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The role of the private sector in building democracies that deliver prosperity and opportunity to all citizens is often overlooked. That is why the contribution made by private sector participants at the 8th Ministerial Conference of the Community of Democracies is particularly noteworthy. The Ministerial, which took place on July 22-24 in El Salvador, gathered representatives of governments, parliaments, civil society, the private sector, and youth in the capital of the Community’s 2013-2015 Presidency, San Salvador. The leading theme for El Salvador’s Presidency was “Democracy and Development.” About 800 participants from more than 70 countries attended.
The Conference facilitated more in-depth interactions between representatives of civil society, parliaments, the private sector, and youth in designated sectoral forums. These forums took place on the opening day of the Conference and met simultaneously to discuss the most urgent issues in their areas of expertise and make recommendations to the participating governments. The Center for International Private Enterprise (CIPE) organized a panel at the Private Sector Forum on the topic of Public-Private Dialogue (PPD).
The Private Sector Forum produced a Declaration that emphasizes the principles of dialogue and corporate social responsibility as key elements of progress toward democracy and development. The Declaration of the Private Sector Forum was subsequently presented to high-level government officials from around the world during the final day of the Ministerial.Read more...
Kosovo is one of the former Yugoslavia’s last regions to begin transitioning to a free-market democracy. While there has been some progress towards this goal, the process of change has been frustratingly slow. Many familiar with the region and its challenges would agree that a key barrier to reform is a weak and ineffective governance system, split among multiple agencies. This problem is manifested in an inefficient public sector that is burdened by a lack of transparency, accountability, and clearly defined roles for stakeholders. The absence of a governing principle for publicly owned enterprises (POEs) has contributed greatly to this confusion.Read more...
CIPE: Corporate social responsibility (CSR), or corporate citizenship, is becoming increasingly instrumental in defining the role of business in society. However, the debate over business’ responsibility is far from resolved. What are the main issues that companies face?
Mr. Young: My immediate response is that companies can sometimes sidestep the debate. Why should companies engage in the debate, as well as actively consider the implications of it, when making business decisions? This is a very important question and, unfortunately, often there are not many factors to which companies can relate from a business perspective. But, there are some.Read more...
One way to approach the complex challenges of post-conflict reconstruction is to view the process as a balancing act of providing sufficient humanitarian relief without compromising longer-term development objectives. These longer-term objectives include the development of institutions – both physical infrastructure and social structures and mechanisms – that allow free market democracy to take root. Ultimately, the success of countries in building democratic governance and providing economic opportunities will be the determining factor in achieving prosperity, peace, and sustainability.Read more...
Commenting on the 2002 World Championships in basketball, a Serbian sports journalist could not help but notice that the two finalists – the national teams of Argentina and FR Yugoslavia (Serbia and Montenegro) – had more in common than being the best teams in the competition. The journalist was quick to point out the irony that the two best teams in the world represented countries crippled by the policies of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank.
The journalist may have been correct in highlighting similarities between these two countries in terms of the developmental challenges they face. The problem with his comment, however, was that it was based on perceptions, not on thorough analysis of economic and political institutions. In fact, he could have not been further away from the truth in blaming the World Bank and the IMF for the development challenges of the two countries.Read more...
At the heart of every governance system is a board (or boards) of corporate directors, charged with directing and overseeing corporate affairs. If one views the board as an institution of control through representation, one must recognize a multitude of its possible organizational arrangements. Just as a variety of mechanisms of political representation—from different structures of parliamentary bodies through different requirements for political representation to different election procedures—is compatible with a genuine political governance, so is a variety of different arrangements of corporate boards compatible with a genuine business governance. A particular arrangement tends to reflect historical, socioeconomic, political, and cultural factors unique to a particular country much the same way its political governance system does.Read more...
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