17/06/2003 - OECD countries are downplaying subsidies as a way of promoting regional development and laying more stress on regional competitiveness, private investment and reliance on local assets, both natural and man-made. This will be the theme of a meeting of senior OECD government officials responsible for territorial development in Martigny, Switzerland, on 25-26 June 2003.
The meeting, under the auspices of the OECD's Territorial Development Policy Committee, will take place at the Hotel du Parc, 20, Avenue Pres-Beudin in Martigny and will be open to the media. It will be chaired on 25 June by Switzerland's federal councillor for economic affairs, Joseph Deiss, and on 26 June by Eric Scheidegger, of Switzerland's State Secretariat for Economic Affairs.
Participants will discuss new approaches to regional development in the light of evidence that subsidies are only partially effective in helping individual sectors and lagging regions. Growing pressures on public budgets mean there is a greater role for local initiative and decentralisation in regional development, and governments must structure their policies accordingly.
The development potential of regions transcends strict administrative and national borders. Participants will also review the need for effective co-operation and co-ordination at all levels of government both within national frontiers and across borders. Their discussions will be relevant both for OECD countries and for transition economies facing increased regional differences, including countries that are candidates for membership of the European Union from next year.
For further information and to register to attend the meeting, journalists are invited to contact David Woodruff, OECD's Media Relations Division (tel.  1 45 24 81 18).
For more information on the conference .