With local leaders increasingly facing global challenges like climate change and large-scale migration — and often rising to the occasion — the more opportunities for mayors to collaborate, the better. This year, they’ll have another space for that kind of sharing: the first meeting of the Global Parliament of Mayors in The Hague in September 2016.
Mayors experienced unprecedented visibility and clout at COP21 in Paris last year, and GPM joins global and national organizations like C40 Cities and the U.S. Conference of Mayors in providing a platform for municipal leaders to brainstorm solutions for cities together. While some mayoral networks focus on single issues, GPM will tackle a wide range of challenges.
“The GPM will allow cities and their pragmatic, problem-solving mayors to collaborate in enacting common policies and pursuing common action to pressing cross-border issues. Participating cities will be invited to cooperate on such critical issues as climate change, refugees, pandemic disease, inequality and urban security, problems that other institutions have not always been able to address,” said GPM President Benjamin Barber, author of If Mayors Ruled the World: Dysfunctional Nations, Rising Cities.
The first-ever conference was announced at a press conference at Fordham University School of Law last week, with Mayor Jozias van Aartsen of The Hague and Professors Sheila Foster and Nestor Davidson, co-directors of the Fordham Urban Law Center, participating. The new Fordham Urban Consortium, an interdisciplinary group intended to foster collaboration around 21st-century urbanization, will be working with GPM to make the conference happen.
“With ancient and modern cities forging a new global cosmopolis, the GPM promises progress on the great challenges of our new millennium on that stand in the way of a sustainable and just future,” Barber said. After its first meeting this September, the GPM will continue to meet annually.
Jen Kinney is a freelance writer and documentary photographer. Her work has also appeared in Philadelphia Magazine, High Country News online, and the Anchorage Press. She is currently a student of radio production at the Salt Institute of Documentary Studies. See her work at jakinney.com.