Dear Members of the Forum Network,
Since launching our call to co-create the OECD Forum agenda, I have been pleasantly surprised by the high level of engagement. This is very valuable to us, and a testimony to the appetite for dialogue at a time when the very values of co-operation, collaboration and openness are being called into question.
What I find particularly inspiring is the fact that, despite our differences in terms of culture, background and approach to policy-making, we all seek to craft solutions collectively to tackle complex challenges. This resonates directly with our suggested Forum focus on what unites us, and what brings us together. One of you said “geography is what unites us”, a very interesting concept in view of the emergence of a “geography of discontent and disengagement”.
We have been listening to your thoughts which have been helpful in the creation of the Forum programme. You have called on us to “create more space for organisations to be agile in the face of complexity”. Many of you have explored the ramifications of digital transformation in terms of artificial intelligence, the digital divide, healthcare and longevity, skills and teaching, the future of work and automation, productivity, the circular economy and what it means to lead a fulfilling life in the digital age. Some of you have shared your concerns about the lack of a regulatory framework to navigate such complex, fast-moving times. You have discussed the importance of a vision for tomorrow’s leadership, emphasising the need for long-term approaches rather than short-term profit in a shifting business environment.
Many of you have signalled a “sense of urgency” in tackling today’s inherently global challenges, and the need for multistakeholder partnerships to find solutions. This will be extremely relevant in the context of this year’s Forum conversations on ways to ensure more inclusive and effective international co-operation.
Some of you have dwelt on the complexity of making and shaping policy today, in an environment characterised by a blurring frontier between information producers and consumers, and the emergence of a post-truth era. You have shared ideas on ways to make our work easier to understand and implement, with a view to improving people’s lives. We have heard from local experiences that produce tangible solutions, through “creativity and innovation labs” for instance.
As we near International Women’s Day, we’re reminded of the need to act on closing the gender gap and maintain it as a focus of the global agenda. The OECD is very much committed to this, including in the context of the G7 and G20, and we will feature diversity and gender equality prominently at the Forum.
I also wanted to share with you some updates on key Forum speakers. Firstly, as France is chairing this year’s main Ministerial meeting, we are delighted to welcome President Macron to the Forum, as well as leading entrepreneur Xavier Niel, Founder of Station F.
A number of leading authors have also confirmed they will speak at the Forum and present their latest work, including Ilana Gershon, author of Down and Out in the New Economy: How People Find (or Don’t Find) Work Today; Amy Goldstein, Pulitzer Prize Winner and author of Janesville: An American Story; Julia Hobsbawm, author of Fully Connected: Surviving and Thriving in an Age of Overload; Judith B. Newman, author of To Siri with Love: A Mother, Her Autistic Son, and the Kindness of Machines; Branko Milanovic, author of A New Approach for the Age of Globalization; and Tarah Wheeler, author of Women in Tech: Take Your Career to the Next Level with Practical Advice and Inspiring Stories.
This is an ongoing conversation and we look forward to hearing from you as we work together to make this year’s Forum a success. Please join the Forum Network if you haven’t done so already.
Thank you for helping us shape ideas, shape policy, and shape the future.