Remarks by Angel Gurría
18 March 2019 - Athens, Greece
(As prepared for delivery)
Mayors, Ladies and gentlemen,
I would like to thank Mayor Kaminis and the City of Athens for hosting the 4th Meeting of the Champion Mayors for Inclusive Growth, and for all Mayors, Deputy Mayors and City officials who joined us in Athens.
The great majority of the population of the OECD lives in cities. Indeed, more than half of the world’s population lives in cities. Since we launched the OECD Champion Mayors for Inclusive Growth initiative in 2016, 60 mayors from around the world have joined forces to address rising inequalities.
Champion Mayors signed on to the New York Proposal, agreeing to work together towards more inclusive cities across four areas: 1) education, 2) labour markets and skills, 3) housing and the urban environment, and 4) infrastructure and public services.
They went further with the Paris Action Plan, by outlining a series of concrete actions. In particular, Champion Mayors recognised that inequalities, climate change and other environmental challenges must be addressed together in order to ensure that growth is both inclusive and sustainable.
And most recently, the Seoul Implementation Agenda built on these commitments to focus on the implementation of two dimensions of the Inclusive Growth agenda: linking inclusive growth to climate change; and supporting small businesses and entrepreneurs for a more inclusive local economy.
Today, it is with immense pride that I join Mayor Kaminis and all Champion Mayors, along with leaders from our Supporting Institutions, to launch the Athens Roadmap on Innovation for Inclusive Growth.
This Roadmap is a guide for cities and their leaders on how to seize innovation as a tool for more inclusive growth. Technology and digitalisation are transforming how citizens interact with local and national leaders and their governments. Information today flows easier, faster and in greater volumes. With the appropriate tools and policies in place, residents can better hold public and private institutions to account. This, in turn, increases trust in government, a scarce and precious asset.
Innovation in its different forms – social, technological and in public policy – can also support cities’ efforts to address affordable housing; distribute the costs and benefits of development more equitably; better integrate migrants and refugees; extend basic utility services to the energy poor; achieve emission reduction goals, and support small businesses and entrepreneurs. The list goes on!
With the Athens Roadmap, Champion Mayors commit to leverage the full potential of innovation to ensure that we progress together as a society; to ensure that no one is left behind. As you go forward, you can count on the steadfast support of the OECD.
Thank you for your continued commitment to our cities and our future.
OECD work on Centre for Entrepreneurship, SMEs, Regions and Cities