How do cities actively engage with citizens and the private sector to drive innovation and influence how the city works? We asked city leaders from four cities around the world how they do it…
Maxime Pedneaud Jobin, Mayor of Gatineau, Quebec, Canada
The city of Gatineau has chosen to encourage citizen involvement in all spheres of activity, including economic development. The social economy is an important component of our development strategy. It has brought concrete responses to community needs and aspirations in many sectors, including food production, culture, sports and recreation, tourism, waste management, housing and the management of public spaces. Gatineau City Council will soon adopt an ambitious policy for the social economy in order to strengthen the mechanisms for citizens’ contribution to the health and welfare of our city and its inhabitants. For us, the social economy is an essential component of a sustainable and inclusive development model.
Rajesh Agrawal, Deputy Mayor of London for Business
The coronavirus crisis is triggering the biggest economic emergency we have faced since the Second World War. It is a hugely important moment for politicians and business leaders to come together with a common purpose. With unemployment predicted to reach levels not seen for many decades, we will need to do everything we can to preserve the businesses and jobs that our local communities rely on.
We are going to need to build back our economy and society. I am incredibly proud of how London’s businesses responded in this difficult time for our city and country. Restaurants cooked and delivered hundreds of thousands of meals for the NHS staff who worked day and night to keep us and our families safe. Supermarkets responded by scaling up donations and offering financial support to food banks. And many other businesses volunteered their time and expertise to solve the issues we faced as we began to respond to this crisis. Looking forward the Mayor and I believe it is critical our recovery offers a better long-term future for our citizens.
We will need to continue working together with business to invest in the skills, training and new technology we need to deliver a strong, fair and sustainable recovery. Now, more than ever, we need good businesses to continue to show that the goals of economic growth, job-creation, climate action and tackling inequality are not in conflict, but go hand-in-hand.
Mr.Mourade Diéye GUEYE, Secretary General of the City of Dakar (Senegal) and President of the Business Incubator for the Promotion of Employment through Microentrepreneurship (CEPEM)
Today, the demographic and economic weight of women and young people constitutes a strong argument for their inclusion in planning and decision-making processes at national and local levels. Local governments, aware of both the great potential of this approach and the difficulty of addressing all concerns of locals alone, are putting in place mechanisms that allow the development of a public-private partnership models. The Municipality of Dakar, aware of its social responsibility, have created the Municipal Development and Solidarity Fund (FODEM) and the Business Incubator for the Promotion of Employment through Micro-entrepreneurship (CEPEM) with a view to fight against the pauperisation of populations in urban areas and women, and to support young entrepreneurs in Dakar.
A lot has been achieved through joint action of FODEM and CEPEM but we believe that a wider public-private partnership needs to be put in place, through which large companies established on the city of Dakar’s territory could support, as part of their Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) strategies, public bodies such as FODEM and CEPEM in their mission of strengthening and promoting the economic empowerment of women and youth. Besides, in the specific context of the COVID-19 crisis, this public-private partnership model should be a main focus of the strategy targeted at reviving economic activity.
Within the framework of this public-private partnership, the City of Dakar would be in the driver’s seat, for our city’s public authorities are in direct contact with the population. An example of such approach was experimented during this very trying period marked by the COVID19 pandemic. Indeed, the City of Dakar, faced with strong expectations on the part of the public, has built a public-private partnership framework that has enabled private sector companies to support the city’s efforts to fight COVID-19 by making available masks and hand gel to the public and by participating in public information and awareness campaigns.
In addition, considering the critical role played in this process by the Senegalese Network of Actors and Local Authorities for SSE (RACTES) which endorsed the strategy, facilitated collaboration with SSE actors at territorial level, and informed policy measures, we are committed to keep favouring such “co-construction approach” within the framework of a purposeful public-private partnership. As part of future endeavours in this regard, we will explore the opportunity of establishing a fund maintained by the City of Dakar private sector partners targeted at supporting local projects initiated by women and grassroot organisations in the framework of post COVID-19 economic recovery efforts.
François Dechy, Mayor of Romainville (France) and Member of the Executive Committee of Avise – the French research and knowledge transfer agency for the development of social and solidarity economy
In order to build the concrete means of ensuring local resilience, it is necessary to initiate a dynamic based on local systems of actors responding to the social needs of our territories. Healthcare, access to quality and affordable food, housing, education, developing employment for less qualified workers… These are the challenges we face. The choice that we have made in Romainville is to co-construct responses to these issues with local actors (associations, SVBs, SMEs, social enterprises, etc.) while taking into consideration their specificities. However, we also assume our responsibility and fully play our part if and when responses from private-sector actors are not satisfactory. This is the raison d’être of the Municipal Agency for Ecological and Solidarity Transition (ACTES), which is now in the preliminary phase of its establishment. It aims to create pathways for integration in employment focusing on jobs linked to the ecological transition and those responding to social needs of our territory.