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OECD Forum 2011: Better policies for better lives

Uncertainty about the future, eagerness to devise new ways of managing our economies, and to contribute to the debate on how to make better policies for better lives: these were just some of the discernable public moods at the OECD Forum, held on 24-25 May.

There was also a mood of celebration, as over 2,000 people attended to mark the 50th anniversary of the OECD. Some of the world’s leading thinkers and doers, movers and shakers, were gathered as heads of state and political leaders–most of whom would also attend the OECD Ministerial Council Meeting on 25-26 May (see www.oecd.org/ mcm2011)– mingled with representatives of business, labour, civil society at the Forum to ensure a lively start to an historic OECD Week.

European Council President Herman Van Rompuy joined OECD Secretary-General Angel Gurría to open the debates by outlining the achievements of the OECD, and expressing confidence in the future. However, serious challenges had to be confronted and overcome: “We are not out of the woods yet,” Mr Gurría said, wondering if the crisis had not “merely changed its face.”

These remarks lit the tone of the debates over the next two days, with rich discussions and Idea Factories on innovation, new sources of growth, jobs, the environment, gender, social policies, public trust, corporate responsibility, development, trade, and more. Short, lively summaries of the public debates, as well as lists of speakers, video clips and photos, can be seen at www.oecd.org/forum2011

Your Better Life Index

A highlight of the 50th anniversary Forum was the launch of Your Better Life Index, an attractive online database which lets users from the public decide which factors they believe count most in measuring wellbeing. On a simple, user-friendly website, thousands of people from all over the world were able to test out how countries perform against their preferences, and share their views and index scores with other members of the public, through social media and so on. This important initiative by the OECD is part of a pioneering project to go beyond traditional measures of economic output, such as GDP, and involve the public in the process of finding, and building, measures of people’s broader well-being. Such was the success of the launch of the Better Life Index that for a time, the server it was being hosted on briefly overloaded. Since the launch, nearly half a million people have visited the site and some 20,000 indexes have been shared.

Create Your Better Life Index at www.oecdbetterlifeindex.org

©OECD Observer No 285, Q2 2011




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