By Hahm Hee-eun
Songdo | Nov. 28, 2018Policymakers and scholars from around the globe gathered at the 6th OECD World Forum on Statistics, Knowledge and Policy in Songdo Convensia Center, Incheon, on Nov. 27. The forum aims to reflect on the economic growth policy that is only centered on the gross domestic product (GDP) and to search for other indicators that can measure the quality of life.
This year’s forum was jointly organized by Statistics Korea and the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). Around 3,200 people from 102 countries participated in the event, including some of the world’s top figures, such as the OECD Secretary-General Jose Angel Gurria, Princess Petra Laurentien of the Netherlands, Nobel Prize winner Joseph Stiglitz, and economist Jeffrey D. Sachs.
The forum focused on three trends in particular under the theme “The Future of Well-being,”: digital transformation, the changing role of governance, and the emergence of the private sector as a key factor in influencing well-being outcomes. On Nov. 29, the last day of the forum, the Incheon Declaration, which ensures a better life for all, will be presented.
OECD Secretary-General Jose Angel Gurria said in his keynote speech, “New approaches in economic policies are needed to create a Better Life Index (BLI). This is also the case with the innovative growth initiative.” He added, “Yesterday I met with President Moon Jae-in. The president said the Korean government aims to establish an inclusive state. I answered that it is the right way of approaching the matter.”
On this day, President Moon Jae-in sent a congratulatory message through a video. He first thanked the OECD for their efforts to enhance the quality of life. Then he said, “The Korean government’s vision of an inclusive state fully accords with the inclusive policies pursued by the OECD. We will strive to achieve ‘inclusive growth,’ in which everyone can enjoy the benefit of growth, and an ‘inclusive society,’ where no one is discriminated against.”
In addition, President Moon also mentioned the OECD’s Framework for Policy Action on Inclusive Growth and Korea’s research examples. The president emphasized, “We hope that the Korean case could be helpful for countries that implement inclusive policies.”
Notably at this year’s forum, OECD introduced the ‘Report of the High-Level Expert Group on the Measurement of Economic Performance and Social Progress.’ The report is the second edition of a 2009 report, which shows the outcome of a five-year-long research project that began in 2014. Joseph Stiglitz, Jean-Paul Fitoussi and Martine Durand formed a panel to explain the report at a press conference.
When asked about what the most important social indicators are for Korea, the Nobel Prize winner Joseph Stiglitz said, “Inequality is an issue in Korea, although it isn’t as severe as in the U.S. However, the Korean government has a strong will to solve this issue.”
OECD Chief Statistician Martine Durand also said, “I know that President Moon is making a lot of efforts to enact laws for work and family life, such as shortening working time. OECD supports the efforts of the Korean government.”
The OECD World Forum was first launched in Palermo, Italy, in 2004, from an awareness that the ‘quality of life’ cannot be measured only by the GDP indicator. Since then it has analyzed statistics and knowledge in different social aspects, to propose better policies for a better life.
Previously, Korea hosted the third OECD World Forum in Busan in 2009. Up to now, Korea is the only country to hold two OECD world forums.