Meet the Urban 7, the bridge from ‘global cities’ to world-governance policy circles

You’ve naturally heard of the Group of Seven Nations, or G7, that holds regular summits on “shaping the global economy,” “food and energy security,” “climate and health,” “advancing gender equality,” “foreign policy cooperation”, and similar grandiloquent goals. 

But how about the U7, or Urban 7? As far as this writer can ascertain, the U7 arrived on the scene rather quietly, under the proverbial radar. However, strictly speaking, the U7 is not acting conspiratorially, since it has a website publicly available and publishes reports and announces summits, among other means of publicity.

The chief negative factor here, as usual, is the mass media cartel’s practice of neglecting, or outright refusing, to cover the general global cities movement and the U7’s inclusion specifically, while also breaking the basic tenets of journalism by getting directly involved in global cities forums and conferences—acting as moderators at such events. Traditional reporting as an impartial party is out of the question. Just ask the UK-based Financial Times, which for about eight years has moderated and advocated global cities programs in Chicago, instead of simply reporting on them.

Why do the U7 and associated groups matter? Because key cities are emancipating themselves from their statutory roles to help form policy at the national and international levels, as partners with globalist-oriented nation states. This huddling, of course, excludes any conservative nation states that still operate largely based on tradition; such states, like Hungary, are ridiculed by the G7-U7 clique as illiberal nationalist-extremist heretics that won’t kiss the sacred but hollow ring of globalism.


Since 2021

The U7—formed with, at best, minimal media fanfare in 2021—went right to work, accelerating the elevation of what they themselves call “autonomous” cities to the global stage, thereby making them into highly active “global cities”. Such cities, in the generic sense, are defined as those cities that are major economic and cultural nodes in the world grid due to their size, location and other attributes.

The new development is that over the last decade or so, major cities started forming leagues and collaborating horizontally with one another, with a common goal of seeking to fulfill the 17 Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations. Major conduits for this process of localizing globalism are the Chicago Council on Global Affairs (CCGA) and the Global Parliament of Mayors (GPM).

Accordingly, the original founders and main promoters of the global cities governance concept have indicated that, at pivotal times, they are willing to be at “cross purposes” with nation states, or (to use a half-century-old phrase) even do an end-run around national authority altogether if necessary, whenever the issues at hand are “crucial” enough. Currently, “climate change” is the core issue driving the U7—a grouping that represents a significant leap forward for a global cities movement that, in its modern form, was most visibly and substantively born in 2015 in Chicago via the CCGA.

The CCGA has held its Forum on Global Cities on a steady basis ever since, though its name was changed around 2019 to the Pritzker Forum on Global Cities in recognition of generous donations from the Chicago-based Priztker family (of Hyatt Hotel fame), with ultra-liberal J.B. Pritzker currently serving as governor of Illinois. Notably, he revealed his globalist colors by attending the 2023 World Economic Forum.


Another level

So while the CCGA President Ivo Daalder, a former U.S. envoy to NATO, took the bold move of venturing to Chatham House in the UK in February 2018 to call for cities to take on powers normally reserved to nation states, including nothing less than foreign policy and diplomacy, the “U7 Group,” as it is named by participants, is taking things to an even higher operational level. Whereas the global cities movement initially was content with a more-or-less spectator status, seeking to simply provide input to national leaders regarding various issues covered at international summits, now, the movement—via U7—has actually sought, and largely secured, integration with the G7 summits specifically.

The U7 consists of a secretariat comprised of the GPM and ICLEI-Local Governments for Sustainability, augmented on a rolling basis by the city association of the nation that is chairing the G7 in a given year. Mayors such as Marvin Rees of Bristol, UK, have taken part in the Priztker forums and are involved in current GPM meetings and programs. Since Japan holds the G7 presidency for 2023, Japan’s Designated City Mayors’ Association (JDCMA) has assumed the associated city role in the U7 Group. (A designated city in Japan is one statutorily empowered to govern its municipal territory directly under the national government rather than as part of a prefecture.) To ensure that all G7 countries and the participating local governments therein are fully represented, eight key national associations of cities, and network partners, are involved.

Those associations, besides the JDCMA, include the U.S. Conference of Mayors, Core Cities UK, the EU’s Eurocities, and the Federation of Canadian Municipalities, along with German, French and Italian city associations. The currently listed network partner is United Cities and Local Governments. In fact, Core Cities UK was instrumental in creating the Urban 7, as this writer pointed on the UK Column News broadcast of 24 April. A press release on, dated 20 April 2023, stated:

Since its inception in 2021, the U7 has become an important player in the G7 process, especially with its unprecedented recognition [. . .[ by the G7 Heads of State in 2022. Throughout 2023 [so far], the U7 has been working closely with the Japanese Ministry of the Environment to ensure that the voices of cities are included in G7 debates. At the 2023 U7 Mayors Summit held in Tokyo (Japan) on March 2, the U7 Mayors’ Declaration 2023 was presented [. . .]

At that 2 March 2023 Mayors’ Summit, the following municipal officials from Europe, India and North America, along with thirteen such officials from Japan, took their cozy seats at the global table:

  • Peter Kurz, Mayor of Mannheim, Germany, chairman of the Global Parliament of Mayors;
  • Berry Vrbanović, Mayor of Kitchener, Canada, UCLG co-president;
  • Jeni Arndt, Mayor of Fort Collins, Colorado;
  • Joanna Rolland, Mayor of Nantes, France, President of France Urbaine;
  • Dario Nardella, Mayor of Florence, Italy, President of Eurocities;
  • Frank Cownie, Mayor of Des Moines, Iowa and Conference of Mayors Trustee Board Member;
  • Markus Lewe, Mayor of Münster, Germany, President of DST;
  • Marvin Rees, Mayor of Bristol, Chair of UK Core Cities;
  • Minna Arve, Mayor of Turku, Finland and ICLEI First Vice President;
  • Taneen Rudyk, Councillor of Vegreville, Alberta, Canada, Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) President;
  • Praveen Chaudhary, Deputy Municipal Commissioner, City of Ahmedabad, India.

As for that Mayors’ Declaration, a revealing excerpt states:

[I]n an increasingly urbanizing world, cities have the potential to implement innovative urban development approaches and create tangible improvements and sustainable living environments for their inhabitants. However, in order to do so, they require enabling framework conditions. Therefore, we, Mayors and leaders of the Urban7 (U7) Group, gathered through the networks of local governments of G7 nations and the European Union, applaud the G7’s unprecedented recognition of the Urban7, cities, sustainable urban development and multilevel governance under Germany’s G7 Presidency in 2022 [emphasis added]. We welcome the specific references in the 2022 G7 Leaders’ Communiqué, as well as the ministers' communiqués and statements on Urban Development, Climate and Environment, Development Cooperation and Foreign Affairs. We look forward to elevating these achievements during the 2023 Japanese G7 Presidency [. . .]

Thus, the global cities movement that this writer has followed since 2016 is being hardwired into internationalist machinations, driving the movement (as indicated earlier in this article) to localize globalism—a striving sometimes called “glocalism”—and to reinforce and expand the world government infrastructure from the bottom up; or, you might say, from the inside out.

Cities, with Mr. Daalder having pointed the way in early 2018, are literally seeking foreign policy powers. Several of those involved, including Daalder and global cities speaker and Igarape Institute scholar Robert Muggah—who consults for the GPM and who addressed the 2019 Pritzker forum in Chicago—have openly acknowledged that they consider the nation state itself to be a nearly 500-year-old relic that needs to be notched down or marginalized, if not dissolved.

Yet it never seems to dawn on the municipal participants, their fellow travelers in key think tanks and sold-out media meisters that those elected and appointed officials who operate under city charters (and state and national constitutions) have zero authority—having been elected by local voters to perform local services circumscribed by law—to leave their city confines altogether and congregate like a makeshift world mayors’ parliament to assist in formulating international policies. 


Acting Beyond Authority

The authority of urban governments ends at the “city limits” signs along the roadways. Creatures of state law, they are to pave the streets, tidy the parks, empty the trash bins, fund and equip police and fire departments, control stray animals, maintain and improve water and sewage systems, help the needy find housing, and manage the local budget, among other strictly municipal duties.

Those in cities, states or provinces on the one hand and those in national governments can, and often should, communicate, of course, and make their views and priorities known to each other. But those governing each level still need to stay in their lane and not exceed the authority delegated to them at each level by the people themselves, from whom all authority originates.

Article I, Section 10 of the U.S. Constitution, for instance, says (in part):

No state shall enter into any treaty, alliance or confederation [. . .]
No state shall, without the consent of Congress, enter into any agreement or compact with another [U.S.] state, or with a foreign power.

In the U.S., cities are strictly creatures of the states they inhabit—not, as is pretended, islands of almost total independence with the power to afford “sanctuary” status to illegal immigrants. American cities operate under city charters that certainly are not a source of authority to “go global,” hop on jet planes and get directly involved in foreign relations, diplomacy, climate-change world policies and the like. So, when that constitutional section says “No state shall,” by obvious extension, it also means, “No sub-unit of a state (village, city, county) shall.” There is no delegable sovereignty available for the purpose.

But as usual, the flippant attitude of political engineers toward any quaint notions of lawful statesmanship is “constitution, schmonstitution.” Why let principles, or fidelity to them, get in the way when it’s much more appealing to exceed your delegated authority and break bread with the big boys?

A U7 posting announced:

On 15–16 April [2023,] the G7 Ministers’ Meeting on Climate, Energy and Environment in Sapporo (Japan) concluded with the announcement of the first-ever G7 Roundtable on Subnational Climate Actions in collaboration with Urban7 (U7)—the voice of local governments at the G7 process.

According to that same posting, in their final Communiqué, the G7 Ministers address:

[t]he vital role of subnational actors in realizing the transformation toward net-zero, climate-resilient, circular, and nature positive economies, furthering socioeconomic opportunities based on local capacity, needs and individual environmental conditions.

The Ministers furthermore commit to:

catalyze support for actions by subnational actors, encourage sharing best practices and promote city-to-city cooperation.


Final caution

These busybodies, at the time of this writing, had already gathered in Denver, Colorado for the Cities Summit of the Americas, during the last week of April—regrettably too soon for UK Column to attend in person. But access to archived video footage will be sought for this UK Column writer’s regular Monday reports on UK Column News.

An online notation on the Summit states:

The Cities Summit of the Americas will take place [. . .] with a focus on promoting regional cooperation and uniting subnational leaders from government, civil society, business, academia, youth, culture and the arts, and indigenous and underrepresented groups.

Interestingly, the city of Denver, the state of Colorado and the U.S. State Department have all lent their blessings to this governance scheme as sponsors of the event, along with—among others—Amazon, AT&T, BP, the Government of Canada, United Airlines, Southwest Airlines, Walmart, the Gates Family Foundation, Western Union, Colorado State University, the University of Colorado, and two media partners: CBS Colorado and Televisa Univisión.

When it comes to collusive machinations toward restructuring governing systems without a morsel of consent from the people at-large, these corporations, media outlets and government bodies, under cover of near-zero inquisitive media coverage, appear to be well on their way to achieving their goals; hence, the important mission of UK Column to call badly needed, ever-broadening attention to the overall global cities movement.


For a thorough overview of the global cities movement and its linkage to “smart cities,” see Mark Anderson’s Alternative View conference remarks, where the presentations of three additional speakers also are posted from that virtual event on 23 April 2023.