The IIAS at the OECD’s Forum for Global Governance

Democracy is not a destination it’s rather a journey’

On November 21, 2012, an IIAS delegation headed by Director General attended OECD Global Forum on Public Governance. The main subject of discussion was concentrated on Better Governance for Inclusive Growth. The Forum was attended by senior public officials and senior civil servants from more than 60 countries; there were many international and regional NGOs, partners of OECD, academics, media and others present in the Global Forum. For more information about the Global Forum please follow: http://www.oecd.org/gov/oecdglobalforumonpublicgovernance.htm

While the key topic of the Global Forum remained to be Better Governance for Inclusive Growth, many interrelated issues and challenges were discussed during the forum. Particular focus was on a) the role of governance in promoting inclusive growth and new economic thinking and b) building effective institutions for inclusive growth. The breakout sessions concentrated on establishing a professional public service and on openness and innovation in the public sector.

Better governance for inclusive growth: role and current challenges

Many pertinent issues were highlighted during the opening speech of Secretary-General of the OECD Angel Gurria on Efficient Public Sectors for Better Governance, particularly the role and the growing importance of institutions in the process of governance. According to Mr. Gurria, the four major areas on the comparative work of OECD on governance in member and partner countries concentrate on: 1) building strategic state capacities to deal with policy challenges; 2) regulatory reforms to stimulate good governance innovations and promote place-based policies; 3) improvement of service delivery; 4) promotion of open, clean and responsive governments. In conclusion he underlined that according to the Trust Barometer more half of the citizens are losing their trust in governments and that it is time to win their confidence back. To access his full speech please follow: http://www.oecd.org/governance/efficientpublicsectorsforbettergovernance.htm

In his keynote address, the director of Paris School of Economics, Mr. Bourguignon, said that governance goes hand in hand with distribution of resources, once we understand how to change the distribution of resources, we may generate a new path for development. He also highlighted that the role of academics working in the area of development should not only be limited with collection data to make analysis but also to collecting of experiences; the analysis of policies of countries need to also consider the growth capacity.  The responsibility of academics according to him is to increase knowledge and that they can do better in this domain. The experience of Arab spring, according to Mr. Bourguignon, made it evident that internet and mobile technologies are making a large impact in education of masses – sometimes suddenly, sometimes eventually.

Efficient Public Sectors for Better Governance

During the country presentation of Costa Rica, Minister of Finance Mr. Ayales indicated that as a result of a new model which was focused on inclusive growth, the quality of life in Costa Rica is highest within Latin American countries. As the country is progressing toward democracy, the structure of social services is still lagging behind. The integration of economy is still centered near the large population centers in Costa Rica, and there is a need to go beyond the population sites to further growth.

Mr. Drabenstott, Chairman of the Global Trust for Regional Innovation and Investment underlined that regional paradigm is well established, regional innovation, digital commerce are powerful engines of development at this time.  At the time when the world is focused on fiscal deficit the inclusive growth can propose solutions. Regions have become athletes to prove new regional paradigm. Innovation is the main driver of economy as well as fostering stronger and inclusive growth.

After the presentation of the panel the audience was interested to know about the tools that are available for countries for sustainable growth and international evidence that would suffice. There are tools that exist that are ready to be used 1) SME test – each regulator can try SME test to see how their regulations and laws are helping or empeding the development of SMEs in their region; 2) Robust toolkit – designed to help build an enduring government. OECD plays a central role in developing those kinds of toolkits. However, their use still remains to be limited.

Building effective institutions vs. openness and innovation

Mr. Dubik, Adviser to the President of Russian Federation highlighted the efforts of Russia in the area of combatting corruption, the adoption of new laws and regulations, and creation of new organizations for implementing and monitoring of adopted anticorruption measures. Likewise Minister of Public service of Morocco also talked about combatting corruption and introducing participative democracy.

Ms. McKeown, Deputy Chief Economist in the Cabinet Office of UK, shared the experience of UK in promoting open government, the main challenge that remains as to how to ensure better accountability for less money. Government of UK adopted a new digital strategy, and there is an increased emphasis on the role of e-government for pushing for more democracy.

Key issues

Key issues that came up from the Global Forum are:

  1. The experience of Arab spring made it evident that internet and mobile technologies are making a large impact in education of masses – sometimes suddenly, sometimes eventually.
  2. The role of informal economy as an enabler of inclusive growth or rather as an impediment for inclusive growth.
  3. The role anticorruption measures and their impact on open government initiatives.