Liverpool, 18th June 2014 - The BT Global City Leaders Summit began on Wednesday 18th June with more than 200 city and regional leaders of local governments from around the world – United Cities and Local Governments members and leaders – who were gathered in Liverpool’s St George’s Hall to discuss how they can generate sustainable economic growth in times of austerity.
The Summit was organised by the Mayor of Liverpool in conjunction with the UCLG Executive Bureau of United Cities and Local Governments (UCLG), taking place in Liverpool from 17th to 19th June. Members of the Executive Bureau demonstrated their full participation in the Summit, bringing the benefit of their wide experience to the full scope of the event agenda.
Joe Anderson, Mayor of Liverpool, welcomed participants, commenting that “Cities are engines of growth and they are critical to the global economic recovery. We want to debate the powers and responsibilities our cities need to deliver the best economic future for our communities.”
Jacqueline Moustache-Belle, UCLG Co-President and Mayor of Victoria, Seychelles, expressed that “for over a hundred years, the spirit of the municipal movement has been to promote learning and create the conditions to better serve citizens, but also to bring the experience of local and regional leaders to the international debates.” In a world that is not only globally intertwined, but also increasingly urban, the UCLG Co-President stated that “UCLG will continue to strengthen its network, for more and better decentralisation, and to seriously revise the financing of local governments. Towns and regions must have a strong presence and role in the new global governance,” she concluded.
Greg Clark, UK Government Minister of State for Cities, presented the UK Government’s Perspective for Cities and Growth; the Vice Mayor of Shanghai, Zhao Wen, told the delegates about the remarkable economic growth of Shanghai; and the Mayor of Rabat, Fatallah Oualalou, presented the urban renovation of the city of Rabat as an example of a driver of economic development.
Gavin Patterson, CEO of BT Group plc, discussed the role of global communications technology, and Bruce Katz, Vice President of the organisation Brookings Institute, presented lessons from U.S. federal, state, and local leaders on shifting demographic and market trends, as well as on policies that are critical to metropolitan prosperity and new forms of governance. Discussions focused on the critical challenges faced by metropolitan hubs around the world and the important role of cities in driving global economic growth.
The Global Summit also included two panel discussions, the first on The Role of Culture in a City Economy with a panel that included Catherine Cullen, Chair of the UCLG Committee on Culture and Councillor for culture, Lille City Council, and the multi-award-winning Chief Conductor of the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, Vasily Petrenko, who also led his orchestra in the Summit’s finale, with a performance in the Hall’s Concert Room.
Kadir Topbaş, President of UCLG and Mayor of Istanbul, addressing the second panel on Cities for Growth and Equality, indicated that cities are the arena where the battle for equality and growth will be won or lost. However, growth does not necessarily imply equality, he stated. "Local governments play a key role in economic growth, job creation and social development, as well as in the delivery of basic services. It is therefore essential to create an environment where local actors have the adequate resources to contribute to global solutions" he concluded.
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