“The BRICS countries and their cities are growing, and Kazan is an example”

The forum of sister cities of the BRICS finished in Kazan

The forum of sister cities and municipalities of the BRICS countries has finished in Kazan. At the plenary session, the participants adopted the final declaration. It is no coincidence that the capital of Tatarstan was chosen as the host for more than a hundred foreign mayors and public figures: Kazan has 56 sister cities and its own rich experience of interethnic interaction. However, this time the main focus of the topics discussed shifted towards the COVID-19 pandemic. Read more about what concerns municipal authorities in different countries of the world in the material of Realnoe Vremya.

95% of Covid-19 cases live in cities

For two days, the forum of sister cities of the BRICS countries was held in Kazan in an online format. The representatives of municipalities, businesses, social activists, and scientists discussed topical issues of development of their cities in different sections. During the final plenary session, representatives of BRICS municipalities were greeted by Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov via videoconference. According to him, the forum has established itself as a useful platform for communication on municipal issues, and the rich centuries-old traditions of Kazan are combined with its modern dynamic development. This meeting will add to the collection of BRICS events in 2020 and help develop the five countries' contacts, which in turn will create “reliable ties among the states”.

The address of the president of Tatarstan was read to the audience. Rustam Minnikhanov noted that the republic seeks to strengthen good-neighbourly relations with other states, actively promotes the expansion of economic, cultural, youth policy and sports ties with the BRICS countries, for the benefit of regions and cities.

“Cities are currently facing challenges in setting new goals to achieve a better quality of life. The main task is to provide a high quality of life, this can be achieved through economic development, creating smart cities. But thousands of cities have been affected by the coronavirus pandemic. More than 95% of the total number of cases has been recorded in cities," said Rustam Nigmatullin, the first vice prime minister of Tatarstan.

“It is very symbolic that the forum is being held almost on the eve of the November BRICS summit. I am sure that the results will be summed up and new guidelines will be outlined, including in the area of interaction between the sister cities. The BRICS countries and their cities are growing, and Kazan is an example. I read in the news that Kazan is called the most comfortable city in Russia — people will not write so easily in the networks, a lot is made of what is not yet available in other cities of Russia," added rector of the Diplomatic Academy of the Russian Foreign Ministry Alexander Yakovenko.

The speaker stressed that in the near future, “smart” cities should develop in accordance with nature and green economy.

Cities struggle with social inequality

Sergey Cheremin, the minister of the Moscow government and head of the Department of Foreign Economic and International Relations, spoke about the experience of Moscow. He said that 90% of major foreign investors are ready to expand their presence in Moscow.

The president of the National Association of Cities of Brazil, Glademir Aroldi, said in a video message: we need to make sure that cities can use public services more effectively, and we need to build policies in such a way that social inequality between people does not grow.

The mayor of Mumbai, Kishori Pednekar, shared how the city organised the work with the homeless, migrants, provision of clean water. He also stated that the problem of education in India is acute. Access to social and economic growth is essential.

Our South African colleagues spoke about the need to create jobs and raise incomes. The representatives of Chinese cities spoke about centralised solutions in their country during the pandemic, about the fact that enterprises were launched in stages already in January, and about strict compliance with prevention measures.

At the end of the meeting, the participants adopted the final declaration of the forum of sister cities and municipalities of the BRICS countries. The document will be published on the official website of the Russian BRICS presidency.

By Yekaterina Ablaeva

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