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Emanuel Hosts Global Mayors

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Meeting was part of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development at the Chicago Cultural Center.

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It’s not the G8, but Mayor Rahm Emanuel hosts a group of international mayors and ministers Thursday and Friday.  

Finding solutions to common urban problems is what brought more than two dozen mayors, including New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Robert Doyle, Lord Mayor of Melbourne Australia, and Sir Richard Leese, Leader of the Council Manchester England, to the Second City.

It wasn't on the agenda, but Bloomberg had Emanuel's back when talked turned to Chicago losing the G8 summit.

"The G8's going to Camp David. And NATO is coming here. Neither are coming to New York. I mean, what's wrong here? We should have both. And you're being criticized for getting -- You're batting .500. You're getting the hall of fame. I don't know what the problem is," said Bloomberg, drawing laughter.

There was serious talk, however. During the conference, Emanuel touted the need for sustainable growth, saying that efforts such as Chicago's planned massive retrofitting project will not only create scores of jobs, but will also drive down the city's energy costs.

Emanuel talked about the city's recent creation of a trust in which private financial organizations will invest in the retrofitting project and subsequent major infrastructure projects. And, he said, he hoped to hear what other cities are doing.
 
"Other mayors are facing similar, though unique challenges and the question is do they have a strategy or interesting way of having done something that can be imported, adopted, and then done for your own economic growth uniquely your own way,'' he said.
 
In that vein, Bloomberg announced on Thursday the creation of an initiative by the so-called C40 Climate Leadership group that is made up of mayors from the world's largest cities.
 
Cities will learn from one another and work together in creating, evaluating and replicating new financing structures for improved mass transit, alternative power generation and other green projects,'' he said.

The conference is part of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development at the Chicago Cultural Center. Former Gov. Jim Thompson also is scheduled to participate, as well as U.S. Department of Housing and Economic Development Secretary Shaun Donovan.

The public can watch parts of the conference online.

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