Innovative Urban Financing Can Help Cities to Grow Green and Generate Jobs

Cities are ready to lead efforts to green the economy, concluded participants of the OECD Roundtable today. Co-organised by the OECD, the City of Chicago, the C40, and HUD, the meeting brought together mayors and ministers from across the globe, including those from the C40 Cities of Melbourne, Lima and Warsaw, to discuss the theme of “Mobilizing Investments for Urban Sustainability, Job Creation and Resilient Growth.”

“It’s not green or growth ­-- both can go together provided that the appropriate framework conditions are in place,” said OECD Secretary-General Angel Gurría, who presided over the meeting alongside C40 Chair, New York City Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and US Housing and Urban Development Secretary Shaun Donovan. “Cities can build an environmentally sustainable infrastructure that will help them ‘go green’, promote growth and create jobs.”

The Roundtable participants noted that cities can deliver global solutions to social, economic and environmental challenges and that they must be an integral part of international efforts to make our economies more sustainable.

The Mayors and Ministers agreed that cities should be empowered to take the lead on green growth, but noted that their efforts are hampered by huge investment needs and severely constrained public finances. Cities are truly facing a double challenge: to green existing urban finance and to develop new financing mechanisms.

During the one-day meeting, Roundtable participants shared their experiences on how to use existing resources more effectively and how to tap into new funding, such as carbon and structured finance, user and developer fees, and other private sources of finance. They noted, too, that cities should work together to develop expertise about arrangements for public-private partnerships. Based on international best practices, Roundtable participants concluded that introducing green incentives into municipal revenue systems would be a big step towards more sustainable growth. But they acknowledged that effective city-level action is easiest to achieve when there is a sound framework at the national level and good coordination between different levels of government.

While there is no “one-size-fits-all” model for implementing urban sustainability, Mayors and Ministers identified a number of common principles and key policy areas where cities should work together and share their experiences.

Click here to read the full joint press release.