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  • “No Return to Business as Usual”: Mayor of Seoul and Global City Leaders Pledge on COVID-19 Economic Recovery

  • SMG 1025

    C40 mayors, led by Park Won-soon, Mayor of the Metropolitan Government of Seoul, issue call for a healthy, equitable and sustainable economic recovery to COVID-19 pandemic.

    Statement endorsed by mayors of Los Angeles, Athens, Austin, Barcelona, Bogotá, Boston, Buenos Aires, Chicago, Curitiba, Freetown, Hong Kong, Houston, Lima, Lisbon, London, Medellín, Melbourne, Mexico City, Milan, Montréal, New Orleans, New York City, Oslo, Portland, Quezon City, Rotterdam, Salvador, São Paulo, San Francisco, Santiago, Seattle, Seoul, Sydney, Tel Aviv-Yafo, Vancouver


    London, 07 May – Mayor of the Metropolitan Government of Seoul, Park Won-soon today joined fellow leaders from many of the world’s most powerful cities to warn that the recovery from COVID-19 “should not be a return to ‘business as usual’ – because that is a world on track for 3°C or more of over-heating.”

    The C40 group of cities released a statement of principles, signed by Mayor Park, to shape the recovery from the COVID-19 crisis. Mayors, representing more than 750 million people worldwide, pledge “to build a better, more sustainable and fairer society out of the recovery from the COVID-19 crisis.”

    The principles were adopted in the first meeting of C40’s Global Mayors COVID-19 Recovery Task Force, supported by C40 Chair, Mayor of Los Angeles, Eric Garcetti, and have been endorsed by scores of city leaders from around the world, including Los Angeles, Athens, Austin, Barcelona, Bogotá, Boston, Buenos Aires, Chicago, Curitiba, Freetown, Hong Kong, Houston, Lima, Lisbon, London, Medellín, Melbourne, Mexico City, Milan, Montréal, New Orleans, New York City, Oslo, Portland, Quezon City, Rotterdam, Salvador, São Paulo, San Francisco, Santiago, Seattle, Seoul, Sydney, Tel Aviv-Yafo, Vancouver.

    Today’s announcement comes after a series of virtual meetings attended by more than 40 mayors, demonstrating how they are working together globally to overcome both the coronavirus and climate change crises.

    Michael R. Bloomberg, C40 Board President and Mayor of New York City, 2002-2013 said:
    “This task force is committed to helping city leaders as they work on economic recovery in ways that lead us forward into the future, not back into the past. The principles we’ve outlined will guide our efforts to develop a new normal – one that is greener, healthier, and more prosperous for everyone.”

    Statement of Principles:

    The COVID-19 pandemic has profoundly impacted the world’s cities. It is not just a global health crisis, but a social and economic crisis, the effects of which will be felt for years to come. In many ways it is also an urban phenomenon, with its roots in environmental destruction and humanity’s relationship with nature.

    As mayors, we are committed to supporting the residents of our cities and protecting their health, based on the guidance of expert advice. As members of C40 Cities, we are sharing what we have learned over the past months, and the knowledge we have gained in responding to other crises – public health, economic and environmental.

    It is clear that the harm caused by COVID-19 has not been equitable. The most vulnerable and the most disadvantaged are being hurt the most by both the health and economic impacts of COVID-19. It is also clear that the world was not fully prepared for this crisis, despite lessons learned from SARS, MERS, Ebola and other recent public health and climate emergencies. This is, in part, a consequence of the undermining of international mechanisms and institutions which were built to bring peace and prosperity to all. It is, in part, a consequence of ignoring science-based knowledge.

    We, as leaders of major cities across the globe, are clear that our ambition should not be a return to ‘normal’ – our goal is to build a better, more sustainable, more resilient and fairer society out of the recovery from the COVID-19 crisis. Therefore, our joint strategy to support the recovery of our cities and their residents from COVID-19 will be governed by these principles:

    1. The recovery should not be a return to ‘business as usual’ – because that is a world on track for 3°C or more of over-heating;
    2. The recovery, above all, must be guided by an adherence to public health and scientific expertise, in order to assure the safety of those who live in our cities;
    3. Excellent public services, public investment and increased community resilience will form the most effective basis for the recovery;
    4. The recovery must address issues of equity that have been laid bare by the impact of the crisis – for example, workers who are now recognised as essential should be celebrated and compensated accordingly and policies must support people living in informal settlements;
    5. The recovery must improve the resilience of our cities and communities. Therefore, investments should be made to protect against future threats – including the climate crisis – and to support those people impacted by climate and health risks.
    6. Climate action can help accelerate economic recovery and enhance social equity, through the use of new technologies and the creation of new industries and new jobs. These will drive wider benefits for our residents, workers, students, businesses and visitors
    7. We commit to doing everything in our power and the power of our city governments to ensure that the recovery from COVID-19 is healthy, equitable and sustainable;
    8. We commit to using our collective voices and individual actions to ensure that national governments support both cities and the investments needed in cities, to deliver an economic recovery that is healthy, equitable and sustainable;
    9. We commit to using our collective voices and individual actions to ensure that international and regional institutions invest directly in cities to support a healthy, equitable and sustainable recovery.

    Notes to Editors:

    The full list of mayors to have formally endorsed the Statement of Principles are:

    Park Won-soon, Mayor of the Metropolitan Government of Seoul
    Eric Garcetti, Mayor of Los Angeles
    Kostas Bakoyannis, Mayor of Athens
    Stephen Adler, Mayor of Austin
    Ada Colau, Mayor of Barcelona
    Claudia López, Mayor of Bogotá
    Martin J. Walsh, Mayor of Boston
    Horacio Rodríguez-Larreta, Chief of Government of Buenos Aires
    Lori Lightfoot, Mayor of Chicago
    Rafael Greca, Mayor of Curitiba
    Yvonne Saki-Sawyerr, Mayor of Freetown
    KS Wong, Secretary for the Environment, Hong Kong, China
    Sylvester Turner, Mayor of Houston
    Fernando Medina, Mayor of Lisbon
    Sadiq Khan, Mayor of London
    Jorge Muñoz, Mayor of Lima
    Daniel Quintero Calle, Mayor of Medellín
    Sally Capp, Lord Mayor of Melbourne
    Claudia Sheinbaum, Mayor of Mexico City
    Giuseppe Sala, Mayor of Milan
    Valérie Plante, Mayor of Montréal
    LaToya Cantrell, Mayor of New Orleans
    Bill de Blasio, Mayor of New York City
    Raymond Johansen, Governing Mayor of Oslo
    Ted Wheeler, Mayor of Portland
    Josephina Belmonte, Mayor of Quezon City
    Ahmed Aboutaleb, Mayor of Rotterdam
    Antônio Carlos Peixoto de Magalhães Neto, Mayor of Salvador
    Bruno Covas, Mayor of São Paulo
    London Breed, Mayor of San Francisco
    Felipe Guevara, Governor of Santiago
    Jenny Durkan, Mayor of Seattle
    Clover Moore, Lord Mayor of Sydney
    Ron Huldai, Mayor of Tel Aviv – Yafo
    Kennedy Stewart, Mayor of Vancouver

    To arrange an interview with or to discuss the announcement please get in touch with media@c40.org

    About C40
    Around the world, C40 Cities connects 96 of the world’s greatest cities to take bold climate action, leading the way towards a healthier and more sustainable future. Representing 700+ million citizens and one quarter of the global economy, mayors of the C40 cities are committed to delivering on the most ambitious goals of the Paris Agreement at the local level, as well as to cleaning the air we breathe. The current chair of C40 is Mayor of Los Angeles Eric Garcetti; and three-term Mayor of New York City Michael R. Bloomberg serves as President of the Board. C40’s work is made possible by our three strategic funders: Bloomberg Philanthropies, Children’s Investment Fund Foundation (CIFF), and Realdania.

    To learn more about the work of C40 and our cities, please visit our website and C40 Knowledge Hub or follow us on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and LinkedIn