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Montreal, Chicago and Milwaukee mayors pledge 'blue-green economy corridor'

U.S Ambassador to Canada David Cohen, left to right, Montreal Mayor Valerie Plante, Chicago Mayor Brandon Johnson and Milwaukee Mayor Cavalier Johnson arrive for a plenary session at the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Cities Initiative annual conference Wednesday, May 15, 2024 in Montreal. (Ryan Remior, The Canadian Press) U.S Ambassador to Canada David Cohen, left to right, Montreal Mayor Valerie Plante, Chicago Mayor Brandon Johnson and Milwaukee Mayor Cavalier Johnson arrive for a plenary session at the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Cities Initiative annual conference Wednesday, May 15, 2024 in Montreal. (Ryan Remior, The Canadian Press)
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Montreal Mayor Valérie Plante, Chicago Mayor Brandon Johnson and Milwaukee Mayor Cavalier Johnson will sign a declaration on Wednesday afternoon, backed by more than 260 mayors, aimed at transforming the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence basin into a "blue-green economic corridor of the 21st century."

The mayors of the three major cities are taking advantage of the annual convention of the Alliance of Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Cities, taking place in Montreal, to make the announcement.

The declaration they will sign represents a commitment to "attract blue and green industries" to communities in the basin, "build clean and accessible waterfronts for communities", "establish clean and renewable energy sources" and "develop sustainable trade, mobility and tourism, and their integration by waterway".

According to the alliance of U.S. and Canadian cities, the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence Basin is the world's largest freshwater ecosystem, providing drinking water for over 40 million people. Communities in the basin generate "$6,000 billion in economic output annually".

"In order to maintain our status as a global economic powerhouse and protect our abundant freshwater resources in the face of climate change, we need a bold new vision and committed multinational leadership to foster transformative, sustainable and inclusive economic development that benefits current and future generations," reads the declaration to be signed by the mayors on Wednesday afternoon.

Johnson's visit to Montreal is his first official outing outside the United States since his election a year ago.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published in French on May 15, 2024.

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