Public governance

Global mayors join forces to address inequalities and foster inclusive growth in cities worldwide


OECD and Ford Foundation initiative brings together Mayors championing inclusive growth


New York, NY, March 29, 2016 — Mayors from cities across the United States, Asia, Europe, Africa and Latin America gathered in New York to launch a global campaign to address rising inequalities and foster inclusive growth in their cities, in their countries and worldwide.


The Inclusive Growth in Cities Campaign is a joint initiative of Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) and the Ford Foundation, with the support of the Group of Friends of Inclusive Growth led by the US Ambassador to the OECD.


The Campaign calls on cities to put economic growth on a more equitable and sustainable footing, ensuring a better future for all. OECD research shows that inequality is at its highest levels in three decades. In 2012, the top 10% of earners in OECD countries made almost ten times the income of the bottom 10%, up from 7 times 30 years ago. In developing and emerging market economies, income gaps between rich and poor are even more stark: in Brazil the ratio between the richest 10% and the poorest 10% stands at approximately 50 to 1, and over 100 to 1 in South Africa. Wealth is considerably more concentrated than income, exacerbating the overall disadvantage of low-income households.


Leading the charge with the OECD is the group of 43 Champion Mayors for Inclusive Growth, 19 of whom traveled to New York today to launch the Campaign and chart the future work of Champion Mayors. These mayors will work together to advance the agenda put forth in the New York Proposal for Inclusive Growth in Cities.


 “The New York Proposal is a call to arms and a roadmap for change. It sets out our common commitment to a policy agenda to ensure that cities work for all of us,” said OECD Secretary-General Angel Gurría, at the campaign launch. “Achieving Inclusive Growth in cities means putting people first and tackling the challenges in disadvantaged communities. We need to break the link between one’s street address and life prospects. This means changing the way we build and move within our cities. We need more affordable housing, effective transport networks, and quality infrastructure. ” 


OECD research has shown that inequality has a strong spatial dimension. In many countries, income inequality has risen faster in cities than in other places, and it tends to increase with city size. While the data on inequalities underscore the scale of the challenge faced by mayors, in many countries local governments also have a hand in key investment decisions that can overcome inequalities. Sub-national governments – states, provinces, counties, and cities –carry out around 40% of total public spending in OECD countries, of which 60% is directed towards economic affairs and education – key areas for inclusive growth.

“We know that inequality—in all its forms—is a threat to democracy, to inclusivity, and to growth,” said Darren Walker, president of the Ford Foundation. “We are pleased to engage with OECD and mayors around the world who understand the size and scope of the challenge, and who are working tirelessly and with purpose to make their cities more just and equitable.”


As outlined in the New York Proposal for Inclusive Growth, more inclusive cities are those characterized by:


  • Education systems that enable people of all ages and backgrounds to improve their life chances.


  • Labor markets that promote entrepreneurship, access to quality jobs, and policies that make the most of women, youth, retirees, and foreign-born populations in the workforce.


  • Housing markets and urban environments that provide quality, affordable housing, in safe and healthy neighborhoods and avoid trapping people in segregated areas with few or no opportunities.


  • Transport networks that provide access to jobs, services and consumption opportunities for all, as well as affordable and reliable public services, such as water, energy, waste management and high speed internet.


“As we build stronger, more sustainable, and more resilient cities, we must also create more equitable ones.  That’s what we’re focused on through OneNYC – and we’re proud to join cities from around the world in signing the New York Proposal as we tackle the challenge of inequality here and across the globe,” said New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio.


The New York Proposal will serve as a policy roadmap to shape inclusive growth in cities, contribute to the broader debate on inclusive growth at the national level, and inform the global agenda to advance more sustainable, inclusive, and resilient cities.


The Inclusive Growth in Cities Campaign is strengthened by the support of major national and international institutions, including Cities Alliance, C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group, ICLEI Local Governments for Sustainability, the US National League of Cities, United Cities and Local Governments (UCLG) and United Way Worldwide.


Media Contact OECD: Miguel Gorman: [email protected]; (+1 202 445 8058)

Media Contact Ford Foundation: Joshua Cinelli: [email protected]; (+1 212 573-4879)





More information:


About the OECD:

Working with over 100 countries, the OECD is a global “do tank” in which governments work together to seek solutions to common problems, share experiences and identify best practices to promote better policies for better lives. For more than 50 years, the OECD has helped forge global standards, international conventions, agreements and recommendations. Co-operation, dialogue, consensus and peer review drive the OECD as it seeks to fulfil its vision of a stronger, cleaner, fairer world economy and society.


About the Ford Foundation:

The Ford Foundation is an independent, nonprofit grant-making organization. For 80 years it has worked with courageous people on the frontlines of social change worldwide, guided by its mission to strengthen democratic values, reduce poverty and injustice, promote international cooperation, and advance human achievement. With headquarters in New York, the foundation has offices in Latin America, Africa, the Middle East, and Asia.


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