More than 100 mayors and municipal leaders from around the world have come to Chicago to attend the two-day Richard J. Daley Global Cities Forum held at the University of Illinois-Chicago.
“As we all know, creating worldwide partnerships to help us share experiences and best practices with each other is a critical part of the work of any Mayor,” Daley said at a news conference held with visiting mayors at the UIC Forum, 725 W. Roosevelt Rd., where the conference was held yesterday and today.
“Especially in difficult economic times such as these, it is critical for government, private industry and foundations to work together in new ways to ensure the strength and vitality of our cities,” he said.
This year’s conference is called “New Partnerships for a New Economy: Driving Innovation in Cities” and is aimed at fostering a dialogue on the role of public-private partnerships as a key tool to help municipal leaders continue to deliver innovative programs and services in challenging economic times.
The 2010 Forum opened yesterday with roundtable discussions on infrastructure and public safety, and there was a joint meeting of the global cities mayors and the executive bureau of United Cities and Local Governments, the world’s largest local government organization which scheduled its meeting to coincide with the Forum.
Today, at the Richard J. Daley Public Symposium, panels discussed innovation, generating new value from local assets and stimulating local economies through education and job creation.
After a discussion yesterday about guns, the impact of gun violence in our cities and lax regulation and oversight of the gun industry, more than a dozen mayors attending the conference agreed to a resolution calling for a new level of international cooperation among themselves, their governments and other entities to address the challenges presented by guns and gun violence.
In the resolution, the mayors agreed to:
• Call upon their respective national governments to help address the issue of global gun trafficking and gun violence by making it part of a global agenda;
• Call upon the United States government to take a leadership role in addressing the issue of global gun violence in the world’s cities by imposing greater oversight and accountability of the gun industry, and stricter regulation and enforcement of the means by which guns can be globally trafficked, obtained, carried and traded;
• Where possible, seek redress against the gun industry through the courts of the world - including local, state, and federal courts, and international courts –for damages caused to our countries, cities, and communities by global trafficking of illegal guns;
• Call upon international human rights and public health organizations to help cities address global trafficking in guns and its sources;
• Challenge the news media to more effectively and more deeply report the nature of international trade in guns and the damages being inflicted upon the world; and
• Continue to work together to report on and advance progress on the objectives of this resolution.
Throughout the conference, Mayor Daley offered many examples of things Chicago has done here to create partnerships with the private and not-for-profit sectors that, in turn, create economic opportunity for the City’s residents. For example, he described:
• How the City has re-focused its ongoing workforce and education programs on the sectors that are critical to the future of the local economy: health care, hospitality, transportation and technology.
• How Chicago has established a major, new workforce training partnership -- called Chicago Career Tech -- that is aimed over the long term at helping about 30,000 unemployed Chicago middle class workers get retrained in technology.
• And how the City has undertaken its Digital Excellence Initiative to help close the digital divide by making more technology available in underserved communities.
The conference concluded today with open discussion on forum topics with the general public.
“Altogether, it has been a very ambitious schedule and one that I believe contributes greatly to the ability of local government officials to do their jobs and, perhaps even more importantly, will help us build relationships that can lead to greater understanding among cultures and greater friendship among nations,” Daley said.
The Daley Forum is in its sixth year and annually has drawn more than 2,200 registrants from the private, civic and academic communities. The Forum is a collaboration among Chicago Sister Cities International, the University of Illinois at Chicago and the Daley family to honor the legacy of Mayor Richard J. Daley.
“I believe the overall message today is that, despite the great challenges everyone is facing right now, cities are in a time of great opportunity to serve as creative engines for growth and to provide ways to stimulate our economies,” Daley said. “I believe that is one of the keys to leadership -- having a vision for the future, supported by innovative policies that will take you there.
“That’s the great value of meetings such as the Richard J. Daley Global Cities Forum – they make it easy for us to exchange important information to hear from experts and build relationships that will benefit the residents of all our cities in the long term,” he said.
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