The City of Johannesburg has raised its profile on the international stage with the election of Executive Mayor Parks Tau as one of six co-president of Metropolis, a global association of major cities and metropolitan regions.
The other five co-presidents are from Guangzhou, Sao Paulo, Barcelona, Berlin and Montreal.
Metropolis is an international forum that explores issues that are common to large cities. It has almost 140 members, each home to more than a million residents.
The 11th World Congress of Metropolis is taking place in Hyderabad, India between 6 and 10 October, looking at the concept of “Cities for all”.
Executive Mayor Tau’s appointment was announced during the congress. One of six co-presidents, his role will be to oversee the portfolio on social inclusion and supporting access to basic services.
Speaking after his appointment, the executive mayor said that Metropolis’ priorities and action plans for 2015/17 sought to address the challenges currently facing metropolitan development. “Other key areas of focus include, for example, urban governance and innovation.”
Other aspects of his portfolio include the issues of urban equity, civic engagement and participation, public health, migration, social housing and economic development. The City of Joburg’s Growth and Development strategy, Joburg 2040, prioritises many of the same issues.
The election of co-presidents marks a change in the structure of Metropolis. Their roles will be to help the association’s president, Jean-Paul Huchon, to increase membership and lobby for solidarity and support.
As part of this, Metropolis will be looking to highlight its activities in global forums such as Habitat III, the United Nations Conference on Housing and Sustainable Urban Development, which is due to take place in 2016.
In July 2013, Johannesburg hosted the association’s annual meeting, which saw delegates tackling issues around sustainable, resilient and cohesive cities under the theme of “Caring cities”. During the course of the gathering, delegates attended the opening of an Xtreme Park in Sophiatown, and took tours of Joburg’s inner city and Soweto.