Global Declaration of Mayors for Democracy

Two hundred mayors from five continents endorse the Global Declaration of Mayors for Democracy promoted collaboratively by the Global Parliament of Mayors, GMF Cities, and the Pact of Free Cities. The declaration is being presented at the event “Building Democracy from the Ground Up:  The Global Declaration of Mayors for Democracy ” of the second US Summit for Democracy.

The Global Parliament of Mayors, the German Marshall Fund and the Pact of Free Cities are delighted to announce that 200 mayors, from more than 50 countries on five continents have signed the Global Declaration of Mayors for Democracy.

The declaration was presented at the official sub-cabinet level event co-sponsored with USAID for the second Summit for Democracy (S4D2) “Building Democracy from the Ground Up: The Global Declaration of Mayors for Democracy”. The program of the virtual event featured a few of the signers – the mayors of Kyiv (Ukraine), Amsterdam (Netherlands), St. Louis (United States), Banjul (The Gambia), Buenos Aires (Costa Rica), and Seoul (Republic of Korea) – and was moderated by Ambassador Nina Hachigian, Special Representative for City and State Diplomacy, U.S. Department of State.

Cities are on the front lines of the fight to preserve liberal democracy. The more than 35 Ukrainian mayors who have signed the declaration – more than any other country – are a testament to this. Even as they are fighting for the existence of their democracy, and with a relatively recent history of decentralization and local autonomy, their unwavering commitment to the values of democracy and the role of cities in furthering and fortifying these through practices and policies on-the-ground is remarkable.

Rohey Malick Lowe, Lord Mayor of Banjul (The Gambia) and GPM Vice Chair: “Democracy, its institutions, and processes are in high demand. This is especially clear as they recede around the world. It is critical to deepen and sustain democratic principles, while encouraging political leaders to offer ways for people to get engaged in pushing back against growing authoritarianism and strengthening democratic institutions and processes.”

The Global Declaration of Mayors for Democracy builds on a previous initiative of the mayors of Budapest, Bratislava, Prague, and Warsaw, who saw the growth of illiberal forces eroding democracy in their respective countries and united to develop in 2019 the powerful Pact of Free Cities. All four mayors have signed the Global Declaration of Mayors for Democracy, as have dozens of their colleagues worldwide—from Fort Collins to Freetown, and from Seattle to Skopje. A video of the Pact of Free Cities’ founding mayors speaking about the declaration is here.

The declaration’s origin is in the commitments mayors made at the 2021 Summit for Democracy and informed by a dialogue on democracy hosted by the Chicago Council on Global Affairs and GMF Cities. The declaration was also highlighted in the September G7 communiqué as an important example of cities taking responsibility for addressing global challenges and playing a critical role in democratic innovation.

This article was first posted on March 28, 2023 on the website of the Global Parliament of Mayors.