Friday, February 22, 2008

Bloomberg's New York and secrets of its success

New York City Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg told World Bank Group employees in Washington Thursday that "the free, global movement of labor, capital, and ideas" was essential to his city's growth over the past 30 years and its comeback from 9/11, and an object lesson for cities everywhere.

Bloomberg praised the impact of immigrants on his city, where 3 million residents - 37 percent of the population - are foreign-born.

"Their ambition, hard work, and entrepreneurial drive continue to bring dynamic new life to our economy and a fresh new spirit to our city," Bloomberg said. "New Yorkers understand that. Even after 9/11, when it would have been understandable for us to become fearful about the rest of the world, we have continued to welcome immigrants at a history-making pace. And they have more than repaid us."

He said that other cities can reach toward New York's success by adopting what he called its four values: "harnessing the forces of immigration and globalization; tapping the power of innovation, instituting rigorous and accountable governance; and having the independence to take on entrenched interests when they stand in the way of progress."

New York, he said, is using innovative conditional cash credits (CCT) to help some of its poorest citizens climb out of poverty. CCTs, first introduced in Latin America with World Bank support, have become a global phenomenon. Under CCT's, the poor get direct cash if they meet certain education and health benchmarks.

The mayor said New York, along with more than 700 American cities, was taking an innovative approach to slow climate change by pledging to meet the carbon-reduction standards of the Kyoto protocol - in contrast to the U.S. government, which is the only major developed nation not to sign the document.

"Increasingly we're working in concert with one another, and adopting one another's best practices in areas ranging from 'greening' our streets to cleaning our air," Bloomberg said about New York's collaboration with other cities on climate change.

-Bloomberg Ties Globalization to New York City’s Success

Related- Bloomberg's Talk;
“Finally, let me turn to the fourth value I want to stress: political independence. In reforming our schools, in reinventing our social services, in area after area, we’ve been willing to touch the so-called ‘third rail’ issues that others have avoided. The reason, quite simply, is that the political independence of our Administration has allowed us to take on vested interests, and let the chips fall where they may.

“I’ve found that when you do this, the voters – even if they don’t agree with you on everything – will respect you, because they know that you’re making decisions based on the merits, not based on polls or partisanship or political calculus.

“A good example of how we’ve been independent – and one with global implications – concerns the largest single cause of preventable death worldwide: Tobacco. Over the past six years, New York City has been very pro-active against smoking – often in the face of stiff and vocal opposition.

“We’ve raised cigarette taxes, mounted aggressive public information campaigns, increased smoking cessation programs, and outlawed smoking in all public places, including restaurants and bars. And if you want a character-building experience, I suggest doing that, and then marching in a St. Patrick’s Day parade that goes past the city’s pubs. You’d be surprised how many one-fingered waves you get!

“But let me tell you, this is an area where political independence – a willingness to fight the vested interests – has really paid off. We’ve cut smoking among adult New Yorkers by 20% during the past six years and reduced teen smoking by 52%. That translates into a quarter-million fewer smokers, untold millions, short- and long-term, in saved dollars in health care costs, and even more importantly, saved lives.

“Now we need to write the same kind of success story worldwide. And to do that, your help is needed in supporting the city and national leaders who are willing to show political independence in the face of the powerful vested interests promoting tobacco use. As you may know, developing countries already account for 70% of cigarette consumption. And tobacco companies are stepping up their marketing in the developing world.

“As The Economist put it recently, ‘The tobacco industry is getting the world’s poor hooked before governments can respond.’ Unless we do respond, the result will be a public health calamity: One billion pre-mature deaths – from cancer, stroke, and heart disease – in this century, many of them in the cities where you work.

“In response, my foundation supported a recent World Health Organization study of tobacco habits and policies in 179 different countries. If we want countries to change their policies, we first had to know scope of the problem. That’s just the first step in what is going to be a long struggle, fought on many fronts. But as New York City has shown: This is a winnable fight – one that the world’s other cities and nations now must also join. Again, I ask you to join me in this effort.

Globalization, innovation, accountable governance, independent leadership: Each of you in your work in cities around the world has the opportunity to foster these values. The 21st century will see an increasingly urban world – on every continent on our globe. Now it’s up to all of us to ensure that the residents of the world’s cities enjoy a safer, healthier, and more secure future.

“Every generation, in its own way, faces the challenge of enlarging the realm of human happiness and opening up new vistas of human possibility.

“When we talk about ‘building better cities’ in our world, that’s truly what’s at stake. We have the knowledge, we have the resources, and I believe we all have the will!

Watch the talk- via World Bank or Mayor's Office

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