Public governance

Summary and conclusion of the conference by Mr. Gurría


OECD International Conference: What Policies for Globalising Cities? Rethinking the Urban Policy Agenda
Summary and conclusion by Angel Gurria, OECD Secretary-General
Madrid, 30 March 2007

Ministers, Mayors, and Experts on Cities.

At the start of this Conference, I invited you to debate on a new urban policy agenda, one better adapted to a globalised environment. 

This was no small task. Over the past two days, we have had stimulating discussions which I believe have allowed us to make important progress in identifying urban policy priorities.

We have heard about many changes in the urban landscape in recent years. We listened with great interest to ideas from around the globe on how to make cities more competitive and ensure that they generate growth for our societies, whether we live in the advanced economies of the West or the emerging economies of the developing world.

In our cities, citizens, industries and institutions must respond to the challenges of technological change and globalisation. In our cities, as elsewhere, we must deal with the social implications of change. We also heard that urban areas could play a central role in successfully addressing global environmental challenges such as climate change.

If we are able to create innovative, dynamic and sustainable cities, we will be a big step closer to having successful and prosperous societies.

We have recognised the need to redefine this agenda so that cities can adapt and thrive in a globalised world, rather than simply survive. What I heard over the past two days is very promising. It indicates a willingness to take a broad and genuinely integrated, partnership-based approach to urban policy. Only with such an approach can we achieve a much-needed “renaissance” in the urban policy agenda.

A key message emerging from our meeting is that there must be closer consultation – and closer cooperation - between national, regional and municipal governments and other actors, in designing and implementing policies that foster urban development. National governments have a key role to play in the success of cities, for the development of dynamic cities depends as much on national framework conditions as on an effective urban policy agenda.

Strengthening the partnership between national authorities and mayors is a key condition to achieving this common goal. This is perhaps one of the most important accomplishments of this conference. Mayor Ruiz Gallardón, many thanks for giving us this opportunity by hosting this successful conference.

Your proposal to create a joint Roundtable for Urban Strategy involving mayors, ministers and key players is very useful and concrete. As the hub of globalisation, the OECD would be pleased to take on this task and work in such distinguished company to improve the governance of cities. What will emerge from this “meeting of the minds” is a clear package of good practice policies for urban development, drawing on experiences from cities around the world, and on the insights provided by new tools to measure the competitiveness of our cities. I am convinced that together, we will elaborate a new and innovative urban agenda and make it happen. 

Let’s already plan to meet again next year.

By building strong, dynamic and equitable cities, we can lay the foundations for a more prosperous world.  Thank you.



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