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January 11th 2011

Helping create the City of 2030

From 16th to 21st November 2010, Mexico City hosted a huge gathering of city mayors and leaders from across the globe, for the World Summit of Local and Regional Leaders. Organised by United Cities and Local Governments, the Summit discussed the big crises and challenges facing cities and communities, looked ahead to the City of 2030, and debated ideas for a greater input by local governments into global governance – on issues as diverse as climate change, Millennium Development Goals, and “city diplomacy”.  I was there to help UCLG – which I had helped set up 7 years ago – develop the themes and concepts for the Summit programme together, and to draft the final outcome documents. Continue Reading

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October 5th 2010

Pettifor on panel with Roubini in Kuala Lumpur

world capital symosium

Ai’s Director, Ann Pettifor was invited by the Chairman of Malaysia’sSecurities Commission Tan Sri Zarinah Anwar, to join a panel of distinguished speakers at the second Annual World Capital Markets Conference in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, 27-28 September, 2010.

The panel addressed issues related to global economic and financial governance, and included Dr. Nouriel Roubini, Professor of Economics at Stern School of Business, New York University; Sir David Tweedie, Chairman, International Accounting Standards Board, UK; Hung Q tran, Deputy Managing Director of the Institute of International Finance; and Naoyuki Shinohara, deputy Managing Director of the IMF. Continue Reading

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August 31st 2010

Ai at the Global Maternal Health Conference

The gardeners are squatting low in the heat, planting and greening the pavements and sidewalks of Delhi. They are under pressure to complete, because the Commonwealth Games are imminent. Lots of talk in the papers about delays and corruption, coupled with suppressed glee at the pickle Pakistan cricketers now find themselves in. The talk in Delhi is that the Monsoon has been heavier, and more prolonged than usual, but we are enjoying the dry steamy atmosphere at the Habitat Centre, where the Global Maternal Health Conference is in full swing.

And maternal health is in the news too. Continue Reading

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August 9th 2010

‘Cutting the diamond’ on climate change

green jobs

How to mobilise public support for cuts in global greenhouse gas emissions? This is an issue, a ‘diamond  stone’ – that I and a group of British campaigners have spent a great deal of time analysing –  as we struggle to ‘cut’ or analyse the stone in a way that will reflect and illuminate the issues at the heart of this threat to human security. We need to do that if we are to inspire, unite and mobilise a a wide swathe of human society in support of cuts in greenhouse gas emissions.

The need is urgent. Continue Reading

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July 5th 2010

The rocky road to media credibility


On my wall hangs the original of a cartoon of 12 June, 1999 by the FT’s Ingram Pinn. It is of an African bent over double by a burden of debt, while G8 leaders sit at a table perched precariously on top of the burden – ignoring the suffering African.  The impoverished man is surrounded by campaigners, hollering at the G8 and with banners proclaiming: “Cancel the Debts” “Jubilee 2000”.

Behind that cartoon lies a story. Continue Reading

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June 28th 2010

Of Paris, the Council of Europe, local self-government, and just a touch of football


The Council of Europe – the not-the-European-Union organisation of wider Europe (47 countries at last count) – is best known for the work of its Court of Human Rights, and has a general remit to promote democracy and human rights.  It is also in the news just now because its Parliamentary Assembly has voted unanimously against a general banning of the burqa or nijab, and criticized the recent Swiss law against the building of minarets. (By the way, the football bit  is at the end of this post!)

I was back in Paris last week as “independent expert” for a Council of Europe (CoE) working group meeting on how best it can coordinate its work on local and regional democracy. Continue Reading

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June 24th 2010

A Lesson in Power by World Leaders


Ann Pettifor and Maz Kessler, Originally published in Huffington Post.

It’s not often that you get to sit in the same room with a group of world leaders and hear their wisdom, ideas and experiences at the personal and political levels.

We’ve just enjoyed that privilege. And the world leaders were all women.

Continue Reading

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April 19th 2010

Cities having a go


I’m sitting here in London with fingers crossed –  on Friday I’m due to fly to Chicago, a city I haven’t been to since I hitch-hiked round the States, um, quite a few years ago… I keep looking at the web to see what mood the Icelandic Gods are in, and whether they will relent in time to let me fly.

My reason for travel – our world organisation of cities, UCLG, has its Executive Bureau meeting there, at the invitation of Mayor Daley, and I am helping with the planning of UCLG’s City Leaders Summit, hosted by Mexico City in November.

Continue Reading

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March 10th 2010

International Women’s Day – European Commission announces its Equality Charter

A few weeks ago, we highlighted the European Charter for Equality of Women and Men in Local Life, co-authored by Ai Director Jeremy Smith for the Council of European Municipalities and Regions (CEMR).

On issues like financial (de)regulation we have been quite critical of the European Union’s role – see our recent Iceland posts.

So it is good to record positive news –  the European Commission has just announced its own gender equality “Charter” to coincide with International Women’s Day.  It is in English, French and German. The EU has really been in the lead over many years, in cajoling its member states into taking legislative and practical action for equality.

Continue Reading

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March 2nd 2010

Environment First, Profits Second: Living Within Our Means


Download today’s talk for EcoBuild on how we can afford a Green New Deal.


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