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Johannesburg Mayoy Parks tau speaks at the Metropolis conference in Sandton last year.

The City of Johannesburg Executive Mayor, Cllr Parks Tau, has been elected the Co-President of the METROPOLIS – a global network of 138 metropolitan cities that share innovative ideas for urban sustainability.

The election announcement was made at the five-day 11th World Congress of METROPOLIS 2014 currently underway in Hyderabad, India, since Monday, October 6. The Mayor’s new role within the METROPOLIS is to lead the portfolio responsible for Supporting Access to Basic Services and Social Inclusion.

Speaking from Hyderabad shortly after his election, he said: “This forms part of the METROPOLIS policy priorities and METROPOLIS Action Plan for the 2015/17 period, which is aimed at addressing challenges facing metropolitan development.”
“Other key areas of focus include, for example, urban governance and innovation,” said the Mayor.

The Mayor’s portfolio further includes addressing issues related to, among others, urban equity, civic engagement and participation, public health, as well as migration, social housing and economic development. His election comes after the METROPOLIS changed its statutes to make provision for the new Co-President portfolios. The new METROPOLIS Board structure will now comprise the Metropolis President, supported by six Co-Presidents from Johannesburg, Guangzhou, Sao Paulo State, Barcelona, Berlin and Montreal. 

The role of the new Co-Presidents will be to support the METROPOLIS President Jean-Paul Huchon in his official duties that include mainstreaming the activities of the network in global forums, such as Habitat III, in a bid to increase its membership and lobby for metropolitan solidarity. 

However, the Co-Presidents will not be representing their continents, but rather the METROPOLIS as political leaders in relevant forums. They will then be supported by, several vice-presidents and ordinary board members. The role of regional or continental representatives will thus be fulfilled by Vice-Presidents of the METROPOLIS. This new structure sees the METROPOLIS board comprise of a total of 24 members.