Main topics of Sector Days Good Governance

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The theme for our Sector Days 2015 is promoting good governance in the light of global challenges. We will be looking at how our governance projects fit together with the post-2015 agenda, and in particular we will be discussing the six main topics outlined below. The following key questions from our sector day’s concept will guide our dialogue:

  • How can the global common good be determined, and how can it be transferred to regional, national and local levels? What general conditions apply?
  • Which new actors must be involved and how? What alliances do we need to reduce risks and drive sustainable development?
  • What does this mean for policy-making in partner countries and in Germany or other industrialised countries? How can we identify the impacts achieved by state and development policy action given the changed conditions?
  • How can GIZ support the necessary transformation processes at policy level? With Germany and the EU keen to shape events, what new tasks are on the horizon for GIZ?
  • How can GIZ support partnership-based action between industrialised nations, emerging economies and developing countries? What opportunities do we have to collaborate on the international process of generating and aggregating knowledge?

The main topics of our Sector Days Good Governance 2015 are as follows:

  1. Competing for finance and resources
  2. Under pressure: human rights and inclusive participation
  3. The urbanised planet
  4. Homo sapiens migrans: supporting migrants and refugees
  5. Global communication, global information – who manages knowledge and innovation? Who are the beneficiaries?
  6. Governance beyond the realm of the nation state

1. Competing for finance and resources

‘The rich are getting richer and the poor poorer’ – when it comes to the global distribution of wealth, this quote from the 1980s has never been more relevant. Looking at resource extraction too, the costs and benefits are often unequally distributed. Many actors on the finance and commodity markets are free riders of globalisation. In other words, they benefit from the global market while contributing very little financially to public services. If we are to ensure that financial and resource flows are governed in a way that serves the public interest, national measures must be linked up with international regulatory activities. This applies to both industrialised states and to countries of the Global South.

The following questions are relevant here, for example:

  • From a taxation standpoint, how does the process of involving developing countries in international cooperation work (transparency, reporting, exchange of tax information, transfer price adjustment, etc.)? How does this help improve public services? And what can regional associations of audit institutions (such as CIAT, ATAF) contribute?
  • What role do regional and international associations of audit institutions (INTOSAI and its regional groups, e.g. OLACEFs, AFROSAI) play in supervising the use of public funds?
  • To what extent does the regulation of performance standards, indicators, and measurement methods in public finance (e.g. PEFA, TADAT, SAI PMF) help improve the use of public funds?
  • How should tax and subsidy systems be designed to boost sustainability (e.g. move away from the environmentally harmful practice of subsidising fossil fuels)?
  • What impact do bilateral and multilateral trade and investment protection agreements have on public procurement and the award of public contracts, particularly in the commodity sector?
  • How do international initiatives such as EITI impact on the more equitable distribution of natural resource revenue, particularly in poor and fragile countries?
  • What can we do to support international cooperation efforts to stamp out corruption and illicit flows of capital?
  • How can we help developing countries to improve budgeting and implement funding from climate financing more effectively?
  • How can we improve access by local authorities to global financing mechanisms for climate change adaptation and mitigation?

2. Under pressure: human rights and inclusive participation

Globalisation, economic crises and the ‘war on terror’ have all left their mark on the protection and realisation of political, socio-economic and cultural human rights around the world. Civil society organisations often remark that the space available for social engagement and open dialogue is shrinking, while at the same time the gap between rich and poor is growing rapidly. Democracy is on the wane in many countries throughout the world, leading to increased discrimination against disadvantaged population groups and giving rise to more conflicts. The tide of protest against growing social inequality has surged globally, and continues unabated, accompanied by demands for more participation and better living conditions. This begs the questions: what new forms of participation and dialogue between state and society can be identified? Can both sides reach a mutual understanding in this regard? If so, how? It seems as if a fresh impetus is needed to effectively harness and integrate local, national, regional and global initiatives to better protect human rights and foster inclusion.

Key questions related to this issue include:

  • How can we help eliminate legal and/or socio-economic discrimination against certain population groups? How can we secure equal rights of participation, particularly for women? How can children’s rights be realised to a greater degree?
  • How do we build inclusive and legitimate political institutions at local, national and international level that are able to engage in dialogue with citizens?
  • What is needed to reduce the income gap between rich and poor in developing and more developed countries?
  • How do we improve access to the law? How do we strengthen impartial, effective and reliable legal systems, also across national borders?
  • How can we support transitional justice processes?
  • Under the conditions described above, how do we strengthen the right to freedom of expression and open up access to information? What trans-boundary approaches do we need to consolidate?
  • How can we secure the right to self-determination in the digital age, against the backdrop of big data?
  • What do the state and society need to do to overcome the paradigm of irreconcilable religious, cultural, and ideological differences?

3.The urbanised planet

‘Urban explosion’ is one of the megatrends of global development. In poorer developing countries especially, urban planning has a massive mountain to climb. The establishment of infrastructure, the supply of basic public services, job creation, and – last but not least – protection against large-scale environmental damage and associated climate change, all call for new governance models that will often have to overcome existing borders.

Some of the issues we will discuss here include:

  • What urban infrastructure do we need to keep pace with increasing urbanisation? What will it take to establish registration systems whose primary purpose is the assignment of rights rather than control?
  • What governance and supply structures do we need for areas that have been more or less abandoned by economically active population groups?
  • How can we help set up effective disaster risk management structures, for example to cope with natural disasters or infectious diseases in urban centres (challenge: density) and rural areas (challenge: accessibility)? How can we use geo-information systems to this end?
  • What strategies do we need at national level to manage the economic, spatial and social transformation processes brought about by urbanisation?
  • What can we do to ensure that the supply of basic public services to cities and urban centres is secured in the long term?
  • How can we foster resilience in societies to enable them to deal with the effects of climate change (supporting integrated environmental management, improving planning structures), particularly in coastal settlements?

4. Homo sapiens migrans: supporting migrants and refugees

Worldwide, more people fled the fallout from war and natural disasters in 2014 than at any time since World War Two. The number of work migrants has also spiralled to alarming proportions however, increasing tenfold in recent times. Almost a quarter of a billion people are classed as international migrants, and three quarters of a billion as internally displaced. The number of foreign migrants has grown at an even faster rate in the developing world than in industrialised countries, and it would appear that this trend is set to continue. The supply of basic public services, the economic and social integration of migrants pose massive challenges for national and local authorities in the recipient countries, as does the reintegration of returnees in the countries of origin. In this context, it is just as important to broaden our perspective and recognise what needs to be done to ensure successful integration and to identify the associated opportunities.

The following issues can be discussed as part of this topic:

  • What support do recipient municipalities need to expand public services, open up opportunities for participation at local level, provide psycho-social and legal assistance for refugees and prevent conflict with the local population?
  • What approaches help strengthen the ability of governmental and civil society organisations to respect and protect the human rights of refugees, asylum seekers and the victims of human trafficking?
  • What can we do to promote cross-border cooperation between local authorities to support migrants and refugees?
  • What needs to be done to set up national asylum and residence-permit systems?
  • What financing mechanisms are feasible for refugee accommodation and integration management in cities?
  • What lessons have we learned in relation to setting up regional migration systems to protect those fleeing from war and natural disasters?
  • What can we do to facilitate the establishment of human-rights-compliant South-North migration systems?

5. Global communication, global information – who manages knowledge and innovation? Who are the beneficiaries?

Thanks to information and communications technologies (ICT), the world is now a much smaller place. This phenomenon affects politics, public administrations and economic systems alike. Governments use ICT to shape opinion and build consensus among the general public. Civil society and the public at large also use it for participation purposes and to lobby politicians, increasingly at international level, thanks to digital media. The manufacturing industry is also switching over to ‘Industry 4.0′, the concept for digital and smart factories, which harnesses machine-to-machine and machine-to-human communication to manage production and control processes. Big data, constantly stirred up by new algorithms, promises innovative applications and new business models. In brief, the digital age heralds a paradigm shift that throws open the question of how knowledge creation, innovation and new modes of participation can be shaped globally, for the common good.

The following questions will help us take a closer look at this issue:

  • What do we need to do to strengthen national innovation systems and promote research and development in cooperation with politicians and the corporate sector?
  • What do we hope to achieve by stepping up North-South and South-South cooperation at the level of professional organisations and research institutions? Do we need fresh impetus?
  • How can we support national statistics systems and foster international cooperation in order to strengthen monitoring capacities for the post-2015 agenda (SDGs), for example, through regionally and globally networked cooperation?
  • How do we improve knowledge transfer from projects to international structures within development cooperation and international cooperation?
  • What role do open data and open government play in boosting innovation, transparency and cooperation? How can we use e-governance applications (either e-government or e-participation) to pave the way in this context?
  • To what extent does the new openness agenda aim to build trust between the state and society?
  • How digital are smart cities? How innovative are they?
  • What role can our partners play in our governance projects and in cross-sectoral approaches at local level by joining the Open Government Partnership?
  • What effects will open contracting and open budgeting initiatives have on other areas of good governance?
  • To what extent do we need to discuss the issues of regulating digital technologies and internet governance in our partner countries?

6. Governance beyond the realm of the nation state

A key feature of globalisation is that many pivotal issues related to the supply of public services can no longer be adequately dealt with at national level. However, the multitude of transnational, supranational and international organisations and structures that have emerged from globalisation have one main thing in common: regulatory concerns and governance capacities are usually poles apart. In addition, the countries of the South often feel excluded or at the very least inadequately represented, even if some such as China, India and Brazil are on the way up on some fronts. Exactly how the capacities of the Global South can be built to enable them to not just get involved in the many different relevant arenas, but also to shape their rules and structures, will be an important issue in the future, for reasons of equity and fairness. Ensuring that the required governance inputs are also provided in this context will be key to survival.

Issues that we could discuss here include:

  • How do we deal with the exclusion effects of club governance from G7, G20 etc.? (e.g. by strengthening the G7+, the international dialogue in the New Deal Process in relation to using own systems, the C40 (Cities Climate Leadership Group), the Open Government Partnership)
  • How do UN institutions need to develop further? What reforms are required?
  • How can we integrate transnational, non-governmental actors into a system under international law that is also available to ‘weak’ actors?
  • How can we help strengthen ‘global governance skills’, thereby consolidating the negotiating position of poorer countries in the South?
  • What trends are we seeing in the development of international regional political and legal bodies (AU, ASEAN, etc.)? What international cooperation contributions result from this?