Ilsur Metshin, the Mayor of Kazan and President of the UN Advisory Committee on Local Authorities (UNACLA), spoke today at the BRICS Friendship Cities and Local Government cooperation, which is being held in Kazan these days. The plenary session was partly held via videoconference. Participants discussed achieving of the sustainable development goals in modern cities.
It is a great honor for Kazan to host such a high-level event, Ilsur Metshin said, opening the forum's plenary session. "We remain committed to the principles of openness, equality and mutually beneficial partnership, as well as to the common goal to create a world based on a sustainability", - said the Mayor of Kazan.
Sergey Lavrov, Russian Minister of Foreign Affairs, recorded a video message to the participants of the meeting. "The hospitality and cultural diversity of the capital of Tatarstan will contribute to the success of the forum", - Minister of Foreign Affairs of Russia assured.
Evgeny Primakov, head of Rossotrudnichestvo, also addressed the forum participants with a welcoming speech. First Deputy Prime Minister of Tatarstan Rustam Nigmatullin read the address of Tatarstan President Rustam Minnikhanov.
The number of managers, experts and specialists participating in the forum in Kazan shows the importance and relevance of the issues discussed and the inter-municipal format of the discussion, said I.Metshin.
In his report, he said that the main task of all local authorities, regardless of their location, is to ensure the effectiveness of local self-government, eliminate legal and financial contradictions, and provide equal opportunities and conditions for all residents.
"As UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres noted in his analytical report on COVID-19, cities and regions will play an important role in the world's recovery from the pandemic. The relevance of exploring and replicating the best world practices in implementing the sustainable development goals and timely responding to new challenges is increasing every day", - the Mayor of Kazan said.
In his opinion, achievements of Kazan are largely related to active inter-municipal and inter-regional cooperation with global partners, including international organizations, networks and twin cities, as well as the organization of international events in Russia and abroad. Kazan has 56 twin cities and partners in various countries.
Besides, the headquarters of the Eurasian branch of the world organization "United Cities and Local Governments" (UCLG) is located in the capital of Tatarstan. It includes more than 300 cities from 12 countries. Together, they work to strengthen the role of local and regional authorities in global decision-making.
Many problems were solved by the projects as Healthy Kazan, Green record, Good Kazan, Ecological development, Intercultural cooperation and others. The social and economic development of the Tatarstan capital was promoted by hosting such events as Universiade, the FINA world championship, the Confederations Cup, the FIFA World Cup, and the WorldSkills championship.
Strategic investments in sports, medicine, and public spaces have improved the quality of life in Kazan, Ilsur Metshin said.
The Mayor of the capital of Tatarstan believes that participation in international awards, competitions and researches is a proven and effective way to establish a dialogue with other cities, exchange experience and results of activities. "Kazan is a metropolis with a multicultural and multi-confessional composition. The city is home to about 1.2 million people – representatives of 115 nationalities, living in harmony with cultural, religious and linguistic diversity. Kazan has a unique cultural code. Therefore, it is important for us to maintain an intercultural dialogue and create conditions for the integration of representatives of numerous cultures and nationalities", - the Mayor of Kazan said.
The coronavirus pandemic has made adjustments to the implementation of the sustainable development goals. "The restrictions caused by the spread of the virus have affected the urban economy, forced us to review development programs, timely adapt municipal management and interaction with the population to the new reality. In this situation, ensuring safety and taking care of the health of citizens have become our main tasks", –said I.Metshin.
Representatives of other cities from Russia, China, Brazil, India, South Africa and many others also spoke at the plenary session.
In conclusion, the participants adopted the final Declaration of the BRICS Friendship Cities and Local Government cooperation Forum.