The OECD event entitled "Government after Shock," which took place on 17 and 18 November 2020, was organized to trigger critical thinking on the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. The objective of this event was to guide governments and society towards a better future, operating differently. That way, they can escape from the situation they were in before the pandemic.

The November 17 event consisted of more than 65 local and thematic discussions, attended by more than 5,500 citizens, professionals, heads of government, and others involved. On November 18, a global forum was held, with heads of government and other professionals who discussed the global impact of the crisis and explored the various paths emerging as we emerge from it.

The enthusiastic participation of people from all over the world in the "Government after Shock" event showed that people care and see this time as a turning point for governments and society. The knowledge gained from this event aims to give impetus to changes based on the lessons learned from the crisis, summarized in the following points:

  • Faced with the crisis, Governments can work efficiently and function beyond the status quo.
  • They can all explore and treat the insecurity that arises from the uncertainty about the future as an opportunity.
  • Effective communication and citizen participation in decision-making build confidence in times of crisis.
  • Rapid digital transformation and good data management have a positive impact when they focus on the ‘human aspect.’
  • Complex problems require increased cooperation between different sectors, levels of government, and states.
  • Governments need to put citizen participation at the heart of policy-making. So they can stay in touch with the rapidly changing needs of society.

    The COVID-19 pandemic crisis is neither the first nor the last on the planet. We are already facing climate change and many other urgent challenges that require immediate action and transformation of the way governments operate, and they should also change their priorities.

    Governments have repeatedly shown strength, resilience, and adaptivity in responding to this crisis. However, these capabilities need to be built and maintained beyond crisis when urgency is less tangible and apparent. During the global forum "Government after the shock," three conditions emerged that historically apply in cases where the crisis led to change: "Was there capacity before the crisis? Did we see the future through the crisis? "Did we seize the opportunity at the end of the crisis?"

    The COVID-19 pandemic has shown that governments do have the ability to change, adapt and be flexible.

    Read here OECD's summary report on  the "Government After Shock" conference.

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