Leading cities from G20 member states convene – Helsinki joins the summit as an invited observer city and as the only Nordic representative

The Urban20 (U20) network brings together key cities from G20 member states and selected cities from around the world. Helsinki is the only Nordic city in this network established in Buenos Aires in 2018. Helsinki Mayor Jan Vapaavuori participates in the U20 Mayors Summit opening on Wednesday 30 September and hosted by Riyadh, Saudi-Arabia. This year’s summit is a virtual meeting. Mayor Vapaavuori speaks at the closing event of this three-day summit as well as at a World Economic Forum event organized in conjunction with the summit.

“As we are struggling with the Covid-19 pandemic, it is increasingly important for cities to work together. Instead of traditional city diplomacy, the U20 network seeks common solutions to global challenges that cross national borders. Helsinki plays a pioneering role in the network in a number of issues including climate action, sustainable development, open and participatory decision-making, and expertise in comprehensive and agile problem solving. The network is in a unique position to influence the themes of G20 summits,” Mayor Vapaavuori says. 

The strengthening significance of cities as active players in global politics is clearly evident in the background to the formation of the network. 

During Riyadh’s term as Chair city, the U20 network has produced several reports on the future of cities commissioned by the world’s leading cities and by institutions studying the development of these cities. A report titled “Financing Cities’ Recovery from Covid-19 and Preparing for Future Shocks” focusing on the impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic was produced by the working group “U20 Special Working Group on Covid-19 and Future Shocks”. Helsinki participated actively in the work of this group. The main outcomes from the report are related to the funding of the recovery of cities from Covid-19. As a key action, the report presents the establishment of an international fund, “Global Urban Resilience Fund”, which would enable global emergency funding to be channelled to cities directly. 

The U20 Mayors Summit was launched by United Cities and Local Governments (UCLG) and by the C40 Cities network for cooperation in climate action. Helsinki is an observer city in the network. 


Photo: U20