During September 15-17, 2005, in New York City, former U.S. President Clinton hosted the inaugural meeting of the Clinton Global Initiative, a large gathering of world leaders that coincided with the special session of the United Nations General Assembly to review the five-year progress of the Millennium Development Goals.  The Clinton Global Initiative is organized to address four worldwide challenges in the 21st Century:  1) Climate Change; 2) Global Public Health; 3) The Escape from Poverty; and 4) Religion, Conflict, and Reconciliation.

 Global Urban Development was invited by President Clinton to participate actively in the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI).  Dr. Marc A. Weiss, Global Urban Development Chairman and CEO, was one of the 800 participants at the inaugural meeting of the CGI, along with three other people affiliated with GUD:  Gregory Casagrande, President of the South Pacific Business Development Foundation in New Zealand and a member of the GUD Board of Directors; Dr. Hernando De Soto, President of the Institute for Liberty and Democracy in Peru and a member of the GUD Advisory Board; and Professor Muhammad Yunus, Managing Director of the Grameen Bank in Bangladesh and a member of the GUD Advisory Board.

In addition, the CGI has selected Global Urban Development's Community Productivity Project as one of the projects it is supporting under the theme of Escape from Poverty.  To view this commitment, please visit the CGI website at  To see a PDF version of the Commitment Announcement from the March 2006 CGI Mid-Year Meeting, click here.  A public announcement of this commitment was made at the CGI meeting, and GUD was awarded with a CGI Commitment Certificate.  The Community Productivity Project will be done together with the United Nations under the Millennium Development Goals for poverty reduction, environmental sustainability, gender equality, and global development partnerships.  The next four paragraphs describe the Community Productivity Project in more detail:






An old adage states: “Give a person a fish, and he or she will eat for a day.  Teach a person to fish, and he or she can eat for a lifetime.”  Public policies for reducing poverty reflect these two approaches, providing either subsidies or training.  But what if most low-income people are already “fishing” by working diligently to produce and distribute goods and services, yet they simply are not earning enough?  If this is the real problem, then it calls for comprehensive solutions based on “inclusive economic development strategies” with mainstream society actively supporting the efforts of low-income people to enhance their incomes, productive capabilities, and entrepreneurial opportunities.  Global Urban Development, founded on the principle of “Treating People and Communities as Assets,” is launching the Community Productivity Project together with the Shack/Slum Dwellers International and the United Nations. The Community Productivity Project is designed to establish a new policy paradigm by documenting how productive low-income people are, how hard they work, how much value they create, and the close relationships of their economic activities to the formal economic system.

 Global Urban Development will conduct the Community Productivity Project in partnership with Shack/Slum Dwellers International (SDI), the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), and the United Nations Human Settlements Program (UN-HABITAT), under the framework of the Millennium Development Goals, specifically the goal to “Eradicate extreme poverty and hunger” by the year 2015, along with Goal 7, Target 11, “Have achieved by 2020 a significant improvement in the lives of at least 100 million slum dwellers.” The Community Productivity Project will be conducted in four urban low-income communities around the world over a three-year period: Cape Town, South Africa; Mumbai (Bombay), India; Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; and London, U.K.  In each case a lead local partner will work with many other local, regional, national, and international stakeholders.  The Community Productivity Project will develop a new template of Community Productivity Indicators to help educate the world about the real economic potential represented by low-income people.  Further, the Community Productivity Project will use its community-based research process as the catalyst for designing and implementing inclusive economic development strategies in these same low-income communities.  This project will help move global poverty reduction policies toward generating environmentally sustainable prosperity, innovation, productivity, and quality of life that includes and benefits everyone.

 Former Executive Mayor Nomaindia Mfeketo of Cape Town, South Africa supports the Community Productivity Project to help reduce poverty and encourage development in her city.  During the apartheid regime, her mother created a livelihood by selling fruits and vegetables, yet according to official statistics, she was unemployed.  Her family received no help from government; indeed, they were hampered by regulations.  Policies recognizing the economic contributions of the millions of people like Mayor Mfeketo’s mother, by assisting rather than hindering their efforts, will foster much higher rates of economic growth.

 The Community Productivity Project will be conducted in two phases.  Phase One will record the economic activity in low-income communities and demonstrate the value that low-income people contribute to the global economy through Community Productivity Indicators.  In Phase Two, Inclusive Economic Development Strategies will strengthen the linkages of low-income people and communities to the formal economy, market their skills more effectively, and identify better ways to coordinate investment, infrastructure, services, regulations, taxes, and other tools to promote greater production and higher incomes. 


Click here for the Community Productivity Project proposal



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