The German Marshall Fund of the United States (GMF) is delighted to announce that 100 mayors, from almost 50 countries on five continents have signed the Global Declaration of Mayors for Democracy. Mayor Satya Rhodes-Conway of Madison, Wisconsin was the 100th mayor to endorse the declaration.
Cities are on the front lines of the fight to preserve liberal democracy and defend against attacks on free expression. Drawing from their cities’ shared identity as champions and centers of democratic development, the signing mayors reaffirm their unwavering commitment to rebuilding and reinforcing democracy, standing up for free and fair elections at home and abroad, defending the rule of law at all levels of government, and addressing urban challenges through the lens of democracy and democratic values.
This declaration builds on a previous initiative of the mayors of Budapest, Bratislava, Prague, and Warsaw, who saw the growth of illiberal forces eroding democracy in their respective countries and united to develop in 2019 the powerful Pact of Free Cities. All four mayors have signed the Global Declaration of Mayors for Democracy, as have dozens of their colleagues worldwide—from Fort Collins to Freetown, and from Seattle to Skopje.
The declaration’s origin is in the commitments mayors made at the 2021 Summit for Democracy and informed by a dialogue on democracy hosted by the Chicago Council on Global Affairs and GMF Cities. The declaration was highlighted in the September G7 communiqué as an important example of cities taking responsibility for addressing global challenges and playing a critical role in democratic innovation.
Championing these commitments, GMF Senior Vice President Steven Bosacker said: “Cities started democracy. Now they have a chance to save it. This is demonstrated by the endorsement of this declaration, and also in the huge support cities have shown to their counterparts in Ukraine, and the efforts and plans underway to rebuild devastated communities and cities in ways that are inclusive, green, and democratic.”