WHAT WE DO FOR CITIES

This is an initiative, a platform for urban actors, a facilitator for cities and local governments towards the UN in Geneva.

On the basis of several studies, the City of Geneva and the Canton of Geneva are currently creating the Geneva Cities Hub (GCH) with the support of the Swiss Confederation. The GCH will be an association under Swiss law. It aims to facilitate relations between cities and city networks around the world and the various institutions of International Geneva, including UNOG, UN agencies, international organizations, NGOs, diplomatic missions, civil society organizations, and academic institutions and actors. The GCH will not be a new cities network. It will link local authorities to International Geneva, and different urban actors to each other, via the networks of Geneva-based organizations. Taking care to avoid duplicating the work of other entities, it will facilitate interactions between interested actors and will seek particularly to coordinate its activities with major city networks, such as United Cities and Local Governments (UCLG), through partnerships.

A focal point for multilateral diplomacy, the United Nations Office at Geneva (UNOG) services more than 8,000 meetings every year, making it one of the busiest conference centres in the world.


Geneva is the main operational hub of the United Nations. It also hosts an unmatched number of international organizations, NGOs, permanent missions, world-class academic institutions and multinationals, which are working on virtually every topic critical to globalization and having a real impact on people's lives. 


Local authorities are represented at many of these meetings as well as in informal spaces. They come to plead their case and seek technical expertise, and equally are solicited by UN agencies and other actors, which recognize that cities will make a vital contribution to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).


For those reasons, and as cities become more prominent in international affairs, Geneva is ideally placed to play a key role in urban diplomacy, particularly in its areas of expertise, which include peace, security and disarmament, humanitarian action and law, human rights, migration, labour, economics, trade, science, telecommunications, health, the environment, and sustainable development.

 

THE OBJECTIVES

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OUTREACH

Identify and monitor the needs of urban actors as well as international actors based in Geneva, making it possible to prioritize work themes relevant to current events as well as facilitate contacts. Seek new forms of representation for urban actors at the United Nations, such as special accreditation or special roles during negotiation of resolutions or processes. Establish links with the Geneva International Welcome Center (CAGI) and with Geneva and federal authorities, in order to provide better guidance to urban actors when they wish to engage with the authorities.

CREATE A NETWORK

Organize thematic meetings or retreats that link city leaders and city networks with the heads of international organizations based in Geneva, and urban leaders in Geneva institutions. Monitor current events and advise urban actors on how they can best make their voices heard, including through the provision of specialized analysis or training that will enhance their understanding of specific bodies, processes or actors.

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COMMUNICATION SUPPORT

  • Offer a space for neutral dialogue between and about cities by actively monitoring initiatives that urban actors develop in Geneva.

  • Establish and facilitate exchanges in Geneva between international actors who are active on urban issues.

  • Strengthen the actions of urban actors in international and UN fora in Geneva.

 

To meet these objectives, the GCH will position itself as a facilitator and will specifically undertake to:

Identify and monitor the needs of urban actors as well as international actors based in Geneva, making it possible to prioritize work themes relevant to current events as well as facilitate contacts.

Organize thematic meetings or retreats that link city leaders and cities networks with the heads of international organizations based in Geneva, and urban leaders in Geneva institutions.

Establish links with the Geneva International Welcome Center (CAGI) and with Geneva and federal authorities, in order to provide better guidance to urban actors when they wish to engage with the authorities.

Monitor current events and advise urban actors on how they can best make their voices heard, including through the provision of specialized analysis or training that will enhance their understanding of specific bodies, processes or actors.

Seek new forms of engagements for urban actors at the United Nations during negotiation of resolutions or processes.

Ensure media coverage of urban issues by, for example, partnering with specialized media.

 

© Geneva Cities Hub 2020