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Communiqué

G7 Ministers' Meeting on Urban Development, Potsdam, September 13, 2022
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Chapeau

At our first-ever G7 Ministerial Meeting for Urban Development, we, the Ministers responsible for urban development of the Group of Seven (G7), recognise that, as members of leading industrialised democratic countries and value-based partners, we have a special responsibility to help shape a liveable future for all on a healthy planet, with sustainable economic recovery, the 2030 Agenda, and the Paris Agreement in mind.

Against the background of current global crises inflicted by the COVID-19 pandemic, climate change and Russia's unjustifiable, unprovoked and illegal war against Ukraine, we reaffirm the principles of respect for international law, the multilateral rules-based order, the shared values of democracy, the rule of law, and universal human rights. We believe that in urban development policy we can overcome global challenges through mutual collaboration and coordinated multilateral cooperation, based on our shared democratic values and universal human rights.

In this context, we condemn the tremendous destruction of cities in Ukraine, for which Russia's war of aggression bears full responsibility, and stand ready to accompany international efforts to rebuild and rehabilitate the country's devastated cities and thereby support the self-determined reconstruction of a free and democratic Ukraine.

As G7 Ministers responsible for urban development, we jointly want to contribute to achieving the policy priorities for the German 2022 G7 Presidency. We want to make concrete progress towards a sustainable planet, economic stability and transformation, a healthy life, investing in a better future, and strong cooperation. Our cooperation is intended as a response to the 2022 G7 Leaders' Communiqué, which has tasked us to develop a joint understanding of good urban development policy and to decide on joint initiatives for unlocking the full potential of cities to promote social, cultural, technological, climate-neutral, economic, and democratic innovation for the common good.

Given the fact that we are living in the "century of cities", a major political task lies ahead of us. Cities constitute the immediate living environment of a growing majority of an increasing population worldwide. They are built environments of not only physical, but also social, cultural, environmental and economic infrastructure; they are places of diversity, identity, encounters, exchange and belonging; and they are spaces where policy decisions have a direct, tangible impact.

Cities and urban areas are critical global systems to combat the triple crises of climate change, biodiversity loss and pollution. Whilst cities are responsible for the majority of greenhouse gas emissions and to some degree for pollutants, they are also particularly affected by the effects of global warming and pollution. Innovative and sustainable energy solutions can turn smart, sustainable and resilient cities into a laboratory for a future with net zero emissions.

Other key challenges and transformative processes include economic structural changes, social inequality and polarisation, demographic change including both population ageing and shrinkage, and digitalisation. Cities are already struggling with crises and disasters due to various causes. In the coming years, cities will have to develop solutions and adapt in order to respond to the many changes impacting them directly. This requires amending urban development policies to support urban resilience.

Today more than ever, cities are interconnected globally, nationally and regionally, and city networks are becoming major global players. Cities have the power to develop visions of their own future, to create innovations and to mobilise resources, and are key to implementing landmark international policy frameworks, particularly the 2030 Agenda, the Paris Agreement, the New Urban Agenda and other relevant multilateral agreements, in a place-based manner, while continuing to share experience and best practices. Cities have the potential to implement innovative urban development approaches and create tangible improvements and sustainable living environments for their inhabitants if they are provided with enabling framework conditions.

With our first meeting in 2022 as G7 Ministers responsible for urban development, we want to highlight the importance of a sustainable, resilient, climate-friendly, environment-friendly, socially-inclusive, common good-oriented and well-informed urban development policy. We also wish to highlight the extensive opportunities resulting from such policy that may help us tackle local, regional, national and global challenges. We affirm that this will form the basis for future G7 cooperation.

Policy Basis

Our common goal is to maintain and improve the quality of life in cities of all sizes in their pursuit of urban resilience and sustainable transformation. Thus, in the spirit of existing international frameworks, we reaffirm the importance of the following global agreements for sustainable urban development, namely

We recall the 2016 Communiqué of the G7 Toyama Environment Ministers' Meeting and the 2021 G20 Rome Leaders' Declaration reaffirming the importance of the role of cities and subnational actors in sustainable development and addressing climate change, biodiversity loss and pollution.

We acknowledge that the "New Leipzig Charter: The transformative power of cities for the common good" adopted by EU Member States in 2020 serves as an exemplary multilateral and strategic framework document of contemporary urban policy to address social, economic and environmental challenges in accordance with the principles of good urban development policy.

We take note of other guidelines that are of importance to urban development, such as the regional report "Transition of Asian and Pacific Cities to a Sustainable Future: Accelerating Action for Sustainable Urbanization" of the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (2022) and the "Regional Action Plan 2030" of the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (2021).

We take note of the 2022 U7 Mayors Declaration and the 2022 Global Declaration of Mayors for Democracy, and recognise that many cities are already taking responsibility for addressing global challenges such as climate change, social polarisation and inequality, biodiversity loss, pollution and the COVID-19 pandemic. Cities continue to play a leading role in developing a successful, sustainable and inclusive future through mutually supportive cooperation and information sharing at intra-, inter- and supranational levels.

With reference to the importance of resilience for sustainable urban development, we also take note of the definition provided by UN-Habitat (2021) which defines urban resilience as "the measurable ability of any urban system, with its inhabitants, to maintain continuity through all shocks and stresses, while positively adapting and transforming toward sustainability."

Principles & Recommendations

In order to fully capitalise on the potential of cities and subnational regions, instruments of integrated urban development and appropriate enabling framework conditions need to be combined with room for innovation and cooperation. Good multi-level and multi-stakeholder cooperation and the participation of all concerned inhabitants at the local level create the preconditions for successfully addressing global challenges.

Building on this, we emphasise the following principles in strengthening international cooperation in urban development policy:

In order to strengthen international cooperation in urban development policy, we recommend

Commitment for Joint Action

In our first year of mutual collaboration and coordinated multilateral cooperation, we, the Ministers responsible for urban development of the Group of Seven (G7), support the implementation of the following action-oriented approaches and, within our national competence, in urban development policy. In this context, we emphasise the urgency of promoting just, green, inclusive, sustainable and circular cities; the possibility for the national level to provide enabling framework conditions, including urban development policies, taking into account each country's unique context; increasing the involvement of cities in the development and implementation of urban development policies; strengthening dialogue between local and national levels; and the special role of cities in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals of the 2030 Agenda.

We support

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Source: German Ministry for Housing, Urban Development and Building


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