Dear Champion Mayors, Excellencies, Friends:
Welcome to the 5th Meeting of the OECD Champion Mayors for Inclusive Growth Initiative.
I would like to thank the Mayor of Paris and the Chair of the Initiative, Anne Hidalgo, for joining us today. My thanks also to our supporting institutions: the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy, UCLG, United Way Worldwide, and ICLEI. These institutions are champions of local leadership and believers that cities hold the potential to lead us to a sustainable and inclusive future.
Today’s meeting is the capstone of the OECD’s Champion Mayors Week: “More Inclusion, Better Recovery”. Throughout the week, you – the 60 local leaders that form the Champion Mayors coalition – have discussed how to move your cities from COVID-19 response to recovery. In three panel discussions, we heard from twelve Champion Mayors about how they are focusing on making their cities more attractive, more accessible, and greener as part of their recovery.
When the OECD launched the Champion Mayors for Inclusive Growth Initiative five years ago, we were motivated by deeply diverging life outcomes between the rich and poor within countries. We were convinced that these challenges could not be tackled by governments alone. They needed the engagement and powerful leadership of mayors who witness firsthand these divergences in their own cities and are in the best position to take concrete action.
And over the last five years, Champion Mayors, you have delivered!
Today as a group, you will renew your engagement towards these principles and endorse a collective pledge to protect youth from continued suffering and the long term impacts of the COVID-19 crisis.
The COVID-19 pandemic has taught us all a lot about the strength of our local governments, their agility, innovation, and how essential they are. It has also taught us about our weaknesses, the vulnerability of our residents and the fragility of our economies and supply chains.
This group of outstansing leaders has the commitment, willingness, know-how, and track record to support an inclusive recovery, which is why we invited you to join the Initiative: to inspire, to be inspired and to champion the merits of inclusive growth.
With Champion Mayors at the helm of our recovery, we are in excellent position to build forward smarter, greener, and more inclusive.
Today, our meeting will be structured around two sessions: