THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Vice President
For Immediate Release
Monday, December 21, 1998
VICE PRESIDENT GORE TO CHAIR GLOBAL FORUM ON REINVENTING GOVERNMENTWashington, DC -- Vice President Gore today announced that the first-ever global conference on reinventing government -- to include high-level representatives from nearly 40 countries -- will be held in Washington, DC on January 14-15, 1999 at the U.S. Department of State.
The conference, "Strategies for 21st Century Government: A Global Forum on Reinventing Government," will bring together officials who understand the vital link between efficient government and a prosperous economy and are eager to share ideas and effective practices for making government "work better and cost less." Vice President Gore, who leads the Clinton Administration's reinventing government initiative, will chair the event and deliver the conference keynote address.
"One of the strongest economic advantages a country can enjoy in the 21st century is a democratic government that is efficient, effective, and has the strong support of its people," Vice President Gore said.
"Inefficient, slow-moving, overly-centralized government can be one of the greatest obstacles to the progress of the private sector -- especially in the high-speed, high-tech economy of the 21st century," Vice President Gore said. "To promote prosperity in the new economy, nations will have to reinvent their economic and regulatory institutions to respond to citizens and to markets in a more flexible and efficient manner."
At the start of the Clinton/Gore Administration, President Clinton asked Vice President Gore to work with federal employees to make the United States government work better and cost less. As a result of reinventing government initiatives led by the Vice President over the past five years, the U.S. government has eliminated 250 outdated government programs, slashed more than 16,000 pages of regulations, cut more than 640,000 pages of internal rules, helped balance the federal budget for the first time in 30 years by saving more than $137 billion, and cut more than 351,000 employees to create the smallest federal government, on a percentage basis, since the 1930s.
"We've taken these lessons of reinvention straight from federal employees themselves and from their counterparts in the private sector,"Vice President Gore said. "In the 1970s, when U.S. industry faced lower profits and shrinking market share, business leaders stepped forward to reinvent the culture of their corporations. They rediscovered the customer, and began giving their employees the training, trust, and authority they needed to serve the customer."
"These principles are working now in the U.S. government," Gore said. "But we know that reinvention requires a sustained 8 to 12 year effort before it really takes hold. That's why we are eager to deepen our commitment to reinvention -- and advance the efforts of our neighbors --by sharing ideas and effective practices with governments across the world."
Vice President Gore will open the conference, deliver the keynote address, and then chair the first-day plenary session, examining the factors that have forced countries worldwide to confront the challenge of government efficiency and reform. Following a luncheon discussion at the Inter-American Development Bank, participants will meet in workshops to discuss a variety of subjects, including service to the citizen, government regulation and transparency, and measuring government performance. The second-day opening plenary will address strategies for improving service to the citizen and then lead into six workshops, each featuring a separate government innovation pioneered by federal, state, and local governments from the U.S. as well as from different governments around the world. After a luncheon address at the World Bank, the conference will reconvene in plenary session to explore the use of information technologies to transform government. The conference will conclude with remarks by Vice President Gore.
"Strategies for 21st Century Government: A Global Forum on Reinventing Government" is sponsored by the Innovations in American Government program at Harvard University's John F. Kennedy School of Government, the Inter-American Development Bank, the World Bank, the National Partnership for Reinventing Government in the Office of the Vice President of the United States, the Brookings Institution, the U.S. Office of Management and Budget, the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development, and the United States Information Agency.
The Global Forum on Reinventing Government will be followed six weeks later by another international conference hosted by Vice President Gore: "The Vice President's Conference on Fighting Corruption and Safeguarding Integrity Among Justice and Security Officials." This conference, to be held in Washington, DC from February 24-26, 1999 at the U.S. Department of State, will bring together representatives of more than 60 countries to organize a new global effort to fight corruption among key justice, security and budget officials.
The two conferences share an underlying conviction: governments that gain and maintain the public trust will lead the world in promoting prosperity in the global economy of the 21st century.
"Honest, efficient governance is absolutely essential if governments are to build on the public trust that makes democracy possible," Vice President Gore said. "Ensuring the integrity and efficiency of government will strengthen our democracies and help us accelerate, instead of suffocate, the entrepreneurial initiative that is the surest path to progress and prosperity in the 21st century."