31/03/2009 - Ministers responsible for regional development met at OECD to discuss the serious impact of the financial crisis on urban and rural regions and suggest ways to stimulate the economy.
Speaking to the Ministers, OECD Secretary-General Angel Gurría warned that “A return to economic nationalism, protectionism and subsidies to enterprises will create distortions, foster a culture of dependency, and lead to trade friction. Instead plans to stimulate the economy through public investment should take into account the needs of regions and the wisdom of local resources to ensure that the investment is transparent, well-targeted and timely” (read the full speech).
The ministers noted that combining infrastructure investments with skills upgrading and innovative capacity will boost productivity, stimulate the economy and meet long-term growth objectives. This would include funding regional innovation systems. No single formula can promote innovation in all regions. Local knowledge needs to be mobilised for regions to design their own innovation systems and use knowledge more effectively.
The crisis offers an opportunity to modernise rural economies and create a brighter rural future through long-term structural change and new rural jobs, especially in the “green” sector. Investments in alternative energy production in rural areas can both enhance energy security and provide climate change solutions.
At the close of the meeting, Mr. Gurría told the ministers that “Urban and rural regions have a core role to play in promoting sustainable growth. Mayors and regional officials are leading efforts to encourage public transportation, implement climate change action plans, and curb air pollution”.
The Conference coincided with the Territorial Development Policy Committee’s release of its flagship publication, OECD Regions at a Glance: 2009, together with How Regions Grow: Trends and Analysis, a Ministerial Background and Policy Report, and a new online mapping tool for regional statistics, OECD eXplorer.
For more information about the Forum and Ministerial visit:
=> Read the full speech by the Secretary-General, Angel Gurría.
=> Read the Chair's summary - Meeting of the Territorial Policy Committee and Ministerial level
=> Read more on the regional forum - "Global Crises - Regional Responses''