About the Conference

1. The context

The globalizing world has two faces, with a great many intermediate nuances. For some it is a global village where, thanks to live streaming, Twitter and Co., they can see everything that happens anywhere in the world in real time. Incredibly powerful turbo computers send huge volumes of data around the world faster than the blink of an eye. More and more companies are not physically bound to any one location. Every event, conflict and crisis goes online immediately via social media, and the global community becomes involved in them all. People, goods, capital and expertise flow freely across borders. New forms of political participation, of value creation as well as of innovation are emerging at all levels.

Others see the global world as a jungle, threatening and incomprehensible. Traditional, locally rooted business models collapse, while multinational enterprises call the tune. Crime and terrorism, conflicts and crises spread with no respect for national borders – not infrequently fuelled by the interests of individual world powers in ensuring access to raw materials or in maintaining security. Around the world, trickles of refugees are becoming floods, as currently more than 50 million people worldwide have fled their homes. Environmental destruction, climate change, natural disasters and epidemics are also doing their bit, and represent a threat to us all.

Not all of these developments result from the blurring of national structures. We are caught at every turn between national and local policy-making on the one hand, and global challenges on the other. It is, however, clear that the principles of national territoriality, sovereignty and autonomy are being called into question or transformed in an increasing number of policy fields. The interplay of decisions made at different levels is becoming more intense, and the process of steering and managing global development issues increasingly complex.

How can we respond to these developments? No state, no society can devise effective solutions to global challenges on its own. The need for new forms of cooperation and new global partnerships, both horizontal and vertical, is stronger today than ever before. Local approaches must be incorporated in multilateral agreements and must go well beyond their own national borders to take into account the limits of the Earth and the future prospects of other societies. Yet, it is also true that global challenges cannot be effectively met by approaches focusing solely on the national level. They call for efforts at regional level and local level in particular.

This fact now brings us to the heart of the debate on the post-2015 development agenda. This new agenda is to bring together development goals and sustainability goals in one global agenda, for which industrialised, emerging and developing nations will be jointly responsible. To achieve a global partnership of this kind, we must agree on common values and we must adopt a new, more proactive way of dealing with obviously conflicting objectives. This in turn presupposes an understanding of governance and good governance that takes into account the changing environment within which political action takes place.

2. The focus of the sector days: Good governance in the light of global challenges

When we look at the promotion of good governance, we must look at three fundamental questions:

  • Under which conditions does a society – be it a city, region, state or the international community – make decisions that serve the common good? This question focuses on the necessary institutional preconditions for political consensus building.
  • How do we organise the collective action required to translate the decisions into practice? This question asks about state capacities for implementing policies.
  • How do we deal with conflicting or divergent objectives?

These questions also arise in times of globalisation and in the face of the challenges it brings for the state, its structures and institutions. On the one hand, new areas of responsibility are emerging; on the other hand it is not only the state anymore that can be held accountable for each and everything. International actors such as regional organizations, international arbitration courts or new global alliances which bring state and non-state actors, multilateral as well as local actors together, are increasingly exerting influence on national decision making processes. Issues of subsidiarity and of the specific design of the various levels and responsibilities have to be reviewed time and again. Furthermore, civil society organisations as well as the corporate sector are demanding to have more and more influence in shaping public services – once the unique prerogative of the state.

At the same time, the global world is under-regulated in some vitally important areas. For example, on financial markets and transport markets, or in the consumption of global public goods, decisions are being made that have a collective impact, without these being subject to political control or any form of accountability being required. Yet, there has been little change in the expectations that public opinion has of state actors. State actors are expected to define the common good and be responsible for working for the common good – in spite of their dwindling influence. This makes it necessary that we continuously deal with the question of how governance systems should be designed and promoted in order to develop a democratic and administratively effective basic order under the rule of law and to strengthen the state to fulfil its core functions as well as engage in a dialogue with its citizens and other key actors.

These trends raise questions that we have been dealing with partially already when discussing our understanding of good governance and transformation. We would now like to extend this discussion taking into account the new global challenges and global agendas. In this context, we as GIZ together with our partners in international cooperation must find answer to the following questions, among others:

  1. How can the global common good be determined fairly and democratically, and how can it be transferred to regional, national and local levels? What framework conditions must be put in place to ensure equitable distribution, peace and security, as well as accountability and political participation under the changing conditions outlined?
  2. Which new actors must be involved and how? Which alliances are needed to reduce risks and forge ahead with development?
  3. What does this mean for policy-making in partner countries and in Germany or other industrialised countries? How can we identify the impacts of state and development action under such changed conditions?
  4. How can GIZ, in its capacity as a global enterprise, support the necessary policy transformations? What new tasks will come our way as a result of the will of Germany and the EU to shape future developments?
  5. If industrialised, emerging and developing nations are to work together as partners, openness will be needed, as well as a willingness to learn from one another. How can GIZ use its experience in the field of international cooperation to contribute to this understanding of cooperation and shared responsibility both in Germany and in partner countries? What opportunities do we have to collaborate on the international process of generating and aggregating knowledge?

3. Objective of the meeting

The sector days are to help improve our understanding of the global agendas and the development of global partnerships in terms of good governance and human rights, as well as to discuss the range of services we offer partner countries (industrialised, emerging and developing nations) and bring these services into line with the demands of sustainable development for the global common good.

The conference will provide an opportunity for participants to become familiar with the German and European positions, and to discuss the lessons learnt from GIZ projects to promote good governance in the light of global developments. On the basis that the general content of the governance projects connects up with the post-2015 agenda, other global agendas and new global and regional partnerships, the conference aims to provide orientation and a forum for innovation regarding our services and the way in which we deliver these services.

Key elements for us in this are networking, an exchange of knowledge with in-house and external experts, and common learning. We see this as a basis for positioning GIZ and DIE within the expert and donor community in Germany and with respect to the EU as forward looking and partner-oriented bodies possessing the requisite technical and methodological expertise.

The conference will bring together the ongoing academic debate on global change and the concomitant demands this makes of global, regional, national, local and vertical governance and global partnerships, with the operational expertise of GIZ as well as German development cooperation and international cooperation.

4. The structure of the sector days

The sector days will be structured content-wise along the global challenges with respect to the core objectives of the post-2015 agenda. These challenges will be discussed under the perspective of specific country groups, e.g. fragile countries, emerging economies, and resource-rich countries while taking into consideration the different levels of good governance.

The sector days will spotlight the role of GIZ in particular, given its capacity as an enterprise to support development and transformation processes worldwide. To this end, we will look in particular at how German and European positions are developing, as well as at development in our partner countries. Building on this we will discuss the role of international cooperation and establish a link to the tasks of GIZ.

The sector days will thus relate directly to the post-2015 agenda, which is set to be adopted in September 2015, as well as to the outcome of the Bonn Conference for Global Transformation, which GIZ will be organising and which is currently scheduled for May 2015. Inputs can be expected from Germany’s G7 Presidency and from the planned BMZ ICT conference ‘Digital for Africa’. The conference is also being held as preparations continue for Habitat III (the Third United Nations Conference on Housing and Sustainable Urban Development), which is expected to adopt a New Urban Agenda in 2016. Finally, the UN Climate Change Conference to be held in November 2015 in Paris will also be looming on the global governance horizon.

The conference will be broken down into a public part (Days 1 and 2; in cooperation with GDI) and an internal GIZ part (Day 3; without GDI), which will be dedicated to internal discussions.