Metropolises Meeting the Challenge of the NUA

Louis- Charles Dumais

Under the leadership of the city of Berlin, mayors and high level officers of global Metropolises discussed how to implement the Sustainable Development Goals and the New Urban Agenda.  

The session was introduced by Michael Müller, Mayor of Berlin, who pointed out the need for new ways of working together in order to reach the SDGs and to ensure the sustainability of our cities.  

The invited panelists acknowledged that our planet faces massive sustainability challenges. It is now urgent that cities become central actors in deciding their own fate. They need to respond to these challenges directly. After Habitat III and the formulation of the New Urban Agenda there is much to be done.

While the various United Nations’ mandates offer cities many good principles, they raise a myriad of questions about what this means for the practice in diverse cities. This leads to a range of questions that were addressed during the session:

  • How can we translate between the Sustainable Development Goals and the principles of the New Urban Agenda, and then turn both into practice?
  • How can a metropolitan area best choose what sustainability strategies it will focus upon?
  • What is the best way for mayors, urban practitioners and researchers to co-operate in the context of Metropolis?
  • What would an ongoing collaborative structure look like?

The session that was moderated by professor Paul-James, included the participation of Manuela Carmena, mayor of Madrid; Herman Mashaba, mayor of Johannesburg; and Horacio Rodríguez, mayor of Buenos Aires.

The session also served as a kick-off event for forming a Metropolis Cities Collaboratory that seeks to formulate a practical roadmap for sustainable urban development in the participating cities.