Forum 15’s Goals & Missions
Forum 15 acts to reorganize the relations between national and local governments in Israel, aiming to empower major cities, and provide them with greater managerial autonomy. To further this goal, Forum 15 encourages urban initiatives and cooperation between municipalities, reinforcing urban services.
We live in an urban world. Over 50% of the world’s population lives in cities and even more depend on them for services. In recent decades, metropolitan centers have become the primary arena for economic, social and cultural development, creating opportunities and bringing about social change. These developments have made municipalities central players in shaping the reality in which we live.
Forum 15’s goal is to lay the groundwork to enable Israel’s major cities to become high-quality, advanced cities: possessing quality public spaces; lively, vibrant urban streets; excellent social and community services; an efficient, diverse, convenient and rapid transit system; a high standard of education; housing possibilities; leisure and entertainment facilities; diverse populations, communities and cultures; innovation and renewal capabilities; a healthful, high-quality environment; and more.
The Forum’s main fields of activity are:
Legislation and regulation - a primary field of activity for Forum 15 is the reorganization of the relations between national and local governments in Israel, to empower major cities, and provide them with greater managerial autonomy. To further this goal, the forum is promoting a Self-Government Cities Act, aimed at granting greater authority to cities which have proven capable of autonomous management, as well as a new, modern Municipalities Act to replace the archaic legal framework which constrains municipalities today. Such a law is vital to providing municipalities with the legal and economic tools needed in order to run a modern city. Forum 15 also advocates for greater powers for cities in fields such as planning and construction, law enforcement, education, transport and the environment; represents major cities to the government and Knesset; and acts to prevent legislation and regulation detrimental to the independence of local government.
Construction and planning - Forum 15 is involved in the development of national outline plans affecting the urban sector in Israel, and in following up on their implementation. Forum 15 was involved in preparing the strategic plan for Israel’s spatial organization in coming decades (National Master Plan 35). Concurrently, Forum 15 is active in preventing suburban sprawl, removing impediments to urban renewal, promoting legislation enabling affordable housing, and more.
Environmental and climate protection - In 2008, Forum 15 inaugurated "The Climate Convention", a local version of ICLEI's international convention for climate protection. The convention commits cities to preparing municipal plans for the reduction of air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions within their boundaries. Ratification of the convention is a central tool for promoting a strategy of urban sustainability, with regard to the following fields of activity, among others: transport and fuels, waste and recycling, energy efficiency, urban space use, education and outreach. Forum 15 continuously promotes the process, giving municipalities the support necessary for its implementation.
Green construction - A central theme promoted by Forum 15 within the framework of the Climate Convention. Green construction is an expression of urban resilience, combining elements of emissions reduction, adaptation, quality of life and green growth. Its principles apply not only to single buildings but also to planning policy at the street, neighborhood and city levels. The Forum is promoting a policy for uniform adoption of the principles of green construction. As a result, in June 2013 the Mayors’ Quorum of Forum 15 decided to make the Israeli Standard for Green Construction binding in member cities.
Transportation - A healthy metropolis utilizes diverse means of transportation, reducing private vehicle use and encouraging the use of alternative forms of transport. Smart transport planning at a regional level can improve health and quality of life, reduce emissions, minimize social inequality and increase face-to-face interaction, contributing to the city’s liveliness. Forum 15 is active in promoting urban planning policy and embedding transport solutions with a view to this goal, as well as in promoting the establishment of metropolitan transport authorities (as anchored in a government resolution in 2011).
Education - Forum 15 is at the forefront of the struggle to defend the quality of public education in Israel. The forum has struggled against budget cuts in education and succeeded in preventing those cuts. Forum 15 is also a partner in the effort to promote equal access to education. Moreover, the Forum has led the public campaign against financing unofficial educational institutions.
E-government - In today’s world there is greater demand for accessible, up-to-date information. At the municipal level, improved access to information will enable residents to know about, participate, intervene and affect decision-making processes. Forum 15 is active in developing a uniform model for municipalities to promote transparency and encourage public participatory processes.
Innovation - “The smart city” - cities are living laboratories and an optimal arena for the testing of innovative and groundbreaking ideas, concepts and technologies, which may have a dramatic effect on city life. Forum 15 actively seeks to learn about developments in the world’s leading cities and examines the possibility of adapting these to Israeli cities. The Forum has promoted advanced technology projects such as free public wi-fi, cellular parking, mechanized law enforcement, online learning systems, and more.
Representation of major cities in Israeli courts, regarding crucial issues and promoting public struggles in favor of the cities and their residents.