21/11/2016 - Mayors and local leaders from around the world launched today a plan of action to help tackle inequality, boost job creation and harness economic development.
At a meeting in Paris of the OECD Champion Mayors for Inclusive Growth Initiative, participants reinforced the message that local leaders must play a crucial role in making inclusive growth a reality. Recent work carried out by the OECD with the support of the Ford Foundation, Making Cities Work for All, shows that in 9 out of 10 countries studied, cities had higher levels of household income inequality than their respective national average.
OECD Secretary-General Angel Gurría said: “High levels of inequality strain the very fabric of our societies. It is more urgent than ever to take action – and cities and their leaders must be at the centre of this fight.” He was joined at the meeting by Mayor Anne Hidalgo of Paris; Darren Walker, President of the Ford Foundation, a key partner for the OECD’s work on inclusive growth; Mayor Khalifa Sall of Dakar and mayors from around the world to launch the Paris Action Plan for Inclusive Growth in Cities.
The launch of the Paris Action Plan was supported by the OECD’s All on Board for Inclusive Growth initiative which was set up in the wake of the crisis to tackle rising inequalities. The work of the initiative to put mayors at the heart of Inclusive Growth has been supported by a group of ambassadors, led by United States Ambassador to the OECD, Daniel Yohannes.
The 50 mayors participating in the initiative committed to work together across four pillars identified in the Action Plan – education; labour markets; housing and urban environments; and infrastructure and public services – to advance a more comprehensive and inclusive growth agenda.
A new OECD report presented at the meeting shows that in an increasingly globalised labour market, the competition for highly skilled workers and for enterprises creating quality jobs has intensified, both within countries and on a global scale.
Job Creation and Local Economic Development 2016 says the gap between leading and trailing areas has widened, imposing a major constraint on achieving inclusive national growth.
While most OECD countries have enjoyed an increase in educational attainment over the past 15 years, not all local areas have progressed equally. Places that were already leading in terms of education levels have pulled even further ahead. Similar trends have been observed for the distribution of high-skilled jobs in countries such as Canada, Finland, France, Italy, Japan, Latvia, Norway, the Slovak Republic, Slovenia, and the United Kingdom.
Accompanying the action plan, this report sets out what both national and local leaders can do to boost job creation, economic development, and inclusion.
Some cities, even if they typically outperform other areas in their country, may be losing ground to their peers in international comparisons, the report says. Cities from northern and western Europe, including Stockholm, Paris, London and Brussels, perform strongly in terms of both the supply of skills, and their demand by employers. However, their counterparts in Southern Europe, such as Porto, Rome, Naples, Lisbon, as well as Prague and Warsaw, have comparatively poorer outcomes.
The report provides practical local and national policy advice. It looks at the design and implementation of skills, employment and entrepreneurship policies to ensure that local economies are not trapped in a vicious cycle of poor quality, low productivity jobs. It also provides new local data for 36 OECD and key partner countries related to employment creation, employment rates and skills supply and demand to provide a more nuanced picture of labour market performance across local areas within countries.
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