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Political leadership is critical in determining if a society is inclusive and shared

Political leadership is critical in determining if a society is inclusive and shared

January 25, 2011

Cassam Uteem, Co-chair of the Shared Societies Project, addressed the final plenary session of the International Seminar on Social Cohesion and Development, organised by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, OECD, and the International and Ibero-American Foundation for Administration and Public Policy (FIIAPP), Paris, 20-21 January, 2011. In his presentation Uteem addressed the issueof how to mainstream social cohesion into public policies. President Uteem emphasized the need to include political leadership as a vital component to achieve a shared society or social cohesion.

“…Political leaders are critical in determining if a society is inclusive and shared or if it excludes and marginalises people and denies them opportunity”. 

He also highlighted the link between social cohesion and economic well-being and raised awareness of the Club de Madrid’s work on the Economic Rationale for Shared Societies. This project strand aims to provide a framework to achieve a new approach to both economic policy and inter-group relations which will be both more effective and fairer.
 
Other participants in the panel included Ignacio Soleto, Director of the International and Ibero-American Foundation for Administration and Public Policy (FIIAPP) and Jiantuo Yo, Programme Director of the China Development Research Foundation. Mr. Soleto, in describing FIIAPP’s work, spoke of social cohesion as necessary to build citizenship and consolidate democracy within societies. He also mentioned political will and institutional strength as necessary elements to achieve social cohesion. Mr Yu noted that the importance of distinct social identities is dynamic and is influenced by a variety of policies and social and economic trends. As a result, he noted that his country still faces many challenges for whilst progress has been made there are still many issues that need to be address.


The International Conference on Social Cohesion and Development aimed to deepen the understanding of the relationship between social cohesion and development. Both plenary and parallel sessions, offered opportunities to discuss various topics related to the conference theme such as employment, gender and migration. More information on the Seminar here
 
In his closing remarks, Mario Pezzini, Director of the OECD Development Centre, made a very positive recognition of Uteem’s contribution to the Seminar. Mr. Pezzini also underscored the important value for the OECD of the ongoing relationship with the Club de Madrid highlighting the unique added value brought by our Members experience, as former heads of state and government, which allows them to speak openly and frankly to current leaders. On this note, Mr Pezzini expressed the OECD Development Centre’s commitment to continue strengthening its collaborations with the Club de Madrid.

 

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Related Member

  • Cassam UteemPresident of the Republic of Mauritius (1992-1997, 1997- 2002) and Vice-President of the Club de Madrid
  • Carlos ValdésProgram Assistant - The Shared Societies Project

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