Good urban practices

On 6 October 2020, the 1st ever Forum of Mayors took place in Geneva. City leaders from the UNECE region gathered at the multilateral level to share concrete ways to tackle the main challenges they face. 

This unprecedented meeting culminated with the endorsement of the Geneva Declaration of Mayors, in which Mayors committed to strengthen the resilience of their cities, make them greener, ensure sustainable urban transport and affordable housing for all, as well as to make their cities more equitable and inclusive.


Cities have since led many projects to meet these objectives. This page displays a few of the good urban practices that municipalities have implemented in relation with the Geneva Declaration of Mayors.

We, the mayors of the UNECE region, are willing to use the existing tools, and our influence and channels to turn these aspirations into reality. We consider the UNECE as a connector and enabler, and the Forum of Mayors as a platform for:

On-going exchange and mutual learning: We will share successful local solutions and action plans with our peers to facilitate mutual learning and to support each other in making progress.

Spreading the word: We will act as promoters and champions of this Declaration and publicly commit to it, e.g. by translating and publishing it on our communication channels. We will consult with stakeholders regarding our action plans, and create local partnerships for their implementation. We will actively encourage fellow mayors to become champions for this Declaration.

Multiplier effect: We will act as multipliers and join urban networks and initiatives, including the Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate & Energy, in order to develop and subscribe to concrete, ambitious commitments for our cities.

Tracking progress: We commit to tracking the progress on the commitments, respond to the UNECE’s progress survey, and present results of progress at next year’s Forum of Mayors.


Installation of early alerts to avoid disasters in Toro

The city of Toro is crossed by two rivers and the population lives on their banks. With these early alerts, a tragedy can be avoided, since a torrential avenue caused by landslides can cause deaths and destroy infrastructure.

This story was shared by Mr. Roberto Bolanos, Coordinator, Risk Management, City of Toro.Tel: +57.310.890.34.56

Municipal climate emergency strategy 

The City of Geneva is currently developing a roadmap for its « Stratégie municipale d’urgence climatique ».

This case study was shared by Ms. Julie Perrenoud, Project officer, Agenda 21 – Ville durable, Geneva, Switzerland

Drones come to the rescue on Gandia beaches

The City of Gandia launched a pilot project using drones to help swimmers who might be in distress and drowning. The name of the initiative, ‘Stop drownings’, speaks to the ambition of the local authorities to make their beaches completely safe for people enjoying their holidays. 


Read the full article by Tzvetozar Vincent Iolov on TheMayor.EU. 

Rotterdam with preferential loans for young homebuyers 

In a continuous effort to ensure affordable housing for its residents, the Municipality of Rotterdam is offering its youngsters the possibility to get preferential housing loans. 


Read the full article by Aseniya Dimitrova on TheMayor.EU. 


As part of the public policies put in place in connection with the Sustainable Development Goals, the city of Evian launched a project to provision of free sanitary protection for all Evian women.

This case study was shared by Ms. Aurore Dupays, directrice du Centre Communal d’Action Sociale (CCAS), Evian, France

Low Emissions Zone is making Brussels a healthier city

Researchers link the zones to sustained improvements in the air quality, especially when it comes to pollutants like nitrogen, soot and fine dust particles, detrimental to physical and mental health. Furthermore, the zones prove an effective tool for reshaping the car habits of private citizens, promoting the usage of more efficient vehicles.


Read the full article by Denis Balgaranov on TheMayor.EU. 

How Atlanta built trust with immigrant leaders, community navigators through a pandemic

As the U.S. continues to recover from some of the worst parts of the pandemic, Welcoming Network members worked in communities to make the recovery process as inclusive as possible.


Read the full article by Steve Tobocman on Welcoming America.

Sharing Cities

Sharing Cities is a EU-funded project aiming to create smart districts in 3 “lighthouse cities” (London, Lisbon, Milan).

This case study was shared by Ms. Vittoria Beria, Director, International Relations dept., Mayor’s Office, City of Milan.

Vienna pushing for fairer police force with cadets from migrant backgrounds

Vienna launched a new campaign called ‘Vienna wants you!’ with the aim of recruiting people from a migrant background to the city’s police department.

Read the full article by Denis Balgaranov on TheMayor.EU.

Civil Defense takes a first aid course for communities

The initiative aims to train volunteers to provide first aid in emergency situations and provide basic support until help arrives in the communities. 

This case study was shared by Mr. Gil Kempers, Municipal Secretary for Civil Defense in Petrópolis, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil..

Denmark’s first playground built from plastic waste opens in Randers

The Danish Municipality of Randers unveiled Denmark’s first playground built from plastic waste, the “The Circular Playground” project. As its name suggests, “The Circular Playground” sought inspiration from the principles of circular economies.


Read the full article by Svilena Iotkovska on TheMayor.EU. 

Paris caps speed at 30 km per hour 

Paris is limiting street traffic speed to 30 kilometres per hour. The motive behind the change is to reduce the number of road accidents and decrease the levels of noise pollution in the French capital.


Read the full article by Aseniya Dimitrova on TheMayor.EU. 

What are the citizens’ main worries?

To address the issues that matter to the residents of Bishkek, the Mayor’s Office of Bishkek is in constant and operational communication with them. 


Read the full article on the Official website of Bishkek.

Making the night safer for women and children in Madrid Region

Arganda del Rey, a municipality in the southern periphery of Madrid, joined the ‘Parada a demanda’ (Bus stop on demand) service programme.

Read the full article by Tzvetozar Vincent Iolov on TheMayor.EU.

New social housing programme in Ruse aims to break cycle of poverty

The Bulgarian city of Ruse launched its social housing programme. Access to housing comes with an aid programme combining financial and educational support, with the whole project aiming to help the homeless, minority groups and underage mothers.


Read the full article by Denis Balgaranov on TheMayor.EU. 

Nice studies smokers’ behaviour to protect beaches from cigarette butts

To address the issue of smokers who dispose of cigarette butts incorrectly and preserve the cleanliness of its beaches, authorities will try to learn more about smokers who visit local beaches and try to adapt to their needs.



Read the full article by Aseniya Dimitrova on TheMayor.EU.

Liberec will strengthen its flood warning system

Strengthening the warning and information system in the city will warn the Integrated Rescue System (IRS) and the public if they are faced with threats such as floods.


Read the full article by Svilena Iotkovska on TheMayorEU. 

Bialystok – Become a Hero in your city

Offering locals money to come up with great ideas that meet their needs may sound like an easy win, but it’s not as simple as it sounds. Over several editions, Bialystok has fine-tuned a process that opens the door for anyone to, as they put it ‘Become a hero in your city’.


Read the full article by Anthony Colclough on Eurocities. 

Inventing cool in the heatwave

In the years to come, climate change is going to become an increasingly pressing challenge for cities. Urban settings are on average 5°C hotter than their surroundings. This “urban island effect” poses a threat to populations during heatwaves. Fortunately, cities can act quickly to protect their residents. 


Read the full article by Wilma Dragonetti on Eurocities.

In Vienna, more plants make the city cooler

Vienna is fighting global warming by promoting a greening initiative for facades, roof and courtyard installations. As such, the city offers funding and advice to anyone interested in greening their buildings with vegetation.  


Read the full article by Denis Balgaranov on TheMayor.EU.

Vancouver offers leisure discounts to boost public transit use

“This summer’s campaign is the first of our efforts to encourage our customers to rediscover their transit system — it’s affordable, it’s convenient and it will connect you and your family and friends to everywhere you might want to visit in our region.”


Read the full article by Christopher Carey on Cities Today (subscription required).

A solar sheep farm in Vienna

The municipality of Vienna has developed an eco-friendly way to mow the lawn of its photovoltaic field: sheep. 

Read the full article by Denis Balgaranov on TheMayor.EU.