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  •   Gore to Host A Global Forum on Reinvention

    By Stephen Barr
    Washington Post Staff Writer
    Monday, December 21, 1998; Page A15

    Vice President Gore today will announce an international conference, to be held here next month, that will explore ways governments can streamline and improve their bureaucracies as a way of enhancing their economic competitiveness.

    Gore will preside at the two-day event, called the Global Forum on Reinventing Government, which aides said grew out of the vice president's five-year effort to shake up the Washington bureaucracy and bilateral talks with leaders in a number of nations.

    "Inefficient, slow-moving, overly centralized government can be one of the drags on the progress of the private sector, especially in the high-speed, high-tech economy of the 21st century," Gore said in a statement.

    "To promote prosperity in the new economy," Gore said, "nations will have to reinvent their economic and regulatory institutions to respond to citizens and markets in a more flexible and efficient manner."

    The international conference has been in the planning stages for three to four months, and the decision to go forward with it was made weeks before the impeachment crisis took center stage at the White House, Gore aides said. The conference, starting Jan. 14, will be held just days before the president's scheduled State of the Union address.

    The conference is one of two international events that Gore will host early next year. In February, representatives from more than 60 nations will join Gore to talk about government corruption and tactics to fight corruption in armies, police forces, border forces and judicial systems.

    Both conferences will give Gore a platform to speak out on global issues as he prepares for a presidential campaign in 2000.

    Elaine Kamarck, a former Gore adviser helping to organize the forum, said participants would reflect "an interesting international convergence where you have countries at radically different stages of economic growth all of a sudden understanding that the sensible administration of government is absolutely critical to economic growth."

    For example, Kamarck said, the 1991 Maastricht Treaty, setting out the European monetary union, requires Europeans to reduce their budget deficits to 3 percent of gross domestic product. That step would likely require fundamental reforms of overburdened welfare and pension systems. Meanwhile, developing countries are trying to devise "social safety nets" for their citizens and want "to learn from the West and do better than the West," Kamarck said.

    Morley Winograd, a senior policy adviser to Gore, said the forum would give the vice president a chance "to take the reinvention message he has been preaching internally to the world and say it is important."

    A coalition of institutions interested in government reform will sponsor the conference, to which representatives from about 40 nations have been invited.

    The coalition includes Harvard University; the World Bank; the Inter-American Development Bank, which focuses on Latin America and the Caribbean; the State Department; the U.S. Information Agency; the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development, better known as OECD; the Brookings Institution; the Office of Management and Budget; and Gore's reform task force, the National Partnership for Reinventing Government.

    Kamarck said 48 nations have been invited to send representatives. Invitations also are being sent to academics and experts in government innovation, she said.

    Delegates will attend a series of workshops. World Bank President James F. Wolfensohn and Inter-American Development Bank President Enrique V. Iglesias will host lunches for the delegates.

    © Copyright 1998 The Washington Post Company

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