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Anti-corruption and integrity in the public sector

Lobbying in the 21st Century: Transparency, Integrity and Access

 

Lobbying in the 21st Century: Transparency, Integrity and Access

Virtual conference

20 May 2021 - watch the recordings below

Read the report

©Viktoria Kurpas/Shutterstock

The COVID-19 pandemic has raised concerns about powerful private lobbies benefitting at public expense, putting lobbying in the spotlight. Lobbying can help make different voices heard in the decision-making process, but it needs to work with transparency and integrity. The OECD launched its new flagship report "Lobbying in the 21st Century: Transparency, Integrity and Access" to assess how far we have come since the 2010 OECD Recommendation on Principles for Transparency and Integrity in Lobbying.

How to address the increased complexity of lobbying? What is the impact of lobbying on issues such as healthcare and climate change? How to provide transparency to foreign influence, lobbying through social media or think tanks? 

Watch the recordings of the sessions below.

Agenda

12:00 – 13:15 | Lobbying in the 21st Century: key trends and challenges | Watch the recording

Lobbying in all its forms is a legitimate act of political participation. It grants stakeholders access to the development and implementation of public policies and allows policy makers to learn about options and trade-offs. Such an inclusive policy-making process provides opportunities for more informed and ultimately better policies. However, evidence has shown that at times there is a monopoly of influence by those that have the means to overshadow the interests of others. Policies may also be unduly influenced through the provision of biased or deceitful evidence or data, as well as by manipulating public opinion. In addition, foreign influence activities by governments and other actors have raised new global concerns on the integrity of public decision-making and electoral processes.

This high-level panel will discuss key trends and challenges associated with lobbying and other influence practices, and highlight how governments have addressed them. It will explore the need to understand and address lobbying in a broader sense to avoid current loopholes in regulations and opaque practices, and most importantly increase trust in the integrity of democratic processes.

Speakers

Welcome remarks and keynote speakers:

• Mr. Angel Gurría, Secretary-General, OECD

• Ms. Vêra Jourová, Vice-President for Values and Transparency, European Commission

• Ms. Viktorija Čmilytė-Nielsen, Speaker of the Seimas, Lithuania

Panellists:

• Ms. Nancy Bélanger, Commissioner, Office of the Commissioner of Lobbying, Canada

• Mr. Nitin Natarajan, Deputy Director, Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), Department of Homeland Security, United States

• Mr. Michael McGrath, Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform, Ireland

• Mr. Makis Voridis, Minister of the Interior, Greece

Moderator: Ms. Carol Guthrie, Head of Public Affairs and Media, OECD

13:15 – 14:15 | The role of lobbying in meeting global challenges: perspectives from four key policy areas | Watch the recording

The COVID-19 crisis has shed new light on the key role that lobbying plays in the way governments address major global challenges. Depending on how they are conducted, lobbying activities, including advocacy and other ways of influencing public policies, can greatly advance or block progress on issues such as climate change. In addition, the 21st century context, with the advent of social media, has also made the lobbying phenomena more complex than ever before. It has created a challenging environment for all public policy issues, where public officials and companies are confronted with an amplified level of scrutiny, putting their reputations at risk of misperceptions or misrepresentations. Indeed, despite the existence of lobbying regulations across OECD countries and self-regulation efforts from the private sector, there are widespread perceptions that companies favouring business interests over the public interest have too much influence in shaping public policies.

This session will feature a discussion between experts and private sector representatives in four key policy areas: environment and climate change, health, technology, and finance. It will highlight the multiple ways in which private interests may influence government decision-making and examine how governments can support efforts to influence responsibly with transparency and integrity. It will also explore the core principles that underpin responsible lobbying, and how companies, professional bodies and non-profit groups can integrate them into everyday business practices.

Speakers

• Mr. Dylan Tanner, Executive Director and Co-Founder, Influence Map

• Ms. Chiara Colesanti Senni, Monetary Policy Fellow, Council on Economic Policies

• Mr. Facundo Etchebehere, Vice-President of Global Public Affairs and Corporate Affairs, Danone

• Ms. Linda Moore, President and CEO, TechNet

Moderator: Mr. Julio Bacio Terracino, Acting Head of Division, Public Sector Integrity, OECD

14:15 – 14:30 | Coffee break

14:30 – 15:20 | Addressing foreign influence in public decision making and electoral processes | Watch the recording

A significant amount of influence efforts are undertaken by or on behalf of foreign actors. In particular, foreign influence activities by governments have come under the spotlight in recent years due to concerns regarding Chinese and Russian-led influence. Foreign political parties and governments, including their embassies and permanent representatives, engage lobbying or public relations firms, as well as former public officials in a given country. They also fund grassroots organisations, foundations, academic institutions and think tanks to produce evidence supporting their goals; use affiliations to state sponsored media services or state-owned enterprises as channels of influence; and shape public opinion through traditional or new media, sometimes in coordination with illicit cyber activities.

Such influence can have a transformative impact on the political life of a country, not only on domestic policies but also on a country’s foreign policy, its election system, its ability to protect its national interests and preserve national security. At times these activities are intended to deliberately spread disinformation and misinformation, interfere in key democratic processes, and bias the development of public policies.

This session will discuss the challenges and threats related to foreign influence targeting public decision-making and electoral processes. It will also explore government responses to remain open to transnational dialogue and build resilience to foreign interference.

Speakers

• Mr. John C. Demers, Assistant Attorney General, National Security Division, Department of Justice, United States

• Ms. Sarah Chidgey, Deputy Secretary, Integrity and International Group, Attorney General’s Department, Australia

• Professor Philip Howard, Professor of Internet Studies, Oxford Internet Institute

Moderator: Mr. Ryan Heath, Senior Editor, POLITICO

 

15:20 – 15:30 | Closing: The future OECD agenda for transparency, integrity and access in decision-making | Watch the recording

Speakers:

• Ms. Elsa Pilichowski, Director, Public Governance, OECD

• Mr. Jeffrey Schlagenhauf, Deputy Secretary-General, OECD

Learn more

OECD work on lobbying

OECD work on public integrity

OECD Anti-Corruption & Integrity Hub

Contact us

If you have any questions, contact us at GOV.integrity@oecd.org

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