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Preparatory working groups for the Progressive Governance Summit 2005

  • Date(s)
    9 May 2005
  • Location
    Berlin, Toronto and Stockholm

At the last Progressive Governance Summit in October 2004, Policy Network was commissioned to prepare a series of reports for the forthcoming summit to be held in South Africa in 2005.

Following a sherpa meeting held during Policy Network’s Annual Spring Retreat in March 2005, it was agreed that three working groups (Social cohesion and the new economic paradigm; Migration, integration and diversity; Demographic challenges of the 21st century) would be convened to prepare the agenda of the summit.

The working group meetings were co-ordinated by Policy Network and hosted by the Prime Minister’s offices in Sweden and Canada, and the Federal Chancellery in Germany. Each meeting was attended by national experts nominated by the sherpas of each country.
The working group on Social cohesion and the New Economic Paradigm, which took place in Berlin on the 9th and 10th of May 2005, examined the phenomena of the decline of social cohesion in the process of modernization and jobless growth. The key discussion was the participation of individuals and their integration in the economic systems in order to address the decline of social cohesion. The participants assessed different approaches to industrial organization such as co-determination within the companies, and discussed the advantages and disadvantages of the different existing systems.

Furthermore, they examined corporate social responsibility and corporate citizenship as a way to balance shareholder values with those of civil society and thus to foster the integration of the individual in the economic system. In order to address the phenomena of jobless growth, the working group looked at the segmentation and segregation of the labour market and analysed the preconditions for a successful activation policy in the light of the dilemma between the need for further flexibilisation and the aspirations of individuals to maintain their qualifications.

The second preparatory working group on Migration, Integration and Diversity was held in Toronto on the 19th and 20th of May.  The complex link between migration and development, diversity, health and security was at the centre of the discussion. Multiform movements of people have in the past 20 years increased both in volume and geographic ranges and thus migration will feature ever more prominently as an issue in the management of countries’ domestic and international relations.

Governments need to acknowledge the inevitable character of the movement and develop means to maximize its benefits for the countries of origins, transit and destinations but also for the migrants themselves. A key message from the debate was thus not only the need for governments to acknowledge the significance of the international phenomena as an enduring feature of the 21st century but also to accept the responsibility for addressing it’s impact through multidimensional policy responses both domestically as well as internationally. Proactive governments playing a major role in shaping the flow and managing the interests of all concerned parties and can therefore create a ‘triple win’ for all concerned parties.

The third and last of the series of working groups, ‘Demographic Challenges of the 21st century was held in Stockholm on the 7th and 8th of June 2005.  The participants examined the phenomena of declining fertility rates below replacement levels which has occurred across Europe since the post Second World War boom. As a result of this development, a large population cohort is about to pass into retirement at the same time as smaller cohorts enter the labour market for the first time.

In assessing how progressive governments might meet this challenge, the working group focused on key questions such as how younger people (particularly women) can be encouraged to enter the labour market earlier and how old individuals can be encouraged to remain in employment for longer periods. The participants also examined how our current welfare system corresponds to the current challenges and how to create a sustainable pension system need still to find efficient solutions.

One of the main conclusions emerging from these discussions was the importance of governments offering support for young families, to make family life and work compatible through improved universal childcare and extended parental leave to increase labour market participation.

The documents and papers which have been presented during these meetings will serve Policy Network as the basis for the draft of a policy note, to be discussed by the Heads of State and Governments at the Progressive Governance Summit in 2005.

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