Opening Remarks by Angel Gurría
Dubai, United Arab Emirates, Sunday 11 February 2018
(As prepared for delivery)
Dear Excellencies, Ministers, Ladies and Gentlemen,
I am delighted to open the 3rd OECD Global Platform on “Governance of the Future”, an initiative of the MENA-OECD Governance Programme which I launched here two years ago. I would like to thank the United Arab Emirates (UAE) for hosting us at the World Government Summit, which has become a major global hub for strategic discussions to make governments and societies fit for the challenges of today, but more crucially, of tomorrow.
Today’s discussions focus on “disruptive technology and innovation”. This is a timely topic as the tectonic shifts brought about by digitalisation are transforming our economies, governments and societies in the most profound way.
While these processes have the potential to spark innovation and to develop new tools and policies for promoting inclusiveness and sustainable development, they also bring disruption in many ways. Their impact on jobs and employment is one crucial concern. We estimate that 9% of jobs in the OECD are at high risk of being automated, while for an additional 25%, tasks will change significantly because of automation.
With rising inequalities and anxieties around technology and globalisation, more than ever governments have to show people that the right policy settings can improve their lives and the lives of their children. This is particularly true in the context of the current confidence crisis, with levels of public trust at record low levels. In the OECD, only 4 out of 10 citizens trust their government. More than ever, governments have to show they are up to the challenge of embracing a future of unknowns, uncertainties and “unprecedented unpredictability”, as the OECD’s recent GSG Meeting called it.
The good news is, governments are making progress. The OECD Observatory of Public Sector Innovation (OPSI) has joined the UAE’s Mohammed Bin Rashid Centre for Government Innovation to develop a global review of frontier public sector innovation. And I am pleased to launch here today the fruit of this partnership, our new Embracing Innovation in Government: Global Trends 2018.
The report, which draws on leading-edge innovation practices and methods from 58 countries, highlights three key and positive trends:
These are great advances that are challenging the status quo and transforming lives. However, much more needs to be done to cope with increasing complexity and uncertainty and rapidly evolving technologies.
The importance of a “systems-wide approach” to navigate in the uncertain future
We need to work together to drive collective, systems-wide solutions. Innovation must burst upwards and spread from towns and cities, to states and regions, to countries, and accross the globe.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Mariana Mazzucato underscored the crucial role of the public sector in delivering radical, epoch-defining innovation: “Not only has government funded the riskiest research, whether applied or basic, but it has indeed often been the source of the most radical, path-breaking types of innovation. To this extent it has actively created markets, not just fixed them.”
The OECD is here to help governments assume that role and face the challenges that lie ahead to navigate an uncertain future. We are building a global community and a global knowledge base to support and disseminate innovations like the ones I have mentioned today. We invite you to connect with us so that together we can design, develop and deliver better public sector innovation for better lives. Thank you.