A tool for action: the 7th OECD Roundtable of Mayors and Ministers

The 7th OECD Roundtable of Mayors and Ministers, organised in partnership with the Ministry of Economy and Development of Greece and the City of Athens, explored ministers and mayors exchange ideas, experiences and good practices from around the world on:

  • What reforms should be introduced to existing National Urban Policies to better prepare for and address megatrends?
  • How can Mayors and Ministers work closely together in co-designing a new generation of National urban Policies?
  • What types of innovative tools and new forms of partnerships can help Mayors and Ministers work effectively together to catalyse the needed resources?

Mayors and Ministers were invited to share their recipes and practical examples of successful National Urban Policies for cities of all sizes, by providing illustrations of how they can use the OECD Principles on Urban Policy in their own country.

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The context: cities of all sizes are facing complex megatrends

While global megatrends – such as globalisation, demographic shifts, digitalisation, and climate change – are profoundly altering the prospects of urban economies and societies, neither cities nor national governments can tackle the unprecedented magnitude and pace of change on their own: they need to work together, and with all segments of the society.

The challenge: Megatrends affect cities in various ways creating both potential and trade-offs

In the face of megatrends, the capacity of leaders and territories to innovate, capitalise on new potential and manage policy trade-offs varies both within and across advanced and emerging countries. Lower trade costs for goods and ideas created benefits for firms and consumers, but not all cities will reap the gains from globalisation. Although the world is growing more urban everyday, many cities are struggling to meet the needs of a changing population profile. The ongoing production and technological revolution has the potential to boost smarter urban solutions, but it also puts some jobs at risk of automation, creates a digital divide, raises privacy concerns for citizens and jeopardises urban security. Climate change exerts pressure on the demand for food, water and energy, but also opens avenues for innovative models to foster resource efficiency and transition to a low-carbon economy.

A response: Joint action across levels of government for a new generation of urban policies

When joining forces within integrated National Urban Policies (NUPs), cities and national governments can seize new opportunities to advance growth and well-being in a constantly changing world. NUPs  offer an enabling instrument to set clear policy directions across pressing and emerging economic, social and environmental challenges and transform megatrends into opportunities to boost national development. This is why Mayors and Ministers need to rethink national urban policies from the bottom up, in line with national and global strategies and frameworks, to support their effective implementation.