GUANGZHOU, China, Nov. 10, 2021 /PRNewswire/ — (Correspondent: Guangzhou Foreign Affairs Office) On the evening of November 8, the opening session of the 13th World Congress of Metropolis and its annual board of directors meeting was held in Guangzhou. This also marked the official kick-off of the 2021 Global Mayors’ Forum Serial Events. Following Guangzhou’s successful election last year as the presidential city of Metropolis, this year also marks the first time that a Chinese city has hosted the Metropolis World Congress.
The 2021 Global Mayors’ Forum Serial Events will last for six days (Nov. 8-13). With a rich agenda and diverse forums, this event’s forum will offer discussions on the path to urban transformation and innovative cooperation. As of November 7th, more than 800 Chinese and international guests from 126 cities in 80 countries and 9 international organizations have confirmed either their online or offline participation.
Online + Offline Hybrid Format
The Most Special World Congress of Metropolis
“This will be the most special Congress of Metropolis since its establishment 36 years ago, and it will be the first time the Congress will be held in an online + offline hybrid format,” Octavi de la Varga, Secretary-General of Metropolis, said in his address at the conference.
Metropolis, the international organization for large cities around the world grew out of the rise of multilateral engagement among worldwide cities. It currently has 143 member cities, all of which are large cities with a population of over one million.
Octavi de la Varga said that regions around the world are facing social, economic, and environmental crises, “This Congress is also a continuation of our initiative to Rethink Metropolitan Spaces, which was launched last May. The hope has been to mobilize our members and interested parties to think together about how to, under the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, improve the governance of the Metropolis and the quality of life,” he continued. He also said that this is the meaning of the theme Metropolises and Cities in Transformation: Rethinking our Future Together, which has been put forth by this Congress.
During the Congress, representatives of participating cities, experts, and scholars will take this opportunity to share insights, contribute wisdom, and build a broad consensus so as to more effectively modernize urban governance.
Leading Global Cities in Urban Governance Innovation,
Guangzhou Fulfills its Role as the Presidential City.
Notably, Guangzhou participated in its bid for the presidential city of Metropolis in 2020 and was successfully elected. This is the first time a Chinese city has held the presidency of Metropolis. This great accomplishment reflects a high level of recognition by the international community and Guangzhou’s role in global urban governance over the years.
To be specific, immediately after the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic, Metropolis established the The Cities for Global Health Platform. So far, this platform has collected 675 successful cases of combating the pandemic and restoring businesses from 29 countries and 103 regions around the world. It has assisted local governments and cities with valuable experience in Covid-19 control and economic recovery. Metropolis has successfully established Urban Sustainable Experiences (USE), which has gathered more than 300 cases of urban governance innovation and has served as a reference for local governments to achieve their SDGs and the New Urban Agenda. The fifth Guangzhou International Award for Urban Innovation has received 273 submissions from 175 cities in 60 countries. This demonstrates the resolve and confidence of global cities in communication and cooperation. Moreover, ties among member cities have been strengthened through numerous programs and platforms including World Metropolitan Day, pilot programs, the community of urban managers and the Metropolis Observatory.
Children from 33 Cities Paint Their Vision for Future Cities
In July of last year, Metropolis launched a painting contest entitled Metropolises through Children’s Eyes to encourage children’s creative expressions through artwork. It enabled us to learn how children envision the future trends of their cities following the changes brought about by the pandemic. To date, the contest has received 1,200 drawings from children between the ages of 5 and 14. These children hail from 33 Metropolis member cities, and they used vivid creativity in their artwork to show interesting visions of future cities.
In the opening session, Octavi de la Varga said that at the beginning of the pandemic, Metropolis took prompt actions to develop platforms to facilitate communications between member cities and relevant organizations, such as Global Healthy Cities, Cities are Listening, and Emergency Governance Initiative and Dialogue between Metropolises. “We soon realized that we lacked an important voice that is often neglected but represents the future – the voice of children living in metropolises.”
Marina Canals, a representative of the partner organizations and the General Secretary of the International Association of Educating Cities, said that listening to children and young people’s advice is a right included in Article 12 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child. Therefore, it is necessary to make their voices heard and let them play a positive role in the development of cities.
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