Opening remarks by Angel Gurría
4th World Government Summit
Dubai, UAE, 8 February 2016
(As prepared for delivery)
Ministers, Ladies and Gentlemen.
I am delighted to be here today to launch the OECD Global Platform on “Governance of the Future”, a brand new initiative of the MENA-OECD Governance Programme.
This will be a unique forum where political leaders and experts will meet annually to discuss the future of governance. A hub for strategic discussions to make governments and societies fit for today’s and future challenges.
We are pleased to partner with the United Arab Emirates (UAE) on this great endeavour, whose economy owes its success to building effective public institutions.
I am also pleased to welcome Kristina Persson, Swedish Minister for Strategic Development and Nordic Co-operation. Minister Persson has made future issues work a priority. It is apt that she was recently referred to as the “watchdog for the long-term”!
This platform is an excellent example of the OECD putting its global partnership with Members and partners into practice. It is no coincidence that today’s panel includes peers from the UAE, Sweden and Scotland, as well as from Colombia and Costa Rica.
Public governance provides the framework of institutions, policies and initiatives for different societies and economies. Without effective framework conditions, governments are unable to adequately address the challenges of the future. As evidenced by the recent crisis, piecemeal approaches and quick fixes will not increase resilience and productivity, nor generate sustainable and inclusive growth.
In this respect, public governance frameworks need to evolve continuously to overcome a modus operandi in which governments merely react to the most pressing issues on the global policy agenda. There is no finish line for governments to anticipate and look ahead!
Let me highlight three main building blocks on which “Governance of the Future” should be founded:
First, governments need to think “big” and focus on implementation. Crucially, they must overcome silo-based approaches.
The world continues to face many challenges – slow growth, rising inequality, increased financial risks, climate change, to name but a few. These challenges are characterised by increasing complexity, surpassing the mandate of individual Ministries or departments. They even surpass the mandate of governments!
What we need is effective implementation of an overarching vision led and co-ordinated by a Centre-of-government. This Centre should make effective use of strategic planning and foresight mechanisms to anticipate necessary resources and drive a co-ordinated approach to public service design and delivery.
Yet, at the same time, governments cannot stand alone in addressing complex challenges.
This brings me to the second building block. Governments must engage the public to achieve results. This is particularly critical at a time when citizens’ trust in public institutions is low.
Governments must empower people to take a more active role in shaping, delivering and monitoring policy-making. This can be achieved through targeted action to foster transparency, accountability and the rule of law, safeguarding human rights and freedoms – in other words, promoting open governments.
Third, governments should embrace new insights from a multi-disciplinary approach to policy-making. The challenges that confront us today are so complex that we must strive for fresh thinking, rigorous policy analysis and actionable policy solutions across traditional boundaries.
With “established truths” increasingly being questioned, we launched the New Approaches to Economic Challenges (NAEC) initiative in 2012 to transform our way of thinking and to support a new policy agenda for more inclusive and sustainable growth. We will continue to shape this debate and provide a forum for governments to find durable solutions.
Ministers, Ladies and Gentlemen:
Today’s discussions focus on “Inclusive Growth for Citizens’ Well-being”. This is a timely topic as inequality continues to rise or remains stubbornly high in many countries. This issue is at the core of the OECD agenda and also a key priority of my third mandate.
Governance – the way that governments do their jobs – can make the difference as to whether growth benefits everyone, or just a few. I am confident that our discussions here will help us better understand how public governance frameworks need to evolve to reach this objective. I encourage all countries, including those in the MENA region, to join the Global Platform. Together let’s identify new ways to serve our citizens and build the foundations of better policies for better lives.