Photo: Christian Thiel. Policy Workshop „Government and the Law“ 2015

International Policy Workshop “Government and the Law” in preparation for the World Development Report 2017

12-13 November 2015 | International Policy Workshop | BMZ Berlin, Germany

What constitutes a well-functioning state? What criteria enable a state to promote a country's shared prosperity and drive sustainable development?  The World Development Report 2017 entitled “Government and the Law” will provide new insight into these fundamental development policy issues.

On November 12 and 13, 2015, an expert conference was held in the GIZ Berlin offices. The event was hosted by the BMZ and World Bank and organized by the GIZ's Development Policy Forum.

From 11 different countries, 50 representatives from politics, the scientific communities and on the ground travelled to Berlin to attend. Ingrid-Gabriela Hoven, Director General Global Issues - Sectoral Policies and Programmes at the BMZ, and Senior Vice President and Chief Economist of the World Bank Kaushik Basu, kicked off the conference.

In his opening address, Kaushik Basu said that while the importance of good governance for sustainable development has been understood for some time, the next World Development Report represented a opportunity to explore the most important factors for a well-functioning state that was both transparent and promoted the welfare of its citizens. He named the three dimensions of government the report would address: the prerequisites for a capable bureaucracy to secure growth, security and social justice long-term; the most effective forms of state power, both de jure and de facto; and how the law reflects the beliefs and aspirations of a given society.

Ingrid-Gabriela Hoven emphasized the crucial role of the topics addressed in the conference for achieving the Agenda 2030 sustainability goals. She noted that implementation gaps, why countries with ostensibly the same goals evidenced different levels of success in promoting development and dealing with crises, needed to be understood. Good governance, Hoven added, had always been fundamental to German development policy.

Yongmei Zhou, Co-Director of the World Development Report 2017, described the unequal distribution of property and prosperity in a country as a huge barrier to sustainable development, adding that it often went hand-in-hand with autocratic structures and corruption. Rudolf Mellinghoff, President of the Federal Fiscal Court and a member of the International Integrity Group, said independent, uncorrupt courts were essential to sustainable development.

Conference participants from Rwanda, Tunisia and the Republic of Moldova reported on successful initiatives for improving governance and the legal systems in their homelands. Conference participants expressed satisfaction with the exceptional quality of conference contributions. Luis F. Lopez-Calva, Co-Director for the World Development Report 2017, called the workshop an important milestone in the run-up to the World Development Report 2017.

Ute Eckertz from the BMZ “Sectoral and Thematic Policies: Governance; Democracy; Rule of Law; Freedom of Speech and of the Press” Division thanked all participants for the fruitful discussion that covered key issues like gender, human rights and political will. She expressed confidence that the World Development Report 2017 would contribute important findings to the international debate on development.

Photo: Ingrid-Gabriela Hoven (right) and Kaushik Basu (mid) open the expert conference. Copyright: Christian Thiel

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