Quito, October 17: With a view of overall development of the cities all over the world, the United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Sunday urged Mayors across the world to “take strong ownership” of a new global agenda for sustainable development in the towns and cities they represent.
Speaking to a gathering of some 400 mayors, representatives of local authorities and urban partner organizations, Ban made this call in the Ecuadorian capital, Quito, on the eve of the official opening of the UN Conference on Housing and Sustainable Urban Development, known by the shorthand Habitat III, which aims to re-think the planning and management of towns and cities across the world, through the adoption at the New Urban Agenda.
He pointed Goal 11, which “pledges to make human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable.” And in that regard, “elected officials, Mayors, Governors and Councillors, are the forefront of the battle for sustainable development,” he said, to loud applause from delegates to the Second World Assembly of Local and Regional Governments, also known as the World Mayors Assembly.
Although national governments must play a strong role in devising legislation and policies to make cities grow sustainably in the future, it was local and regional leaders who would have to “implement these visions on the ground.” Indeed, he said, “You must make the tough decisions on which issues to prioritize – because you have to manage budgets and balance sheets. You are accountable to national governments, and in many cases, to your local voters too. Your inputs into the New Urban Agenda were invaluable.”
The development Goals and also the commitment to curb carbon emissions made through the Paris agreement on climate change last December, would be “under your direct leadership,” he told delegates in the main hall of Quito's Casa de la Cultura Ecuatoriana.