Organization for Economic Co-Operation & Development (OECD) Public Forum 2016 | Paris, France (May 31- June 1 2016)

The 2016 iteration of the Public Forum of the Organization for Economic Cooperation & Development (OECD) took place at OECD Headquarters in Paris, France from May 31 - June 1, 2016. The Young Diplomats of Canada (YDC) sent a delegation of five exceptional young Canadians to represent Canada and its youth. The Delegation was comprised of Gautham Krishnaraj (Head Delegate), Gabrielle Bishop (Media Coordinator), Sabrina Ostrowski (Returning YDC Ambassador), Julia Peng, and Samuel Samson. Delegates drew upon experiences from five provinces and territories of Canada, and several international academic and professional engagements.

The Forum functioned on a multiple concurrent session layout, with three major conference rooms (#oecdred, #oecdblue, #oecdgreen) where the main panel discussions and program launches occurred. Smaller sessions included “Talks with the Author”, “IdeaFactory”, “Panels with Lunch”, “Talk Together”, and more. The theme of the Forum “Productive Economies, Inclusive Societies” guided the discussions through a healthy diversity of topics. The YDC Delegation divided topics amongst interested delegates to achieve comprehensive coverage of the two days. Particularly notable speakers included President Michelle Bachelet, Nobel Laureate Kailash Satyarthi & OECD Secretary General Angel Gurria.

Successes: Smaller side sessions were very interactive. YDC was also heavily engaged on Twitter, providing >50% of the questions addressed in several sessions (ie Life, Time & Work in 21st cent.)

Challenges: Sessions pertaining to youth lacked youth panelists, low engagement in larger sessions.

The YDC Delegation was also able to arrange three external meetings, to enhance their understanding of Canadian engagement with the OECD and bilateral relations with the French Government. The Delegation thanks Deputy Head of Mission Graeme Clark (Canadian Embassy in France), Darren Rogers (Canadian Permanent Delegation to the OECD), and Dominique Levasseur (Canadian Mission to UNESCO) for their time and valuable insights.

Successes: Discussions with UNESCO proved particularly fruitful, possible future collaboration on education/advocacy related projects.

Challenges: Logistics. Would suggest earlier organization to allow for more meetings to be booked.

The YDC Delegation was also pleased to organize two unofficial social side events for other Youth Delegates to the OECD; the first being a welcome dinner (attended by New Zealand, Poland, Brazil, Australia Delegations) and the latter being at the local Canadian Pub, The Moose (attended by Poland, Brazil and various individuals). We believe these connections to be equally valuable to those made in the Forum, as they will foster future collaborations with youth and opportunities to promote youth diplomatic engagement world wide.

Successes: Canadian presence was felt and youth from other countries more aware of YDC engagement.

Challenges: Struggled to find way to carry conversation beyond OECD. Correspondence to continue.


May 31st
OECD Forum Opening Session 
“That set the tone to the Forum. It was the occasion to outlook the priorities, most recent accomplishments and work in progress in OECD. Was also an occasion to meet and keep in touch with main actors.”

Gen Y, Inequality & the Future
“This session highlighted the main stakes and challenges for the new generations in a world in continual upheveal. It shows new opportunities as well as gaps for Gen Y and Millenials. It finally established a profile of the issues and responses to give.”

“While I found the topic to be interesting, I don’t think the session attained a sufficient level of representation. The youngest speaker was 35 years old, barely qualifying to be a “millennial”. Would have loved more discussion on potential solutions to rising inequality.”

Redesigning Mobility - Smart Arctic Transport
“The speakers were industry-focused, not policy- focused. Would have liked there to be a combination of both industry and policy professionals, as the Arctic is a very political issue.”

IdeaFactory – The Digital World and the Future of Work
“The IdeaFactory was definitely my favourite session of the Forum. With other participants, we defined a political, economical and ethical frame for the future of work and technologies in our societies. The statement I suggested - to implement the " Consciousness aspect " of the question in the frame – was adopted by over 80 % of the participants. That session was also the best opportunity for real networking. It was constructive, creative and concrete.”

“Definitely one of the most interesting group brainstorming scenarios I’ve been in. The idea factory split people up randomly and placed people of different ages, backgrounds, and experience together. The Chief Economist of the OECD was leading a group of 6 people beside me. Each group was responsible for analyzing a particular section of society, and projecting growth out to 2030. Very thought provoking exercise, especially when you combine sectors.”

2030 Sustainable Development Agenda
As I am working with United Nations ECOSOC for DDO, that session contributed to open my mind to new considerations. It also gave me tools to resolve barriers and spread a interesting portrait of different initiatives in the World.

21st Century Skills
Based on a book, that session gave an overview of skills to develop in the 21st Century and to develop and implement these skills for better societies.

Skills for the Future
That session was complementary to the previous one, but went further in the relection with a panel and a cross-sectoral approach.

June 1st
Children Advising Business and Government

As I am developing a project in a same vein, that session was more than interesting to me. It also gave me the opportunity to create a new partnership with the speaker for that projet.

Ministerial Council Meeting Chair Keynote Speech & Presentation of the Economic Outlook
That session enlightened us to the work lead by the Minister during the Conference in interaction with the Forum. The outlook session gave an overview of the new OECD datas, with a strong analysis and conclusions.

Mindfulness, Productivity and Better Working Life
In the context of new paradigms interested with the power of human mind, that session explored the possibilities offered by mindfulness for better efficiency and then, for better and even more productive societies.

Life, Time and Space in the 21st Century
The YDC delegation was definitely the most active in this panel. Many of the issues discussed here impact the younger generation. Would have loved more discussion on how these policy proposals will play out differently depending on a country’s specific culture.

A New Agenda for Growth : The next Production Revolution
This session was exploring the wide-ranging subject of new paradigms applied to growth, in the actual World’s context. We learned interresting ways of doing things and facts.

Child well-being
It is well known that children represent the Future of the World. That session was an exploration of this theme and the different aspects related to the right and opportunities of socialization related with children.

The Circular Economy
In a world dominated by a classical neo-liberal ideology, that session explored the opportunities related with a circular economy and the different aspects linked.

Finreg and Fintech
The most interesting panel discussion during the whole forum. Would have liked more diversity in the panel (many panelists were either ex-investment bankers or policy makers; there was only 1 person actually experienced in the industry).