Bringing the world to Bristol businesses at the Global Parliament of Mayors

Nina Skubala
Initiative Manager | Business West
1st November 2018

A couple of weeks ago, the Bristol and West of England Initiative were honoured to welcome the participants of the Global Parliament of Mayors Summit 2018 to a Harbour Regeneration Tour and a drinks reception with Initiative members and selected guests.

The Global Parliament of Mayors participants were the elected mayors of cities from around the world along with their advisory teams and officers. 

The Global Parliament of Mayors is a governance body of, by and for mayors from all continents. It builds on the experience, expertise and leadership of mayors in tackling local challenges that result from global problems. At the same time, it brings local knowledge to the table and thus participates actively in global strategy debates and underscores the need for practical, action-oriented solutions.

This annual summit brings together up to 100 global mayors and brought 50 international experts to Bristol, UK, for three days. Mayors from every continent and were joined by the OECD Champion Mayors network.

Global Parliament of Mayors were chaperoned to meet the Tower Belle alongside the Prince Street Bridge. Chaperones were student volunteers like Yudan Ge, a second year economics student at Bristol University who was assisting Balaba David, Mayor of Iganga, Uganda.

As they waited to board the vessel, some were interviewed by Robin Markwell, Political Reporter at the BBC for a news item to be shown later that evening on Points West.

Some thirty GPM participants then took an hour’s cruise on board the Tower Belle with Matthew Tanner, CEO of the SS Great Britain Trust providing on-board commentary. On its journey, which went up to Temple Meads and down to the Cumberland Basin, Matthew expertly pointed out points of interest and historical significance. He went on to explain how the Initiative acted as a catalyst in the regeneration of the harbour by bringing together public and private parties attract over £300m funding to create a new cultural and leisure quarter.

The Tower Belle docked next to the SS Great Britain where Brunel himself came to greet the passengers and take them through to the Virador Theatre alongside the spectacular ship. Here they were joined by Initiative members and our guests, Vice-Lord Luitenent Dr Timothy Chambers, High Sheriff Roger Opie and Lord Mayor Clio Lake.

Deputy Mayor, Cllr Asher Craig welcomed all of the guests before handing over to Matthew Tanner. In his welcome, he stressed the need for organisations to take an international outlook, just as its forefathers had done with the growth of the harbour.

It was then Richard Bonner, President of the Initiative and Chamber of Commerce who took to the lectern. He explained to the audience that the business community plays an important role in the city and are key stakeholders. Over its 30-year history, the Initiative has sought to work with a range of partners to create the best city to live and run a business. It has played a role in the reconstruction of The Matthew, the creation of the We The Curious development, master planning of the Harbourside and more recently Cumberland Basin. He encouraged guests to take a copy of the Initiatives vision for the city, Bristol 2050:High In Hope.

Guests were then free to network over drinks and nibbles and take a look at the ship. The braver in the group even went on to climb the rig.

Business West was proud to have been able to support the summit and provide opportunities for its members to connect with global ambassadors. International trade continues to be a large part of our offering to businesses with over 2,000 companies assisted with their plans to export – 700 of these generating £650 million of export sales.

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  • The West of England Initiative

    Provides an effective link between private and public sectors to ensure the interests of commerce are considered in key decision making.

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