A High-Level Conference
8 July 2011,Trento, Italy
OECD data shows that financial conditions are returning to normal in many countries. World trade is picking-up and encouraging signs are coming from markets. However, important challenges remain. Growth has been mostly supported by the emerging economies. The pace of recovery has been uneven both in the OECD area and between OECD and non-OECD countries. This is exacerbating existing global imbalances and constitutes one of the most significant threats to further recovery. GDP growth in OECD countries is still sluggish and there is concern that the global crisis has had a permanent effect on output levels. This has serious implications for employment. The average unemployment rate in the OECD remains high and is forecasted to be 8.1% in 2011, with many countries are facing the problem of structural unemployment.
Most OECD economies are coming out of the crisis with deep scars. The solutions to these problems are complex and will come from a combination of three components: 1) coherent and convincing exit strategies; 2) structural reforms; and 3) the promotion of new sources of growth. In the aftermath of the global financial crisis and a prolonged economic recession, supporting demand and employment creation are high on the policy agenda. In this context, local and regional policies are especially relevant and have the potential to make a strong contribution to sustainable growth. National governments have introduced stimulus packages in many OECD countries in response to the financial crisis, but many regions have also seized the initiative and developed locally based responses to tackle economic slowdown. Improving the effectiveness and competitiveness of regions and localities is especially important given the very limited resources that are available to all tiers of governments and further fiscal constraints to come.
In order to support regions and localities in this process and ensure that locally designed responses are successful, policies should be put in place which unlock the potential of the regions, improve their competitiveness and support their long-term growth objectives.
In this conference high level policy makers, economists and representatives of international and European institutions discussed the future of global economic and financial development and debated the crucial role played by regions and localities in the recovery and development of economic competitiveness.
The conference provided a means to exchange good practice and drew up policy recommendation to achieve tangible results.
The discussion focused on the following key questions:
What are the relative advantages of developing responses to the economic crisis at the regional and local level?
What are the driving forces behind this?
What kind of policies can do this?
Which regions have been particularly successful in launching regionally based stimulus measures, either as part of or in addition to a national programme?
Rolf Alter, Director, Directorate for Public Governance and Territorial Development, OECD
Jordi William Carnes, Former First Deputy Mayor, City Council of Barcelona, Spain
Ivano Dalmonego, Secretary General, Autonomous Province of Trento, Italy (available only in Italian)
Giuseppe Gramigna, Chief Economist, U.S. Small Business Administration, USA
Paolo Guerrieri, Vice President, Istituto Affari Internazionali – IAI, Italy; Professor of Political Economy, University La Sapienza, Rome, Italy and Professor at College of Europe, Bruges, Belgium
Adam Struzik, Marshal-President, Mazovia Region, Poland
For further information on the conference, please contact Alessandra Proto at the OECD Secretariat.