London, 3 March 2015 — Efus, represented by Elizabeth Johnston, Executive Director, attended in London on 2 March the conference during which the launch of the Global Parliament of Mayors (GPM) was announced. The GPM will be officially constituted in October, in London and Bristol (United Kingdom).
This initiative is the brainchild of the American academic and professor of Political Science Benjamin Barber, author of If Mayors Ruled the World, Dysfunctional Nations, Rising Cities. It is based on the fact that in most Western countries, citizens trust less and less the national and international institutions but show unflinching trust towards their local representatives and above all their mayors. In the United States for example, surveys show that only 12% of citizens trust the Congress versus 60% to 65% who trust their Mayor. Why? Because it is “in municipal governance that citizens and political decision-makers find practical and democratic solutions to the most pressing local and global issues,” says the website of the Global Parliament of Mayors project (see link below).
Several hundred mayors of cities from all over the world are expected at the constitutive conference of the GPM in October as well as a number of networks of cities, including Efus, and partners from the academic community, the volunteer sector, the political arena and the private sector.
“This initiative resonates strongly with Efus’ values,” said Elizabeth Johnston. “Indeed, the increasing role and responsibilities of cities must be fully recognised politically and financially in order to create a new global governance. The leading role of cities must be supported by networks that pool their resources and expertise.”
The structure and operating system of the future Global Parliament of Mayors still remains to be defined precisely but the initiative has already met huge support from local authorities throughout the world.
Benjamin Barber’s book is currently being translated in various languages. A must read for our members on a theme that will undoubtedly fuel an exciting debate.