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Growth, trust, sustainability

Promoting inclusive growth; rebuilding trust; fostering sustainability: these were the three themes that drove discussions at the annual OECD Forum in May 2013. Since 2000 the OECD Forum has become a major stakeholder summit and is the traditional curtain raiser of OECD Week, being held in conjunction with the Ministerial Council Meeting. The public event provides an opportunity for people from all countries and backgrounds–business, labour, civil society, students and academics, as well as ministers–to debate and understand global challenges and to feed their views into the ministerial discussions. This year some 1,520 participants from 63 countries engaged with 176 speakers to discuss a range of pressing global issues, while millions more were able to participate online.

Reminding a packed audience of the importance of dignity in people’s lives in his opening speech, Crown Prince Haakon of Norway set the tone for the sessions that followed (see "Dignity and People"). These started with a presentation of the OECD Better Life Index, which received more than 2 million visits from 180 countries since its launch in 2011, through lively debates on the future of education, banks, small businesses, the global middle classes, energy and politics, to discussions about austerity versus growth, trust in government, and how global value chains are changing trade. Inequality, gender, tax, Africa’s renaissance, and the presentation of the latest biannual OECD Economic Outlook were features of the second day of the OECD Forum.

The OECD Forum is designed for full audience participation, with its “idea factories”, food for thought lunchtime debates, live tweeting and interactive social media platforms, as well as a special custom-designed Forum app.

The soundbites below give just a flavour of the discussions. See www.oecdforum.org for more detail.

© OECD Observer No 295 Q2 2013