Since Dr. Benjamin Barber held the keynote speech titled “Does the road to changing the world go through City Hall” during the ICORN General Assembly in Paris in March, ICORN has been in touch with Dr. Barber and the GPM team about future cooperation. Executive director Helge Lunde is invited as official observer, and he will be involved in the resource team for the session “Integrating Refugees of War”.
Helge Lunde says: “For an international network of cities like ICORN, the inauguration of the Global Parliament of Mayors is highly topical and, especially in light of the present refugee/migrant crisis, a very timely initiative. We are humble and glad to be able to take part, and we believe there will be many options for mutually beneficial cooperation when the Global Parliament of Mayors has been properly launched this upcoming weekend.”
Mayors representing cities from all over the world will convene in The Hague and celebrate the founding of the GPM. This new platform will enable cities to further their cooperation in addressing global challenges. For this inaugural meeting, mayors, experts, (UN-)organizations will concentrate on crafting real solutions about migration and refugees, climate change and governance.
The Global Parliament of Mayors (GPM) derives from ideas dr. Benjamin Barber introduced in his book ‘If mayors ruled the world’. Barber is the main advocate for the establishment of the GPM and will of course be present at the conference. In his book and many other publications, he asserts that cities, and the mayors that run them, offer the best new forces of good governance. Cities are already home to more than half of the world’s population and are the primary incubator of the cultural, social and political innovations which shape our planet. Cities can offer local notions and best practices to support and accelerate global answers in an ever interdependent world.
Mayors in the GPM aim at close cooperation with the United Nations and governments. They will further build on the achievements of the OECD, COP21, Habitat III and urban networks like Eurocities, the US Conference of Mayors and others in addressing these ‘glocal’ challenges.
The Hague, city of Peace and Justice, is the obvious venue for the inaugural meeting of the GPM: the mayors’ objective is that the meeting will be followed up by at least one larger conference each year, in alternating continents.