Eurocities 2nd Mayors Summit 20.-21.3.2019, Mayor Jan Vapaavuori’s speech

Madam Chair, Dear Colleagues, Ladies and Gentlemen,

Currently, urban areas are a home to 75% of the population within the EU. World’s greatest challenges and most crucial innovations will happen in cities.

As mayors, our responsibility is to recognize the powers shifting our world, foresee the magnitude of these changes and prepare our governance – and our people – to champion under these changing circumstances.

Rapid urbanization, climate change and digitalization change the world at a never before seen pace. Our ability to keep up with the transitions around us require a solid foundation – shared values, functional everyday life and good governance. Security and a sense of mutual confidence and togetherness are the cornerstones for the success of any city. Good life can only be build on trust.

Our battle to prevent climate change and social injustice unifies us beyond our physical borders. In May 2018 New York City became the first city in the world to commit to the Voluntary Local Review of United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals. In June 2019 Helsinki will submit its own VLR to the UN.

Through the voluntary local review our goals is to illustrate the success of Helsinki’s strategy in relation to the SDG’s, produce understandable and open information about the city’s sustainable development, forward dialogue within the global community,and to bring forward possible weaknesses that can be addressed. A more long-term vision is to produce solutions and information that help cities around the world to flow the SDG’s in order to success in the implementation of the Agenda 2030.

I call upon all Eurocities members to join us in the battle for  peace and prosperity for all people and the planet, make the commitment to city-level voluntary local review of the SDG’s and take action for our common goals in order to convince nations states and the global community that cities matter and our voice needs to be heard.