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A Mayors Dialogue on Growth and Solidarity: overview of cities’ priorities and emerging partnerships

Working papers

Written by Avery Parsons Grayson, Amy Leach, Gemma Hennessey, Marta Foresti

Hero image description: Avenue Habib Bourguiba, Tunis Image credit:CC BY-SA 2.0 Image license:Citizen59

This working paper outlines sectoral and policy priorities and maps emerging and existing partnerships and collaboration between cities participating in the Mayors Dialogue on Growth and Solidarity: an initiative, led by Mayors Yvonne Aki-Sawyerr of Freetown and Giuseppe Sala of Milan, that aims to establish a shared vision and practical avenues for cooperation between cities across Africa and Europe. The paper discusses the cities’ varying approaches to human mobility and details the challenges and opportunities they face in this area.

Key messages

  • Cities are at the forefront of human mobility, reducing carbon emissions and fostering social cohesion within diverse urban communities. The world is looking to city leaders to provide ideas and solutions that can be adequately resourced and that work on the ground.
  • Participating cities highlighted several current and future policy priorities, with two overarching goals. First, encouraging inclusive and sustainable urban growth, both in the more immediate recovery from Covid‑19 and in the longer term. Second, enabling social inclusion and access to services for all residents regardless of status, with a particular focus on vulnerable populations.
  • Inter-city cooperation takes different forms, such as long-term bilateral partnerships and city-level networks. Existing collaborations are largely in the realm of technical assistance, with cities sharing experiences and taking part in peer learning, as well as development partnerships with financing for projects.
  • The Mayors Dialogue on Growth and Solidarity will act as a broker for international partnerships, helping pairs and clusters of cities test innovative approaches to finding solutions for pressing urban challenges and catalyse new ideas, elevating mayors and cities as regional and global leaders.

Avery Parsons Grayson, Amy Leach and Gemma Hennessey with Marta Foresti

Corrected online 9 October 2020: the acknowledgements section has been updated.

Published online 8 October 2020.