Sierra Leone Telegraph: 23 October 2021:
This year, the Global Parliament of Mayors awarded the prestigious Dr. Benjamin Barber Global Cities Award to Mayor Muriel Bowser, mayor of Washington DC, USA, and Mayor Yvonne Aki-Sawyerr, mayor of Freetown, Sierra Leone.
The award ceremony was part of the opening of the GPM Annual Summit 2021 hosted by Mayor Leoluca Orlando, mayor of Palermo, Italy.
The award recognizes mayors for their outstanding contribution to further global urban governance and inspiring city leadership.
Mayor Bowser was honoured because of her tremendous efforts to make the City of Washington, DC, more inclusive, safer, stronger, and healthier, her exceptional leadership with a strong conviction on the international role of cities and her contribution to the Paris Climate Agreement, and global governance as a whole that have contributed greatly to the growing role of cities in world politics.
Mayor Aki-Sawyerr was awarded for her commitment to transform the City of Freetown, using an inclusive approach, underpinned by innovation, community ownership and data-driven performance management. Her contribution to climate migration, gender equality and global governance have greatly contributed to the growing role of cities, specifically from the Global South, in world politics.
The Global Parliament of Mayors created the award to honour outstanding actions or research on urban governance and contributions to advancing the roles and principles set out by the GPM.
The award is named in memory of the founder of GPM, Dr. Benjamin Barber, author of the book ‘If Mayors Ruled the World’ (2014), who continues to inspire Mayors from around the world.
The GPM Annual Summit gathers mayors from all over the world, strengthening the voice of cities and elevating city leadership.
During the opening reception of the Annual Summit, host GPM Mayor Orlando announced that the city of Palermo will commemorate the late Dr. Benjamin Barber by dedicating a marble plaque to him in Palazzo Comitini, a Baroque palace located in the central Via Maqueda which is the official seat of the Metropolitan City of Palermo.
The plaque reads “With admiration and gratitude for the work on the interdependence of peoples, and the role of local governments”.
“I am humbled and honoured to receive this award which I would like to dedicate to all of the people of Freetown who are working tirelessly to make the city a better place to live, work and for leisure,” Mayor Aki-Sawyerr told the editor of the Sierra Leone Telegraph.
The Global Parliament of Mayors is a unique governance body of, by and for mayors that functions as a parliament and brings cities to the world fore. To organise and amplify the voice and influence of mayors across the globe, and strengthen the relationship with national governments, networks, multinational institutions, civil society groups, and business.
More than 50% of the world’s population lives in cities while cities produce more than 85% of GDP to their nations. Critical challenges that face humankind such as migration, pandemic diseases, social inequality and urban security must be solved in cities. It is therefore inconceivable that national and international bodies discuss and decide on policy actions without cities and their mayors present at the table. Citizens of the world need global governance to evolve, seeing cities and international networks sit alongside national and international leaders as equal partners in shaping global policy.
A world in which mayors, their cities and networks are equal partners in building global governance for an inclusive and sustainable world.
To convene a Global Parliament of Mayors to facilitate debates between mayors, national governance and international organisations, drive systematic action to take on global and national challenges and opportunities to achieve political change on a global scale. Mayors take leadership and ownership of the global challenges that they face on a local level.
CORE VALUES OF THE GLOBAL PARLIAMENT OF MAYORS
Local self-governance; Leadership; Collaboration; Open dialogue; Effectiveness; and Self-governance
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