What opportunities does Mexico have for the first North American Mayors Summit in Los Cabos?

From June 6 to 8, the Summit of Mayors of North America will take place in the municipality of Los Cabos, where more than 130 mayors from Mexico, the United States, and Canada will participate. The event will be closed by the President of the Republic, Andrés Manuel López Obrador.

There will be 52 mayors from the United States, 21 from Canada and 64 from the interior of the Mexican Republic. Stock image
There will be 52 mayors from the United States, 21 from Canada and 64 from the interior of the Mexican Republic. Stock image

Today, cities are increasingly important players in the era of globality. Only 600 cities represent more than 60% of the world's GDP. The 21st century will witness a growing and irreversible participation of local governments in the international agenda.

An interesting fact is that, in 2010, local governments were recognized for the first time as governmental interest groups in the international negotiations on climate change at the COP 16 Climate Change Summit. Chancellor Marcelo Ebrard, then head of government of Mexico City, was the one who promoted the Covenant of Mayors that was announced at this summit, considering that 70% of energy is consumed in urban centers, 80% of carbon emissions are generated in cities, together with 80% of world GDP. Simply in Mexico, we have 319 cities vulnerable to the effects of climate change. Without a doubt, cities are fundamental spaces in the battle against climate change.

A blunt fact is that 65% of compliance with the 2030 / ODS Agenda goes through the powers of local governments. For the first time, Sustainable Development Goal 11 of the 2030 Agenda aims to make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable.

However, international practice from the local level is not confined to the signing of twinning, it also includes activities as diverse as: political dialogue with international actors; economic promotion and attraction of foreign direct investment; the link with their migrant communities abroad: cultural, educational exchanges; of best practices in local governance issues, as well as participation in networks and international forums with topics and positions of local interest.

In this scenario, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs proposes the implementation of an internationalization program for Mexican cities for local sustainable development. Within the framework of this program, we will also be presenting a guide called the 'ABC for the Internationalization of the Cities of Mexico', with the aim of accompanying and supporting the design and implementation of initiatives, strategies and public policies aimed at promoting greater internationalization of our cities.

In this same logic of supporting the internationalization of Mexican cities from the Foreign Ministry, at the initiative of the Government of Mexico, from June 6 to 8, the First Summit of Mayors of North America is organized in an unprecedented manner, with the aim of promoting a dialogue between cities and send a message of regional collaboration.

It is about contributing from the vision and contributions of cities to position North America as the most competitive and dynamic region in the world. This first meeting of mayors of North America will also allow finding solutions, best practices and regional cooperation schemes from the perspective of cities on issues of: border cooperation, mobility, tourism, urban sustainability, digital governance, citizen security and trade.

An important result of the summit will be to create the First Network of Cooperation of North American Cities, strengthening and strengthening cooperative relations and twinning between the cities of the region.

It is important to emphasize that this First Summit of Mayors of America is not done in isolation, but is part of a relevant context in which we can highlight the following:

More than 80 percent of the population of North America currently lives in cities. A number that is expected to increase even more in the coming years.

At this time, Mexico has positioned itself for the first time as the most important commercial partner for the United States. Mexico and the United States trade more than one million dollars per minute and more than 600 billion dollars a year. This means that Mexico exports 3 times more to the United States than Brazil, Russia, India, and South Africa as a whole.

In around 3,000 kilometers of border, they cross more than 1 million people a day and 437 thousand vehicles through 58 border crossings.

Our border zone, of more than 3 thousand kilometers, is the home of a binational community of more than 14 million people in 10 states.

The North American region has consolidated a paradigm of joint production that is expressed in the integration of global value chains. Thanks to free trade, interregional trade increased 258%, between 1994 and 2018. For example, Mexico, Canada, and the US are leaders in automotive supply chains: The three countries together provide approximately 22% of automotive exports worldwide.

Of the 1,000 twinning agreements that the local governments of Mexico have signed in the last two decades, 40% have subscribed with cities in the United States and Canada in educational, cultural and environmental issues.

In Mexico from the cities, there are more than 150 cooperation projects involving 736 local, national and international institutions, highlighting that 78% are technical cooperation projects, which is 35% focus on cooperation with the United States and Canada on issues of urban development, energy, civil protection, and the environment.

The cooperation between Mexico and Canada has an important local component. Since 1974 a very successful labor mobility scheme through the Temporary Agricultural Workers Program. The number of Mexican day laborers who travel to Canada each year has been increasing steadily to reach more than 25 thousand in 2017 and 2018, involving the bulk of the Canadian provinces.

As part of the actions of the Forest Working Group of the Mexico-Canada Alliance, both countries have developed an important collaboration scheme in the field of fighting wildfires between the National Forestry Commission (Conafor) and the Canadian Inter-institutional Center for Forest Fires. (CICIF). This cooperation scheme has been replicated successfully at the local level. Jalisco has developed a collaboration scheme with the province of Alberta for the training and certification of firefighters, which even today is thinking of sharing with Central American countries.

41% of the commercial exchange between Mexico and the US passes through Laredo-Nuevo Laredo Port (whose mayors will be present at the Summit), one of the most important land ports in the American continent.

Without a doubt, the summit will be an unprecedented meeting and exchange space for the mayors of North America to share information, experiences, and lessons learned on topics such as cross-border cooperation, trade and investment, mobility and urban sustainability, digital government, inclusive cities, citizen security, and tourism.

This initiative is an opportunity to develop a new action plan between the cities of Mexico, the United States and Canada, within the framework of a strategy never before seen in our country to support the internationalization of Mexican cities.

Dialogue, agreements, respect, and cooperation between the cities and countries of North America is a priority for the Mexican government and a commitment from President Andrés Manuel López Obrador.

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