RIYADH: Representatives of city mayors from the powerful G20 group of leading world economies on Wednesday met in Riyadh to discuss some of the major challenges facing urban communities.
The Urban20 (U20) delegation’s first meeting of the year kicked off at the Fairmont Hotel with mayoral representatives – known as sherpas – preparing the groundwork for the U20 Mayors Summit to be held in the Saudi capital later this year.
The U20, one of the G20 engagement groups, is a platform for city leaders to voice, collaborate, discuss and find solutions on important environmental, social and economic issues affecting urban centers.
U20 Saudi chair, Fahad Al-Rasheed, who was recently appointed president of the Royal Commission for Riyadh City (RCRC), will oversee the development of the program to carry the U20 legacy forward.
It aims to raise ambition and accelerate action on some of the most pressing urban challenges confronting communities around the world, including inequalities, the digital divide, and environmental degradation due to global warming, rising sea levels, scarcity of resources and biodiversity losses.
The two-day U20 gathering will discuss programs and initiatives focused on improving the lives of city dwellers.
As well as representing the urban powerhouses of the G20 countries, the U20 sherpas are also made up of city leaders of non-G20 nations, other city-focused organizations and selected observer groups.
The main areas of focus for the talks will include urban financing and investment, innovation and technology, and the implementation of sustainable development goals set out in multiple global agreements and development frameworks.
The U20 sherpas’ preparatory work will lead up to this year’s U20 Mayors Summit in Riyadh being held from Sept. 30 to Oct. 2. The mayoral summit’s meetings and discussions will culminate in a communique addressed to the G20 and intended to inform and enrich G20 leaders’ agendas with an urban perspective.
The U20 group held its inaugural Mayors Summit in Buenos Aires, Argentina in 2018 with Tokyo hosting last year’s get-together.