Sunday, December 17, 2017 06:23:20 AM
Denis Coderre :
Think globally, act locally.'' This isn't just a slogan. It's a deep conviction shared by a growing number of elected officials, experts and citizens around the world: Cities - especially the large ones - can and must play a leading role in solving the complex problems of our time.
This new mission is driven by growing urbanization, which is happening world-wide; more than half of the world's population now lives in urban areas. This proportion will reach two-thirds by 2050, according to forecasts by the United Nations.
What is more, these 21st century priority issues are encouraging cities to exercise leadership while pushing other governments to recognize their vital roles. Fighting climate change, the rise of social inequalities, the management of living together and the prevention of radicalization: These are all issues that go beyond borders and are challenging policymakers today. So, while national governments must adjudicate discussions about these complex issues among their populations, cities are often acting without waiting for permission.
Living together: Montréal and cities at the forefront
The issue of "living together" is a marvellous example of this leadership and the proactivity of the world's cities to find innovative solutions to the public problems of our era.
In 2015, some 25 mayors from all over the world met in Montréal for the Living Together Summit. A year later, we announced the creation of the International Observatory of Mayors on Living Together, a platform for exchanges on best practices in cohesion, inclusion and urban safety that now includes 35 cities on four continents.
In 2016, in the wake of the arrival of thousands of Syrian immigrants to Québec and Canada, Montréal also innovated by establishing the Bureau d'intégration des nouveaux arrivants à Montréal (New Immigrants Integration Office of Montréal). By relying on the cooperation of many socioeconomic groups, we were able to assist families seeking housing, to create the "Info-aide réfugiés" ("Info-help for refugees") line, and to fund several cultural activities and reception/integration organizations.
These city-managed initiatives foster the development of pluralistic societies based on sharing and inclusion. Even so, local governments must remain vigilant to maintain the values that facilitate living together. In recent years, the violent radicalization phenomenon - because it threatens the safety of individuals and the security of our social fabric - has become a real problem for society. "From now on, local governments are indispensable players for addressing the global challenges of the 21st century."
Therefore, we must also be proactive. As a result, the City of Montréal, in cooperation with local partners, also established the Centre for the Prevention of Radicalisation Leading to Violence in 2015. The first organization of its kind in North America, the center quickly demonstrated that it was responding to a need: Several months after being established, the center had received more than 600 calls and carried out roughly 150 direct interventions by psychologists and social workers with families worried about the behavior of a loved one.
In parallel, while refugee immigration and reception are raising resistance on both sides of the Atlantic, local leaders and cities are still expressing their solidarity and opening their doors.
I am reminded of Ada Colau, the mayor of Barcelona, who called upon her fellow citizens to "fill the streets" of the second largest city in Spain for a walk entitled "We want to welcome," in February. Some 160,000 people then demonstrated to the European leaders their desire to take in more refugees.
I think of those many sanctuary cities that enable vulnerable immigrants to live without the fear of being deported or reported to the immigration authorities. Montréal very proudly adopted this status in February, taking its cue from Chicago, San Francisco, Boston, New York, Toronto and Vancouver, among others.
These actions are right in line with the commitments adopted by the General Assembly of the United Nations at the Habitat III conference in Quito, Ecuador, in 2016, as part of the New Urban Agenda. Member states then committed "to ensuring full respect for the fundamental rights of refugees, displaced persons and migrants, regardless of their migration status" and above all, "to support the cities accepting them."
International recognition and urban diplomacy
This specific recognition by the U.N. of the crucial role of cities in managing migration issues is significant. In 2015, the U.N. also identified cities as key players in achieving its 17 Sustainable Development Goals. In short, the contribution of cities is increasingly being recognized internationally.
At the same time, a new form of international relations - urban diplomacy - is emerging. Metropolis, the world association of major metropolises, for which I am the president, is one of its manifestations. Bringing together decision-makers of 140 major cities around the world, its objective is to uphold the interests of cities and their citizens by helping them better deal with local and global issues. Metropolis has also launched an appeal to respect the values of inclusion and openness, especially regarding the rights of migrants and the most vulnerable populations.
It is in this spirit that our 12th World Congress, which will take place in Montréal in June, will be held under the theme "Global Challenges: Major Cities in Action." This will be an opportunity for local governments to find the best possible answers to the issues that concern their citizens, as part of a new international urban agenda.
PTI, Washington :US President Donald Trump today said the Congress has reached an agreement on tax legislation that will deliver more jobs, higher wages, and "massive tax relief" for American families and domestic companies.Trump recognised the tax reform as a campaign promise during his run-up to the 2016 presidential election, ...
WE welcome the OIC's (Organisation of Islamic Cooperation) decision declaring East Jerusalem as capital of Palestine at a summit at Istanbul on Wednesday as the most appropriate and timely action to denounce US President Donald Trump's unilateral declaration that Jerusalem is the capital of the state of Israel. Their call ...
Meryl Streep has begun her Hollywood award season dominance by bagging her 31st Golden Globe nomination, which is a record in the 75-year history of the award show. Streep won the nomination in the best actress, drama category for her portrayal of the Washington Post publisher Kay Graham in Steven ...
Entertainment Report :Today across the country in 175 cinema halls Malek Afsari directed and Porimoni-Zayed Khan acted much awaited movie Antorjwala is set to be released. On the occasion its releasing Pori and Zayed will enjoy the movie along with director Malek Afsari in Dhaka’s Modhumita, Shyamoli and Sony halls.While ...
Weekend Plus Desk :If you are a burger lover or want to fix a burger quickly for uninvited guests, here are a few recipes which can save the day. Recipes by Chef Gaurav Chadha, in-house chef, Dr Oetker India Pvt Ltd:* Chicken and egg burger: Heat oil in a kadhai ...
AN attempted terrorist attack in a New York City bus terminal by a US national of Bangladesh origin has caused widespread surprise and condemnation here and also in the Bangladesh community in the USA. The person Akayed Ullah at his 27 is a taxi driver in New York City and ...
Xinhua, Washington :U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said Tuesday the U.S. embassy in Israel was unlikely to be moved to Jerusalem before 2020, national media outlets reported."It's not going to be anything that happens right away," U.S. news daily the New York Times quoted Tillerson's speech at the State ...
Akshay Kumar is gearing up for his next release PadMan which is all set to release on Republic Day, 26th January 2018. Recently Akshay is on spree of releasing new posters of the films. A day before yesterday Akshay shared a poster of the film in which he can be ...
OVER 1,500 colleges are in fear of closure as they have failed to fulfil the condition of the Education Ministry in terms of students' admission at Higher Secondary level, The concern is genuine because opening of new colleges and also their closure is not small thing, as it impacts lives ...