The 2nd World Forum of Intermediary Cities, the first edition of which was held in Chefchaouen, Morocco in 2018, took place under the theme of “Life Systems for a Resilient Future” in a hybrid format on 5-8 October 2021, under the auspices of Kütahya Municipality.
The first day of the Forum, which focused on the building of more resilient, sustainable, and inclusive cities in the context of intermediary cities, was held under the sub-theme of “Climate Day” with the participation of Ahmad Alsoofi, Mayor of Rafah, and Mahmut Özçınar, Mayor of Güzelyurt and Co-President of UCLG-MEWA Committee on Environment, from the MEWA region. In his speech, Mayor Özçınar pointed out that it was necessary to establish a strong local government network in cities, in order to address environmental awareness in the right dimensions so as to avoid the problems that would arise from climate change.
Participating in the online session “Acting on Climate Justice: Enabling. Intermediary Cities to join the Race to Resilience & Race to Zero” from the UCLG-MEWA General Secretariat building in Sultanahmet, Istanbul, Al Soofi spoke about the humanitarian crisis in Rafah as well as the effects of the climate crisis on the city.
On the second day of the Forum which continued with the panel sessions titled “Intermediary Cities for Equal Territories” and “Intermediary Cities for Water Justice: from a regional to a global dynamic,” the MEWA Special Session on Intermediary Cities for Water Justice: from a regional to a global dynamic, moderated by Bülent Açıkgöz from the UN in Turkey, started with the opening speech of Mehmet Duman, UCLG-MEWA Secretary-General.
In his speech, Duman said: “In an environment where water resources are in danger, we cannot talk about the continuity of life, let alone development. Water is of vital importance for the SDGs.”
The third day of the Forum continued with the tours in the city of Kütayha which leads the agenda of the Intermediary Cities. UCLG-MEWA delegation paid official visits to Ali Çelik, Governor of Kütahya; Alim Işık, Mayor of Kütahya; Mehmet Gürsoy, tile artist awarded the UNESCO Living Human Treasure Prize; and İsmail Yiğit.
The last day of the Forum concluded with the High-Level Dialogues titled “From Kütahya to the World: Intermediary Cities for Caring Economies” and “Intermediary Cities for the Human Dimension of Transformation.” Delivering the opening remarks, Emilia Saiz, UCLG Secretary General, touched upon the importance of Kütahya and intermediary cities.