Regional Policy Forum

  'Global Crises - Regional Responses'

  30 March 2009, OECD Conference Centre, Paris


Facilitator: Axel Threlfall, Reuters

Preceding the Ministerial, the Regional Policy Forum 'Global Crisis, Regional Responses' opened the floor to a diversity of key actors in the field of regional policy, including sub-national governments, business and financial sectors, education and research community, and NGOs. The Forum was organised into four roundtables, looking at different dimensions of regional policy.





8:00 - 9:00

Registration & Coffee

9:00 - 9:15

Welcoming Statements

Ms. Mari Kiviniemi (Chair)

Minister of Public Administration & Local Government, Finland

9:15 - 10:45  

Roundtable 1


'Greening' Cities: An Option for Recovery?
Cities are responsible for about two-thirds of total world CO2 emissions and energy consumption and momentum has been building for cities to “go green”. Investment in renewable energy technologies and the “greening” of urban infrastructure could help us meet environmental goals while strengthening competitiveness and creating new, high-paying jobs. However, the economic crisis has affected public investment budgets and the capacity of city governments to act. In many urban areas, needed infrastructure extensions have been postponed and others have been eliminated altogether. Faced with this situation, authorities need to be creative to turn things around. But how?


Questions for Discussion

• How is the crisis affecting urban areas? Are cities able to cope with the increased strain on social services?
• What is the role of cities in achieving global environmental goals?
• What is the potential of the “green” economy? How would its growth affect employment and productivity growth?
• How can addressing environmental concerns help cities meet other policy challenges (social and/or economic)?
• How to best leverage public investment? How to promote public-private partnerships for sustainable urban development?


City Views

• Wolfgang Schuster, Lord Mayor of Stuttgart, Germany
• Jerónimo Saavedra Acevedo, Mayor of Las Palmas, Spain

• Hannu Penttilä, Deputy Mayor of Helsinki, Finland


National Perspectives

• Pal-Moon Kang, Assistant Minister for Territorial Policy, Ministry of Land, Transport and Maritime Affairs, Korea
• Toru Kurahashi, Research Advisor to the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport, Japan


The contribution of other stakeholders

• Simon Brooks, Vice-President, European Investment Bank
• Augustin de Romanet, CEO, Caisse des Dépôts et Consignations, France



Adam Ostry (Canada), Chair of the OECD Working Party on Urban Areas


10:45 - 11:15

Coffee Break

11:15 - 12:45

Roundtable 2

Preparing for A New Future: Building a Diversified and Sustainable Rural Economy 
The current recession reinforces the importance of finding ways to further modernize rural economies. A more diversified economic base would increase the resilience of rural areas in time of crisis, whereas the current worldwide focus on responses to environmental challenges present a formidable opportunity for rural job creation. Policy makers need to think beyond the provision of short term relief, by preparing rural areas for a more sustainable recovery path. They should aim at accelerating long-term structural change, encouraging a new set of rural businesses, especially environment-related, to replace those lost during the recession. At a time of strained budgets, governments will need to be innovative, better leverage public investment, work more effectively with the private sector, and act to eliminate barriers to the growth of a diversified rural economy.

Questions for Discussion

• How has the crisis affected rural economies? Are existing safety nets able to cope or do they need to adapt? How are returned migrants being re-absorbed into the rural economy? What is happening with remittances and how are families coping?
• Is there a specific rural component in current relief packages? Have measures been designed with long-term structural impact in mind?
• How can public investment facilitate the emergence of a new rural economy? How to build effective partnerships with the private sector?
• What are the main areas of opportunity to create environment-related jobs?
• What are the main barriers to the emergence of a sustainable and diversified rural economy? What needs to be done to eliminate them?


Current rural conditions:

John Bryden, Visiting Professor, Rural Norway
Andrew Copus, Senior Research Fellow, NordRegio, Sweden
Christina Pfeiffer, Deputy Head of Division, Rural Development Division, Ministry of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Regions, Land of Schleswig-Holstein, Germany
Flaminio da Deppo, President of the Mountain Community of Centro Cadore (Dolomites) and President of the Local Action Group (LAG) Alto Bellunese, Italy


Policy options for rural development 

Wade AuCoin, Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA), Canada
Martin Glynn, Director, Rural Development Initiatives, UK
Chuck Fluharty, Vice-President for Policy Programs, Rural Policy Research Institute (RUPRI), US



Richard Wakeford (UK), Chair of the OECD Working Party on Rural Areas


12.45 - 14.15

Lunch not sponsored

14.15 - 15:45

Roundtable 3

Investment-Based Strategies: What Role for Central and Sub-national Authorities?

Public investment is likely to play a large role in addressing the consequences of the current economic crisis. Sub-national governments have traditionally been responsible for 70% of public investment in OECD countries, but are facing increased budget strains. Fiscal revenues are falling, social expenditures rising, and funding costs have soared. In this context, there is a risk that public investment may be cut, which may affect long-term growth prospects. Addressing those challenges would require co-operation across levels of government, in order to design and implement effective investment-based strategies to face the crisis.


Questions for discussion

• What has been the impact of the crisis on sub-national finances?
• How can central governments prevent a pro-cyclical reduction of public investment by sub-national governments? Should central governments provide guarantees to facilitate access to finance by sub-national authorities? How could moral hazard be prevented?
• How have national plans been articulated at the regional level? What has been the role of sub-national authorities in shaping stimulus package and prioritizing public investment?
• How can existing regional strategies be effectively used to target and accelerate public investment?


What is the impact at the local and regional level?

Dominique Hoorens, Head of Research Department, Dexia
Brock Carlton, CEO of the Canadian Federation of Municipalities, Canada
Xavier Gizard, Secretary General of CRPM, Secretary General of FOGAR


Strategic responses:

Katarina Mathernova, Deputy Director General of DG Regio, European Commission
Julio Cesar Carmo Bueno, Secretary of State for Economic Development, Rio de Janeiro State, Brazil
David Morrison, Executive Secretary, United Nations Capital Development Fund
Mario Calderini, President of Finpiemonte, Italy
Masami Amano, President of Mitsubishi Estate UK



Hanna Jahns, Secretary of State for Regional Development, Poland


15:45 - 16:15 Coffee Break
16:15 - 17:45 Roundtable 4

Building Knowledge for Better Regional Policy

Investment in public services and infrastructure need to be well targeted and based on regions’ comparative advantage if they are to have maximum impact in terms of long-term productivity growth. Accurate and relevant information is needed for that purpose. The better we are able to collect, assess and share this information, the greater our analytical capacity to inform policy making.


Questions for Discussions

• How can regional policy make the best use of statistical information to target investment and create reliable benchmarks?
• How can data availability at regional level contribute to make regions more attractive for recovery plans and investment opportunities? And to help monitoring the implementation of public investments and evaluating their impacts?
• How can sound analysis to guide public choices be reconciled with the need for rapid action in the context of the current crisis?
• What is the role of statistical information in increasing awareness and support for public policies?
• How can information be collected and transformed into shared knowledge? What are the main challenges in transferring results into operational tools for policy makers?
• How can we best incorporate citizen preferences and local knowledge in policy making? What kind of measurement is needed?


Which information and for what?


Rui Nuno Baleiras, Secretary of State for Regional Development, Portugal
Charles Wessner, Director, Program on Technology, Innovation and Entrepreneurship, The National Academy of Science, US


What do we learn from this information?

Lucy De Groot, Executive Director, Improvement and Development Agency for Local Development, UK
Enrico Giovannini, Chief Statistician, OECD
Nadine Massard, President of EuroLIO-European Localized Innovation Observatory and Centre de Researches Economiques de l’Université de Saint-Etienne, France



Dev Virdee (UK), Chair of the OECD Working Party on Territorial Indicators


17:45 - 18:00 Closing Remarks by TDPC Chair, Mr. Mark Drabenstott




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