Halduskultuur conference discussed global practices of local governance
This year’s Halduskultuur – Administrative Culture conference “Local Governance, Decentralization and Participation: Meta-Governance Perspectives” on April 27-28th featured 24 speakers from 9 countries who explored the challenges faced in local level policy making.
Meta-governance approaches were analyzed through policy initiatives around world including Estonia and how they could foster co-operation between public, private and civil society organizations. Meta-governance, as it was concluded, should serve as a platform for creating empowerment, mediation, accountability and responsibility for actors from different spheres of the society if they are to solve policy problems together. It was also noted at the conference that the opportunities provided by the meta-governance approaches could serve as counterweight for New Public Management principles that are beginning to come back in favor in some parts of the world.
The opening keynote speech was delivered by Dr. Allan Rosenbaum from Florida International University (on the photo) in which he used examples mainly from Second World countries to describe some positive effects that local level democratization has had on economic development. However, he concluded that the success of decentralization tends to depend on the context, because research has so far not produced any clear conclusions whether it is an entirely positive phenomena. According to Dr. Rosenbaum the only pattern in this matter that has been clearly identified is the positive correlation between a country’s wealth and the extent to which it has emphasized on subnational government, such as the proportion of governmental expenditures oriented towards the local level, which in Western democracies ranges around 50-60 % of public expenditures, in Latin-America about 20 % and in Africa only about 10%.
The conference was hosted by the Department of Public Administration (DPA) for 14th time and traditionally served as a gathering place for DPA’s institutional friends, who this year represented Florida International University, German University of Administrative Sciences Speyer, The British University in Dubai and Central European University, among others. The best conference papers will be featured after peer review in the 2013 April edition of Halduskultuur journal – a social science journal that became fully-refereed in 2005 and by early 2012 had established itself as the social science journal with the highest impact factor in the Baltic States.
Conference delegates at the reception hosted by Tallinn City Government at Tallinn Old City Hall.