Urban 20 cities call on the G20 national governments to ensure adequate housing for all

Last 21-22 May, the largest cities of G20 countries – a group known as the Urban 20 (U20) – gathered in Tokyo to convey their joint position to the G20 in a form of a Communiqué. U20 cities urged national leaders of the world’s largest economies to support local governments in ensuring access of all populations to adequate housing. Inspired by the Declaration of Cities for Housing, the U20 demanded enhanced competences and resources for local governments to face real estate speculation and promote inclusive and sustainable neighbourhoods.

A joint position that brings the demands of Cities for Housing to the G20

In Tokyo, Urban 20 cities stressed the need for bold action to address the housing crisis that is affecting urban dwellers all over the world. U20 Mayors, as expressed in the Communique, urged G20 national governments to support cities in designing and implementing housing strategies to ensure access of all populations to adequate housing.

Cities further acknowledged the special needs of, and the need to work in consultation with, specific population groups, such as children, women, ageing populations, people with disabilities, immigrants and all individuals and groups victim of discrimination or hate crimes.

Urban 20’s demands include the main proposals that the constituency of local and regional governments put forward last year through the Declaration of Cities for the Right to Housing. The largest cities of G20 countries are indeed demanding enhanced “competences and resources for local government to face real estate speculation and promote inclusive, resilient, sustainable and adequately-served neighbourhoods, safeguard publicly accessible spaces, increase funding to improve public housing stocks, and prepare tools to co-produce public-private community-driven alternative housing.”

The Declaration of Cities for the Right to Housing was presented at the United Nations by the Mayors of Barcelona, Berlin, Madrid, Montevideo, Montreal, and Strasbourg, along with the UN Special Rapporteur on the right to adequate housing, Leilani Farha, and has already been endorsed by 40 cities worldwide.

Urban 20: a platform to bring local views to the G20

Urban 20 is the platform for local governments to engage with the G20. It gathers the largest cities of G20 countries and in 2019 is chaired by the Governor of Tokyo, Yuriko Koike – while the Prime Minister of Japan is the 2019 G20 Chair. Buenos Aires had previously served as chair of the initiative in 2018, when Argentina was hosting the G20. The Urban 20 process is facilitated by UCLG and C40 to ensure that it reflects the views of the larger constituency of local and regional governments.

Last 21-22 May, the Tokyo Metropolitan Government hosted the second U20 Summit, which resulted in a U20 Communique – the group’s joint position towards the G20. The text calls on national governments to take bold climate action and promote effective sustainable development that reaches all communities and territories – but most especially those further behind.

The 2019 Communique was endorsed by the leaders of 30 cities, representing 126 million people: Amsterdam, Berlin, Brussels, Buenos Aires, Chicago, Christchurch, Durban, Hamburg, Helsinki, Houston, Jakarta, Johannesburg, London, Los Angeles, Madrid, Mexico City, Milan, Montreal, New York, Osaka City, Paris, Port Vila, Rio de Janeiro, Rome, Rotterdam, Sao Paulo, Seoul, Sydney, Tokyo, and Tshwane. The document was handed to Prime Minister Shinzo Abe of Japan – the 2019 G20 Chair – by the Governor of Tokyo and the Mayors of Berlin, Helsinki, Osaka, Rome, Rotterdam.

The message of urgency that the U20 has now brought to the G20 on housing crisis represents a major step further in local governments’ quest to protect the rights and the livelihoods of communities.


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