The 2016 Global Harbor Cities Forum was held in Kaohsiung City on September 6th-8th and attracted more than 600 participants from about 50 cities across the globe. The Forum provided a platform for harbor cities to address both the challenges and opportunities they face. The mayors and leading representatives of harbor cities had previously identified these challenges and opportunities as the most critical. They urgently needed to be discussed and tackled together.

Along with the 2016 Global Harbor Cities Forum, the Mayors’ Roundtable (The Roundtable) was also convened. The Roundtable was hosted by Mayor Chu Chen and was held on September 7th in Kaohsiung. Director-General James Huang of Taiwan’s New Southbound Policy Office moderated the Roundtable. It was a by-invitation event for mayors and the leaders of harbor cities to exchange knowledge and experiences concerning urban governance and harbor development, as well as to deepen collaboration among the city governments and port authorities of the Global Harbor Cities Forum Network.

2016 Global Harbor Cities Forum Statement (The Statement) lists the concrete achievements of the Mayors’ Roundtable. The Statement was officially announced and signed by the participating mayors and city leaders of harbor cities on the morning of September 8, 2016. The Statement will serve as reference for the future development of harbor cities. The specific Statement principles agreed by participants for the future are as follows:

Vibrant Harbor Cities

We believe that successful city and port development can become engines of urban/regional/national economic growth. This requires both city governments and port authorities to find the right mix of diversified economic functions that render harbor cities economically vibrant and sustainable. Being part of the ever-changing global economy, it is imperative for harbor cities to identify new industrial opportunities. Examples are the circular economy and renewable energy. These processes can build on existing assets and infrastructure.   

Green and Smart Harbor Cities

We seek to ensure that our harbor cities remain safe, livable and sustainable places for all inhabitants and visitors. We also acknowledge that mitigating negative urban and port impacts is essential for the long-term advancement of harbor cities. We agree that actors involved in the development of harbor cities must develop pro-active strategies to address the increasing threats to human health, biodiversity and economic wellbeing that are associated with growth. We believe that the concept of smart harbor city, which combines smart technologies in an urban and environmental context, provides great potential for creating a livable harbor city that flourishes economically.

Positive Synergy between Ports and Cities

We recognize the policy dilemmas between ports and cities, since port authorities and city governments do not necessarily share the same interests, goals and perception of challenges, or policies. We encourage ports and cities to find the positive synergy between diverging perspectives and priorities. For example, it is beneficial to attract high value added port-related employment and to develop mixed urban waterfronts with room for port functions.

Integrated planning framework for harbor cities

We acknowledge the need for an integrated planning framework to resolve the mismatch between ports and cities. The harbor city is a complex territorial, social and industrial organization, whose development trajectory is determined by a number of stakeholders. Each of the stakeholders has a different set of interests and motivations. We believe that joint planning efforts can help stakeholders to avoid unnecessary tensions, facilitate collaborations based on the recognition of their interdependence, identify issues to be dealt with collectively, and ensure that both ports and cities are aligned with the direction of the positive future developments of harbor cities.    

Dialogue between Harbor Cities

We shall continue to work together through dialogue with other harbor cities because we face many important and common challenges. The challenges include the impacts of mega-ships, energy prices and the transition to alternative fuels, environmental challenges, and the ever-changing economic situation. We call on harbor cities across the globe to work together to address common challenges, to support each other, and to adopt the good practices of our fellow harbor cities.

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