The Second General Assembly 2011, Istanbul, Turkey

The first meeting of the Asian Mayors Forum was organized in November 19 2008 in Tehran by initiative and at the host of Mr. Qalibaf, the distinguished Mayor of Tehran, as well as Tehran Municipality which was attended by mayors and municipal authorities from 89 Asian and Non-Asian countries. The participants chose “Asia for Citizens: Integration for A Better Life” as the motto of the meeting and they also welcomed deserved initiative of the Tehran Mayor for the establishment of the Permanent Secretariat of the Asian Mayors Forum in Tehran. It is worth mentioning that the Forum was established based on the provisions of Article 63 of the 2007 Asian Parliamentary Assembly (APA) Final Declaration with the purpose of establishing sustainable peace, promoting constructive cooperation among Asian governments and people, enhancing friendly relations among Asian countries as well as providing required ground for sustainable development of all Asian countries in different economic, social, scientific and technological fields.

Therefore, one year later, in a meeting attended by 46 Asian mayors or their representatives it was decided that the Asian Mayors Forum meeting shall be organized every two year in one of the Asian cities and accordingly Istanbul was selected as the host to the Second meeting of the Asian Mayors Forum on April 1-2 2011.

Opening Ceremony:
Two years after the first meeting of the Asian Mayors Forum In Tehran and in the wake of its successful and fruitful achievements the second meeting of the Asian Mayors Forum was organized in Istanbul, Turkey, on 1-2 April 2011 which was attended by mayors, representatives of city councils, urban management experts from different Asian countries and representatives of relevant international organizations and bodies. According to the agenda of the meeting “Impacts of the Global Financial Crisis on the Economies of Asian Cities” as the main subject, and “Common Challenges Facing Asian Cities”, “The Financial and Economic Crisis”, “Urban health”, “Sustainable Environment”, “Urban Transportation”, “The Urban Diplomacy, Relations and Cooperation”, “Local Governance” and “Citizens Participation” as the secondary subjects, were discussed in different specialized working groups. It is noticeable that the second meeting of the Asian Mayors Forum was attended by 51 Asian and European mayors, 128 senior experts from Asian municipalities, members of Asian city councils as well as representatives of 10 international bodies and organizations and all discussions took place in four English, Persian, Turkish and Arabic languages.

In the meeting Mr. Mohammad Khodadadi, the Secretary General of the Asian Mayors Forum, Dr. Mohammad Qalibaf, the distinguished Mayor of Tehran and President of the Forum and Dr. Kadir Topbas, the distinguished Mayor of Istanbul, welcoming all participants, made some remarks on the common challenges facing Asian cities and the city-to-city cooperation.

"Now that we are in 2011 it is about three years that the West and the free market economy have been grappling with one of the most devastating economic and financial crisis in the history. As the result of this crisis and other similar incidents in other countries major part of the development achievements made in the last recent decades with respect to privatization and regionalism in public and private areas which are of utmost importance for us, as mayors, with regard to the urban management patterns, were faded away and again the big powers reclaimed their illegitimate share and returned to the scene.

Presently no clear cut projection on the post crisis developments is visible. Due to different presumptions already made, different scenarios on the future processes and developments have been raised. But irrespective of all possible projections we shall admit that we can not ignore two important logical and professional beliefs: First, "Asia will be the major engine for the future global growth and development" and second "role of the local and urban managements and their decisive capacities for meeting the future requirements is remarkably increasing" which by itself can produce a more important kinetic power for the newly established Asian Mayors Forum as compared with the past."
In our today world we are witnessing rapid changes and developments and our future is interconnected to that extent that we can not imagine any future without taking the interests of all into our account. We shall experience the future together and with each other. If any thing happens in every corner of the world we, all, are responsible to deal with it, other wise it may adversely affect and involve other parts of the world as well like the earthquake and tsunami happened in Japan and spread of the radioactive materials. We shall admit that the world is turning into a global village; the village which is in dire need of a good management.

In our present world instead of countries these are the cities which are competing with each other therefore the role of urban management is of paramount importance.

The financial and economic crisis facing such big economies as the US and the Europe prepared the ground for shifting the power center from the West to Asia. We, as Middle-Eastern, Asian and Pacific countries, shall control and maintain this process. In the last year out of all the world flights one billion have taken place in the above mentioned regions. This is indicative of the fact that Asia is turning into an important economic power in the world. Thus we need to establish a data bank on the Asian municipalities and employ required technologies for further promotion of relationship among the Asian municipalities and we shall have internet conferences and exchange our views within virtual networks.
After the Opening Ceremony, the Plenary Meeting of the Asian Mayors Forum started its work and Mr. Mohammad Khodadai, Secretary General of the Permanent Secretariat, presented a report on the activities and works of the Permanent Secretariat during the two preceding years. Later on, Dr Hussein Abdel-Razzak Al Gezairy, Director of the WHO Regional Office for the Eastern Mediterranean, Mr. Bilal Hamad, Mayor of Beirut, Mr. Li Min Teri, Deputy Mayor of Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam and Mr. Ni Oo Poching, Advisor to Mayor of Peking, made some remarks on the common challenges facing Asia and their successful urban experiences.
Three main commissions of the meeting were established based on the three categories as follows:

1- Common challenges facing Asian cities, 2- Urban diplomacy and city to city cooperation, and 3- Local governments and citizen participation.

Each of the above mentioned commissions held their relevant workshops as follows:
Impact of the global financial and economic crisis on the Asian cities, Natural calamities and the risk management, urban health, urban diplomacy and cooperation between local governments towards establishment of peace, experimental and technological exchanges for promoting quality of services, development of successful applied experimental patterns, citizen participation for promotion of the service-rendering quality and citizen participation in the public transportation sector and management.
 

The second meeting of the Asian Mayors Forum ended its work by selecting Mr. Dr. Kadir Topbash, the distinguished Mayor of Istanbul, as the new President of the Asian Mayors Forum for a two year term and adoption of a number of documents. Based on the provisions of the Forum’s Constitution the Forum’s presidency was transferred from Mr. Qalibaf to Mr. Kadir Topbash, the mayor of the hosting city to the meeting.
On the final day in the Asian Mayors Forum Plenary Meeting the participants agreed on the following:
1- Adoption of the Final Declaration in 16 articles.
2- Election of Members of the Board of Directors from 21 Asian cities.
3- Election of the President of the executive Board.
4- Adoption of the Asian Mayors Forum charter.
5- Election of the Secretary General of the Asian Mayors Forum (Mr. Mohammad Khodadadi).
6- Election of 5 Members of the Financial Committee from Asian cities.
7- Handing over of presidency of the Asian Mayors Forum from the Mayor of Tehran to the Mayor of Istanbul.
1- Number of the participants in the meeting was eye-catching.
2- All arrangements for organization of the meeting by the hosting city, as confirmed by the participants, were excellent and quite satisfying.
3- The meeting could successfully execute all the programs and it reached its objectives and adopted the desired decisions as enshrined in the Agenda.
4- Very successful and fruitful mutual meetings were held between the Mayor of Tehran or Mayor of Istanbul on one side and other participants on the other side.
5- All news of the meeting was satisfactorily reflected in the Turkish and Iranian media as well as those of other countries.
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6- Most participating mayors expressed their gratitude to the Tehran Mayor for his financial support for the personnel of the Secretariat, provision of a building for the Secretariat, provision of communication possibilities and media facilities as well as meeting all travel costs of the Secretariat personnel visits to member states cities during the last two years.
7- New commitments were admitted and accepted by the Asian Mayors Forum as enshrined in its Final Declaration which by themselves requires organization of relevant working groups as well as continuous contacts.
8- Meetings and talks between Asian mayors prepared the required ground in favor of future cooperation among Asian cities.

9- The Secretariat shall decide on the membership fee of the member cities and announce the amount to them accordingly after meetings and talks with the Executive Board.

Istanbul Declaration Adopted in the Second Meeting
Of the General Assembly of the Asian Mayors Forum

We, the Mayors and Authorities of Asian cities convened in the Second Meeting of the General Assembly of the Asian Mayors Forum (AMF) on April 1st and 2nd of 2011, hosted by the municipality of Istanbul in collaboration with Union of Municipalities of Turkey and United Cities & Local Governments (UCLG, Middle East &West Asia Section);
Recalling the Final Declaration of the First Meeting of the Asian Mayors Forum in Tehran which was adopted unanimously on November 20th, 2008, and marked the establishment of the Forum with the aim of promoting and facilitating further cooperation and networking among Mayors and Municipalities throughout Asia;
Emphasizing the crucial role of municipalities in enhancing the quality of life; realization of sustainable economic growth; and promotion of good governance at local, national and regional levels;
Cognizant of the persistent common challenges defying effective urban management including rapid urbanization; urban inequality and poverty; vulnerable socio-cultural identity; poor conditions of health and safety; uneasy transportation and mobility; environmental degradation; natural disasters; inefficient energy consumption, infrastructure; and unstable financial resources;
Fostering further collaboration with regional and international organizations in developing future networking among Asian Cities to facilitate exchange of information and sharing of best practices relevant to sustainable urban development in Asia;
Encouraging Member Cities and Municipal Authorities throughout Asia to provide humanitarian assistance and support to 2011 earthquake and tsunami in Japan;

Extending profound appreciation to H.E. Dr. Mohamad Bager Ghalibaf, the Mayor of Tehran, for his exemplary leadership and determined efforts in promoting and supporting the objectives of AMF during his chairmanship.
Expressing gratitude to the Government of Turkey for gracious offer extended to the Second Meeting of the Asian Mayors Forum and to H.E. Dr. Kadir Topbaş, Metropolitan Mayor of Istanbul, for his generous hospitality accorded to all participants during the meeting.
Appreciating the constructive efforts made by the General Secretariat in preparing the draft Charter for the Forum;

Adopt the Charter of the Asian Mayors Forum as considered and negotiated by the General Assembly and call upon all Member Cities to fulfill their commitments with respect to its provisions;

Call Upon Member Cities and Municipal Authorities throughout Asia to promote policies and practices providing greater role for public participation in decision-making processes of urban management; planning and urban upgrading with a special emphasis on informal settlement;

Urge the Mayors and Authorities of all Member Cities to undertake leadership role in synergizing efforts of all development sectors in response to adverse effects of socio-economic determinants of health;

Decide to establish a working group under each Standing Commission of the AMF to consider ways and means for developing an effective network of city-to-city cooperation and identify common issues for the next meeting of the Forum;

Call Upon the Mayors and Authorities of all Member Cities to appoint a focal point to follow up and facilitate the implementations of the decisions taken by the Forum and its authorized organs;

Decide to start planning for an information portal on the Internet linking all Asian Cities with a view to promoting further communication among authorities and citizens of the Member Cities; 

Identify disaster risk management; city to city cooperation; urban health and equity; and urban transformation, as priority areas of cooperation in the near future.

1. Mayor of Istanbul, as the term president
2. Mayor of Tehran , as the founder of the AMF
3. Mayor of Samsun , Turkey
4. Mayor of Gaziantep , Turkey
5. Mayor of Aleppo , Syria
6. Mayor of Kabul , Afghanistan
7. Mayor of Gaza , Palestine
8. Mayor of Karachi ,Pakistan
9. Mayor of Baghdad , Iraq
10. Mayor of Doha ,Qatar
11. Mayor of Kuwait city , Kuwait
12. Mayor of Bishkek , Kyrgyzstan
13. Mayor of Kuala Lampur , Malaysia
14. Mayor of Kazan , tatarestan ,federation of Russia
15. Mayor of ho chi minh , Vietnam
16. Mayor of Surabaya , Indonesia
17. Mayor of Bussan , south Korea
18. Mayor of Beijing , china
19. Mayor of Bangkok , Thailand
20. Mayor of Shiraz , Iran
21. Mayor of Baalbek , Lebanon
1. Istanbul
2. Tehran
3. Ho chi minh
4. Gaza
5. Bishkek