Declaration: BRICS Local Friendship Cities, Local Government and Urbanisation Forum 2018



29 JUNE 2018




We, the Ministers, Mayors and other representatives of the BRICS cities, in the Federative Republic of Brazil, the Russian Federation, the Republic of India, the People’s Republic of China and the Republic of South Africa, met from 28-29 June, 2018, in Buffalo City, Eastern Cape Province, South Africa, having met to debate the challenges and opportunities of rapid urbanisation: 

  1. Resolve to coordinate our efforts for the dissemination of knowledge and capacitation for sustainable urbanisation processes, to learn from best practices and access available technologies, to better manage and plan for the rapid rate of urbanisation in the BRICS partner countries, and to better understand the issues identified as major urban challenges by the member countries, and affirm our continuing commitment to this cycle of continuous knowledge exchange and learning between our member states.  
  2. Acknowledge and support the importance of intra-regional collaboration for localised development action to uphold our global commitments to sustainable development and inclusive prosperity.
  3. Reaffirm our joint commitment to effectively implementing in our localised contexts, the New Urban Agenda, the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, Agenda 2063 – The Africa We Want, and the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2030.
  4. Declare our full support for the shared vison, and principles and commitments declared in the New Urban Agenda, which provide for the universal commitment to leave no one behind, thereby addressing the specific needs of vulnerable or marginalised population groups, in moving towards the accessible and inclusive city.   
  5. Endorse the key role of the BRICS member states in ‘building sustainable and inclusive cities through innovation and partnership’ which is the theme of the 2018 Forum, and commit to fostering greater local government cooperation, recognising both the significant role of government as well as the private sector, and civil society, the ‘all of government, all of society’ approach to implementing sustainable urbanisation.
  6. Appreciate the dialogues that emerged from the previous BRICS Friendship Cities and Urbanisation Forums held in Sanya (China 2011), Mumbai (India 2012), eThekwini (South Africa 2013), and New Delhi (India 2016) and commit to continuing partnership and dialogue, mutual support and cooperation that emerged from these Forums.
  7. Celebrate that the BRICS grouping celebrates its 10th Anniversary in 2018 and anticipate positive outcomes from the upcoming summit in Johannesburg, South Africa, under the theme ‘BRICS in Africa: Collaboration for Inclusive Growth and Shared Prosperity in the 4th Industrial Revolution.’
  8. Commit to sharing the recommendations and outcomes of this Forum with our partners domestically and globally, in order to build a shared understanding of the impact of the urban century across borders, and to look for ways in which our respective country experiences and expertise can be harnessed towards more collective interpretation, action and investment in order to reap the ‘urban dividend’.
  9. Acknowledge the importance of the 4th Industrial Revolution for our economic and industrial policies, and commit to sharing our understanding of the opportunities and impact of this 4th Industrial Revolution between our member states recognising that harnessing modern technologies can advance our objectives for smart and well-governed cities.
  10. Recognise that sustainable financing of urbanisation requires more integrated financing frameworks, innovation for financial modelling, enhanced financial management capacities, encouragement of public and private investments, and access to additional sources of finance to secure the financial means for implementation of sustainable urban development.
  11. Reiterate the imperative of inclusive growth to overcome poverty, inequality and unemployment in our societies, noting that inequalities in income influence inequalities in other dimensions of well-being, including lifestyle, access to resources, a shared voice in society, personal security and safety, and access to justice.
  12. Accept the importance of informality as a generalised mode of metropolitan urbanisation, and also accept that urban informality, in some regions, is an ‘unplannable’ exception to the order of formal urbanization, which should be encouraged in the interests of livelihood options for the urban poor.
  13. Endeavour to promote youth employment, gender equity and skills development across our communities and progressively institutionalise inclusive and equitable quality education and the promotion of lifelong learning opportunities for all, (SDG Goal 4), and to work towards achieving SDG Goal 5, ‘Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls,’ in order to reap the benefits of the urban dividend and reduce discrimination and marginalisation of some categories of women, the disabled  and the youth from the mainstream of the economy and society.
  14. Welcome the dialogue on integrated human settlements, planning and infrastructure development as a foundation for spatial equity, social cohesion and the dignity of all people through access to basic services by the urban poor; noting that globally, 844 million people lack basic water services, and almost 1 billion people currently live without electricity, necessitating accelerated integrated water resource management, and the transformation of the world’s energy systems through advances in technology and renewable energy sources.
  15. Support the commitments of the New Urban Agenda for environmentally sustainable and resilient urban development, and welcome the advances made by Disaster Risk Reduction strategies and programmes in mainstreaming these aspects of sustainable urbanisation into development plans, legislation and policies; we further commit to maintaining the use of data, monitoring and planning frameworks to strengthen climate change mitigation and adaptation techniques within our member states, and support the Sendai Framework Agreement proposal for gender, age, disability and cultural perspectives to be adopted into disaster management policies, plans and practices.
  16. Further commit to building urban resilience in our cities and towns through the development of quality, resource efficient infrastructure, environmentally informed spatial planning, and ensuring the protection of risk-prone areas of formal and informal settlements, and the progressive rehabilitation of unsafe areas.   
  17. Encourage the implementation of long-term regional and spatial planning that fosters synergies and partnerships between metropolitan, peri-urban and rural areas to promote equitable growth and targeted investments along the rural-urban continuum.    
  18. Note, overall, that our country situations differ, and that our policy options for inclusivity and well-managed urbanisation are tailored to our own contexts, and are committed however to inter-regional and multi-stakeholder engagements locally, nationally, and internationally, to promote global consistency in our shared and collaborative approaches to building the sustainable and inclusive cities that will bring shared prosperity for the planet.   
  19. Pledge to support national and international research institutes, think-tanks and learning networks to create open and shared platforms to build the knowledge economy for urban development, including innovative ideas for the smart city.    
  20. Encourage collaboration, agreements, linkages and exchanges by all levels of government of BRICS countries, and between member states, to ensure the active implementation of this Declaration.
  21. Convene a BRICS Cities Council of Mayors to further consolidate the collaborative efforts in order to implement the resolutions contained in this Declaration.


APPROVED AND ADOPTED at Buffalo City, Eastern Cape Province

29 June 2018