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Bloomberg Ties Globalization to New York City’s Success

  • Cities don't need 'restrictive new barriers,' NYC Mayor says.
  • Says his city's values are lessons for other cities to succeed.
  • Praises New York's support of Kyoto Protocol on global warming.

February 21, 2008 — 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.

The Mayor, who was introduced by Bank President Robert Zoellick via a TV satellite link from London, where Zoellick is in meetings.

Praising Bloomberg for his "commitment to public service," Zoellick recalled that the Bank has had a relationship with him going back to 1986, when its Treasury purchased Bloomberg Terminals, the computers with which Bloomberg built his financial media business before being elected Mayor of New York City.

"They contributed tremendously to market efficiency, breaking the near monopoly that the dealers had - not only in information but analytics," Zoellick said.

After Bloomberg spoke and answered questions from the audience, Katherine Sierra, Vice President of Sustainable Development at the Bank, and Graeme Wheeler, Managing Director at the Bank, presented Bloomberg with a framed certificate attesting that the World Bank had purchased one tonne of CO2 through the Scolel Té Project in Chiapas, Mexico, to offset the Mayor's trip to Washington.

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