This week in Denver, local leaders will meet global diplomacy. The U.S. Department of State and the city of Denver are co-hosting the inaugural Cities Summit of the Americas — the first time the State Department is hosting a city summit like this. More than 250 mayors and 3,900 participants will discuss approaches to green energy solutions, expanding access to digital technology, affordable housing, women’s empowerment, democracy, and much more. The Cities Summit will build partnerships between mayors and other local leaders across the Americas and the Caribbean.
Cities like Denver are on the frontlines of solving some of the most pressing global challenges of our time. From tackling the climate crisis and pandemics to creating economic development, local governments are the engines of opportunity for delivering solutions that make a difference in communities.
The Cities Summit is catalyzing cooperation among local leaders by bringing together problem-solvers to share solutions with one another and with international policymakers. Cities are the key link to implementing the promises made at the Summit of the Americas last June.
One global challenge facing all cities today is climate change. Increasingly frequent and severe extreme weather events like hurricanes, floods, droughts, and wildfires have devastated communities and their infrastructure. City leaders are responding by investing in renewable energy, tackling methane emissions from waste and energy, redesigning urban areas for better drainage, or growing the number of green spaces and energy-efficient buildings.
The Cities Summit of the Americas will give mayors from across the Americas the opportunity to connect and learn from each other and will focus on meaningful outcomes that will deliver for the people in our region. For example, the Cities Forward initiative, to be launched at the Summit, will match large, medium, and small cities in the United States with counterparts in Latin America and the Caribbean for peer-to-peer learning and connection.
The Initiative will focus on solving key sustainability, equity, and resilience issues.
Denver’s global connections to the Americas, its vibrant business and multicultural communities, and its commitment to sustainability showcase the unique potential of innovation at the local level – which is why President Biden chose Denver to host the inaugural Cities Summit.
The Cities Summit of the Americas has the potential to be a transformative event for the region’s cities. Bringing together leaders and stakeholders from across the Americas and the Caribbean will generate new ideas, build partnerships, and discuss concrete solutions to the challenges facing our cities and our world.
Nina Hachigian is a retired ambassador and the first U.S. special representative for city and state diplomacy. Michael Hancock is the mayor of Denver.
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