Washington, D.C. – Under the leadership of U.S. Conference of Mayors (USCM) President and Oklahoma City (OK) Mayor Mick Cornett, a delegation of mayors including USCM Second Vice President Columbia (SC) Mayor Steve Benjamin, Dayton (OH) Mayor Nan Whaley and USCM CEO & Executive Director Tom Cochran joined more than 60 mayors representing cities from across the globe to establish the Global Parliament of Mayors (GPM). The inaugural meeting took place at the World Forum in The Hague from September 9 – 11, 2016. Unlike any other urban network, the GPM will be the first, and only, international organization exclusively for mayors and it will serve as an unprecedented platform for municipal leaders to collaborate on solutions to a wide range of global challenges.

The assembled mayors agreed on The Hague Global Mayors Call to Action, stating that the GPM will allow cities and their mayors to cooperate on critical issues such as climate change, refugees, pandemic disease, inequality and urban security. The GPM will share best practices, offer a common global voice for cities, and act as a permanent action oriented platform. It will work with and advise international organizations like the OECD, the World Bank and the United Nations.

During the conference, mayors discussed issues such as migration & refugees as well as the Environment & Climate Change. On climate change, mayors stressed the importance of the upcoming Habitat III in Quito, stating that the GPM can, and should be, represented there, in order to put forward practical and effective policies. On migration and refugees, mayors exchanged best practices and underlined the importance of close cooperation between cities of departure and cities of arrival.

Mayors also discussed the governance of GPM during the two-day meeting. The objective is that this inaugural meeting be followed up by at least one larger conference each year, in alternating continents. In order to secure that the GPM has traction, a small committee will oversee next steps in organizing and enhancing global mayors’ voices in the world. Mayors representing the five continents will be part of the committee, chaired by Jozias van Aartsen, mayor of The Hague.

“The newly formed GPM gives mayors an extraordinary forum to come together, brainstorm best practices and, use our collective power to advocate for more effective urban policy. As laboratories of innovation, cities are full of success stories and continue to raise the standards of services provided to citizens. As such, mayors are in a position to make a critical difference. We look forward to getting to work with our international colleagues and leverage this world wide network of cities to find innovative solutions and tackle head on the challenges that we face,” says USCM President Oklahoma City (OK) Mayor Mick Cornett.

“As a founding member organization, the United States Conference of Mayors (USCM) is pleased to see the Global Parliament of Mayors become a reality. As we move forward from this meeting, we will be working with mayors from around the world to encourage their support and involvement in future gatherings. The formation of this new organization marks an historic moment as no other international coalition for mayors, and run by mayors, exists. It stands as a place for mayors of the world to learn, share and make significant progress on the global metro-urban challenges we are facing,” says Tom Cochran, USCM CEO & Executive Director.

The concept of the GPM grew out of Dr. Benjamin Barber’s 2013 book If Mayors Ruled the World: Dysfunctional Nations, Rising Cities, which argues that cities, and the mayors that run them, offer the best new forces of good governance. Cities are already home to more than half of the world’s population and are the primary incubator for cultural, social and political innovations. According to Barber, a new international coalition of city governments has the potential to accomplish more than any individual national government.