On 4 June 2021, the Geneva Cities Hub (GCH) and UN-Habitat concluded a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), which formalizes and strengthen their already high levels of cooperation. UN-Habitat is the UN program working towards a better urban future, with a focus on urban actors and matters. It is the UN entity which has naturally considered local authorities as its closest partners. Since the establishment of GCH, UN-Habitat has been one of its principal partners.
In the MoU, GCH and UN-Habitat agree to work together towards:
• Increased awareness and capacity of cities and city networks and of Geneva-based international stakeholders on key urban issues;
• Improved public policy discussions in Geneva on the participation of cities in multilateralism and on sustainable urban development;
• Strengthened cooperation on matters related to the Forum of Mayors and its Declaration;
• Improved interaction with global platforms and networks working on urban issues with International Geneva.
In particular, the MoU emphasizes the role of joint Geneva Urban Debates. They provide cities, city networks and Geneva-based organizations with a neutral platform to discuss key urban issues. These issues include water, climate change and housing. Outputs from the Geneva Urban Debates will be sent as contributions from International Geneva to the World Urban Forum in Katowice in 2022.
The MoU also acknowledges the co-organization of informal briefings on the UN Task Force on the Future of Cities for the Geneva-based organizations.
“This MoU is a milestone for our cooperation. It constitutes an important step towards our common goal which is to advance the participation and engagement of cities in multilateralism” said Anh Thu Duong from the GCH, during the signing ceremony.
Graham Alabaster, Chief of the UN-Habitat Office in Geneva affirmed that “UN-Habitat welcomes this agreement which provides a clear framework to our cooperation with GCH and strengthens our efforts to put forward the critical role played by urban systems in national, regional and multilateral processes”.