OECD Global Forum: Building Trust and Reinforcing Democracy

Global Forum Agenda


1 : November 17, 2022
08:30 - 09:20
Plenary Session 1: Taking the pulse in OECD democracies: Trust in public institutions 
In the context of multiple simultaneous crises and with information ecosystems under strain, as well as increasing expectations of citizens on participation, representation and government integrity, trust is an indicator to measure how citizens perceive the quality of, and associate with, public institutions. In democratic countries where citizens are free to report low trust in institutions and where trust fluctuates over time, trust has been low in many settings since the Global Financial Crisis. The 2021 OECD Survey of the Drivers of Trust in Public Institutions provides, for the first time, a comprehensive view of what drives trust in institutions and how to strengthen the resilience of democracies. This session will discuss how governments can deepen the democratic model and the various levers to improve trust.
09:20 - 10:10
Plenary Session 2: Strengthening information ecosystems and tackling mis- and disinformation
The increased spread of mis- and dis-information significantly alters public debates, fuels polarisation, and threatens democracy and stability in both advanced and developing countries. Both national whole-of-society and more global solutions are needed in the short- and long-term to enhance a healthy information landscape, which is a core element of the solidity of democratic systems. Russia’s aggression against Ukraine has highlighted the need for democracies to fight for truth and to reinforce spaces for fact-based engagement and debate. Responses to the threats posed by mis- and dis-information are multi-disciplinary and include protecting media freedom, improving media and information literacy and promoting effective public communication. To be effective in the 21st century, public policy responses also need to address the role of global social media platforms and identify innovative policy and regulatory solutions that improve the information space and preserve freedom of speech. It is now widely recognised that a whole of society approach is needed, requiring new types of partnerships between governments, civil society, and social media. This session will provide an opportunity for a multi-stakeholder discussion on tackling mis- and dis-information globally and in different country contexts and strengthen democratic resilience.
10:10 - 10:30
10:30 - 12:20
Plenary Session 3: Reinforcing integrity and countering undue influence in democracies
Integrity is an inherent value of democracy that ensures that the government responds to the interests of the people. From elections to policy implementation, integrity ensures that everybody has a voice, that elected officials properly represent and respond to the interests of their constituencies, that there is no undue influence of government policies, and that overall the action of government is aligned with the public interest. Solid integrity systems also help to strengthen the resilience of democracies to foreign interference by non-democracies. This session will unpack how governments can further strengthen integrity in elections, political affairs, and policymaking.
11:55 - 13:15
13:15 - 14:10
Parallel session 1: Youth empowerment and intergenerational justice
OECD data show that younger people tend to have lower trust in public institutions. They also continue to lack a voice in public life. For instance, only 22% of members of parliament are younger than 40 and in some OECD countries less than 5% of the central government workforce are 35 years or younger. It is now well established that the COVID-19 crisis has affected young people disproportionately, with likely consequences on their trust in public institutions. At the same time, young people have led social movements to demand greater ambition in tackling climate change and played an important role in building societal resilience during the pandemic. This session will provide the opportunity to discuss how governments can further empower young people in democratic processes and promote the well-being of today’s young and future generations, also in the context of ageing populations.
Parallel session 2: Protecting civic space and enhancing participation and representation
While in many countries, civic space is under strain and political participation is declining, democracies are renewing their commitment to civil liberties with innovative ways to meaningfully involve citizens in public decision-making, especially at the local and city levels. Through innovative tools these initiatives are seeking to empower citizens in public affairs and the oversight of government, for example in the form of open government, citizens’ assemblies, consultative platforms, crowdsourcing initiatives, civic activism, and many others. These initiatives form a strong evidence-base of 'what works', and the most recent trend has been to embed these processes as new institutions that give citizens greater voice between elections. This session will explore how new forms of citizen participatory and deliberative institutions, often facilitated by digital innovations, are contributing to expanding civic participation and political representation, helping build trust between citizens and the state, and revitalising the democratic fabric.
Parallel session 3: I Citizen, Digital democracy
The accelerated digital transformation of governments, economies and societies bears important implications for the functioning of democracy. Reinforcing and renewing democracy in the digital age is a multifaceted and complex issue, which calls for exploring the critical opportunities that digitalisation provides for democratic participation and representation, as well as government transparency, responsiveness, and accountability, while mitigating the risks presented by digital tools to democracy. Governments in many democracies are grappling with these challenges, advancing innovative initiatives, and developing normative frameworks to enhance digital rights and protect democracy. This session will bring together actors from different sectors and geographies to discuss what the digital age means for democracy and how governments are seizing the opportunities and addressing the challenges.
14:10 - 14:20
14:20 - 15:25
Parallel session 4: Accountable public administrations for stronger democracies in Eastern and Southeastern Europe and MENA - focus on Ukraine
Promoting and supporting continuous adherence to democracy, individual liberty, rule of law, protection of human rights and free market economy is crucial for global peace, security and stability. This session will provide an opportunity for a multi-stakeholder debate on the impact the war in Ukraine will have on the development of democracy and good governance in the Eastern and Southern part of Europe. While even the oldest and most advanced democracies face challenges, countries in transition have to cope with more basic challenges of democratic governance. The panel will discuss how they could be addressed and how accountable, transparent and effective public administrations can help maintaining trust.
Parallel session 5: Toward green democracy: The role of Government
Ambitious global action on climate and the environment will call for a reshaping of public governance. Countries need to advance democratic consensus building and secure trust for green policies engaging with citizens through upgraded participatory channels. The complete range of public governance tools needs to be revamped to address these pressing challenges for the long haul. Governments also need to lead by example by greening their own operations and services. This session will discuss how governments can achieve this transformation and the opportunities this presents to prompt higher-quality public governance and democratic institutions that fit to deliver on green.
Parallel session 6: Addressing barriers to women’s representation
Ensuring that public institutions reflect the diversity of the population they serve can significantly contribute to enhancing their fairness and responsiveness, as well as to strengthening democracies’ capacity to deliver on global challenges effectively. Indeed, as forthcoming OECD research shows, gender-balanced representation in parliaments is associated with increased satisfaction with democracies and citizens’ trust in government decision-making. However, women’s representation and participation in public life continue to be hindered by long-standing and new barriers, including gender norms and stereotypes, work-life balance challenges, limited commitment by political parties, as well as harassment and cyber violence. This session will gather a variety of stakeholders to discuss the barriers to women’s representation and participation in democratic institutions and processes and explore the measures that government could take to prevent, address, and eliminate them effectively to promote stronger, more inclusive democracies.
15:25 - 15:30
15:30 - 16:15
Plenary Session 4: Current geopolitical challenges: consequences for official development assistance
The Development Assistance Committee (DAC) has a long-standing and strong commitment to open, democratic and inclusive societies and to use development co-operation to support democracy, the rule of law and human rights, including freedom of expression and peaceful assembly and association. Current events, and in particular the war in Ukraine, are redrawing the global geopolitical map in ways that will have immediate and far-reaching consequences for international development cooperation. This challenges how DAC members can continue pursuing the commitment towards enabling democratic governance, and will require adjusted and adapted approaches to better juggle the democratic agenda with contemporary challenges. This session will explore how official development assistance can continue support democratic forces in a fundamentally changing geopolitical context.
16:15 - 17:30
Concluding Session: Priorities for reinforcing democracy
The Global Forum will conclude with a Global High-Level Dialogue sharing its reflections on the main challenges affecting the democratic model of governance globally, and the opportunities and policy levers available to reinforce it and make it fit-for-purpose in the 21st century. Insights from this Dialogue will be reported to the OECD Ministerial Meeting on Reinforcing Democracy.