Biz-Community (Cape Town)

South Africa: Gauteng Gets Global Summits

The executive mayor, counsellor Mpho Parks Tau, says Johannesburg was selected as the host city for three global summits in 2013 because of its excellent record of success in organising major international events.

These summits will bring visitors from across the world and showcase the city's opportunities for tourism, trade and investment, he adds.

The C40 Summit on Climate change will take place in June 2013 bringing together global leaders, activists and innovators to discuss environmental issues relating to the urban environment

Mayors and decision-makers from the world's largest cities will converge on Johannesburg next year for the annual meeting of the Board of Directors of the Metropolis organisation

The City will also play host to the One Young World Summit, a global forum of young leaders which is expected to attract some 1 000 delegates from every continent

Acting CEO of Johannesburg Tourism, Phelisa Mangcu, is thrilled with Joburg's growing list of recent bids won and set to take place over the next few years. "In association with stakeholders, our Convention Bureau continues with its sustained bidding efforts and there is no doubt that these are bearing fruit, contributing substantial economic benefits to our local industry."

Climate change back in SA

C40 is a group of 59 major cities who share knowledge and experience on the environment, climate change and the sustainable management of resources. It is currently chaired by New York mayor Michael Bloomberg and is supported by the Clinton Climate Initiative. The first summit was held in London in 2005, followed by New York (2007), Seoul (2009), Sao Paolo (2011) and now Johannesburg (2013).

Mayors unite on urbanisation

The meeting of Metropolis will be the most important gathering yet of representatives of major metropolitan areas to discuss issues regarding the impact of urbanisation on the world. The five-day event will take place in July 2013 and coincide with a meeting of the Forum of Metropolitan Mayors.

Metropolis (The World Association of Major Metropolises) is the leading organisation that represents more than 120 of the world's leading cities with a population of more than one million people. Among the prominent cities that belong to Metropolis are Beijing, Rio de Janeiro, Moscow, Berlin, Paris, Bangkok, Dubai, Cairo, Toronto, Sydney, Madrid, Buenos Aires, Mexico City, Kuala Lumpur, Atlanta and Dakar.

Tau says the decision to award the hosting of conventions in Johannesburg is a recognition for the contribution the City makes in finding solutions for issues confronting urban environments such as informal settlements, service delivery, migration and the management of natural resources. It also confirms the growing role that cities on the continent of Africa play on the global stage and in international forums.

The convention will bring together more than 200 delegates as well as support staff and officials, which will be a major boost for Johannesburg's tourism, hospitality and leisure sectors. It will also attract business leaders from member cities who will be exploring opportunities for future trade and investment in the City and rest of South Africa.

Metropolis serves as the primary network for the world's largest cities to share information, knowledge and best practices regarding urban issues. It also represents the major metro areas in the United Cities and Local Governments organisation that represents the interests of local authorities on the global stage.

A number of initiatives launched

At the previous meeting of the Board of Directors, held in Porto Alegre, Brazil, a number of initiatives were launched including studies in collaboration with major research organisations on the impact of climate change, the role of Public-Private Partnerships, the upgrading of informal settlements, cooperation on culture and education and the integration of urban management.

The 2012 meeting of the Board will be held in the Chinese city of Guangzhou and the Johannesburg meeting will prepare the way for the 11th World Congress of Metropolis to be hosted by Hyderabad in India in 2014. Mayor Tau says Johannesburg has a strong track record of hosting global events of this nature such as the World Summit on Sustainable Development as well as premier sporting events like the 2010 Soccer World Cup, the All-Africa Games and the Rugby and Cricket World Cups.

The Metropolis meeting will attract global media attention that will also showcase Johannesburg's infrastructure, tourist attractions and investment opportunities.

"We will use this as a launch platform to establish Johannesburg as a preferred destination to host more international conventions and congresses in future," says Tau.

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