|World Economic and Social Survey 2010, forthcoming|
The World Economic and Social Survey in 2010 will examine the issue of policy coherence and coordination both in terms of specific policy areas in different chapters but also in terms of overall conceptual consistency. The volume will underline the importance of an integrated perspective on new and existing development challenges and suggest the key ingredients of the development agenda after 2015 (or, ideally, before that) and their implications for development cooperation of the future.
The ongoing economic crises in finance, energy, and food has provoked a deep questioning of the prevailing wisdom in development ideas and international cooperation. The recent exclusive focus on unregulated markets has proved inadequate to deal with financial crises at home, to prevent its spread internationally and, perhaps most significantly, to make progress in avoiding crises with the same damaging impact in the future. There is a growing recognition that the mix of public and private decisions, of state and market actors and of real and financial activity, has become dangerously lop-sided in recent years and needs to be rebalanced along all these fronts. Politicians, policy makers and academics are also beginning to rethink the relationship between the local, the regional and the global. Even so, the conceptual language of globalization continues to predominate in attempts to rethink the complexities of an interdependent but highly uneven global economy.
In the search for an alternative framework, “policy coherence and coordination” is set to take on growing prominence as an emerging global challenge. National governments often find themselves struggling to minimize trade-offs and resolve conflicts that arise among different policy objectives such as price stability and full employment, equity and efficiency, fiscal discipline and scaling-up of social spending, and external and internal equilibrium. Trade-offs are no less common in international policy making. These have intensified in recent years in such areas as intellectual property rights, international trade, financial openness and development assistance where the rules and resources administered by international agencies have come in to conflict with national goals and sensitivities. Conflict is also common in positions and actions of individual governments in different domains of global interdependence. Significant 21st century challenges include those of climate change and ageing populations, which add long-term inter-generational trade-offs to development , and complicate the process of multilateral policy cooperation.
Policy coordination and coherence is about recovering multilateral principles, weakened or abandoned in recent years, which encourage states to cede a degree of national sovereignty in return for coordinated international support and actions both to prevent unilaterally destructive behaviour and deliver desirable collective outcomes. These principles have resurfaced in the face of interrelated systemic crisis management. Extending these principles will require renewed multilateral disciplines, reform of existing international arrangements, and in some cases the design of new institutional mechanisms, so as to secure greater equity and symmetry between developing and advanced economies, and to bring coherence among rules applying to different spheres of economic activity such as trade and finance, and labour and capital so that difficulties in one field do not undermine relations and objectives pursued in others.
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