much of the world’s urbanisation effort over the next few decades should be led by countries like India.”
Under India’s presidency, the U20 will work to implement meaningful policy and invest in order to achieve the global 2030 agenda. India can create a new balance template with careful planning.
For example, in order to meet the Paris Agreement’s new Urban Agenda and 2030 Agenda, India can increase direct investment in areas such as sustainable energy and mobility transition.
Most importantly, U20 2023 can emphasise the importance of local regional participation in the integration of perspectives at national and sub-national government bodies as the way forward.