July 21-23, 2020, Cambridge UK

3 DAYS / 10 Workshops
MORE THAN 200 ACADEMIC PAPERS

Domestic Policy Making and Governance in Saudi Arabia

The following workshop tries to reach a better and more balanced understanding of the contemporary processes of domestic policy making and governance in Saudi Arabia. Comprehension of these two areas is particularly pertinent given the importance of the National Transformation Plan 2020 and Saudi Vision 2030. The term governance specifically as related to domestic policy making has increased in usage as evidence mounts on the critical ro ...


The following workshop tries to reach a better and more balanced understanding of the contemporary processes of domestic policy making and governance in Saudi Arabia. Comprehension of these two areas is particularly pertinent given the importance of the National Transformation Plan 2020 and Saudi Vision 2030. The term governance specifically as related to domestic policy making has increased in usage as evidence mounts on the critical role it plays in determining societal well-being. As Graham et al (2003) argue governance is not synonymous with government and indeed, this confusion of terms can have unfortunate consequences. Rather governance is about how governments and other social organizations interact, how these relate to citizen concerns and aspirations, and how decisions are taken in an increasingly complex and interconnected world. Thus governance as related to domestic policy making is a process whereby societies, institutions and/or organizations make important decisions, determine whom they involve in the process and how they render account. Indeed, Bevir (2011) argues that governance poses dilemmas that require new governing strategies that span jurisdictions, link people across levels of government 2 and civil society as well as mobilizing a variety of stakeholders. Furthermore, governance arrangements are often hybrid practices combining public-private sectors and individuals and institutions across different policy fields. In fact, effective governance is fundamental on all domestic levels, whether local, regional or national, but in today’s rapidly changing and developing socio-economic and socio-cultural environments necessitates new ways of thinking and working together. Drawing on the comparative experience of academics, researchers, policy-makers and practitioners with knowledge and experience of domestic policy making and governance in a) Saudi Arabia, b) the region c) relevant expertise in policy making and governance issues and d) from a theoretical perspective, the workshop will analyse the factors that either currently facilitate or constrain effective and viable domestic policy making and governance issues. Academics and practitioners would be drawn from a wide-range of backgrounds and institutions with the aim of not only comparing and capturing experiences, but also seeking ways in which to enhance, support and underpin a more effective way of comprehending domestic policy making and governance in Saudi Arabia. 

Background It is our strong belief that we cannot understand a state without studying its society or in the case of Saudi Arabia diverse societies sometimes with differing norms spread over a wide geographic area. However, much of the literature, analysis and reportage on Saudi Arabia focuses on areas of ‘high politics’ such as foreign policy whilst disregarding the less ‘glamorous’ area of ‘low politics’. Yet, young people are the key to Saudi Arabia’s future prosperity, and this necessitates studying the issues—many in the area of ‘low politics’—that they believe are important such as employment, housing, and the rising cost of living; all of which in turn affect getting married and starting a family. Indeed, the Kingdom’s demographics are vital to understanding challenges facing Saudi Arabia. At least 60 per cent of the total population is less than 30 years old. Moreover, improved educational standards, the impact of online public opinion and demands for greater government transparency via increased social media usage have raised expectations of more government accountability as well as increased participation in decision-making processes. That said the Saudi government understands the need to address societal needs and concerns. As part of the National Transformation Plan 2020 and Saudi Vision 2030 domestic institutions have been established that deal with domestic policy making and governance issues. These include, for example, King Salman Center for Local Governance, King Salman Youth Center, the Small and Medium Enterprises General Authority and General Authority for Entertainment. Furthermore, most Saudi ministries have implemented e-government services and opened social media accounts to narrow the gap between government bureaucracy and the public. 3 Workshop goals The overall goal of the workshop is to encourage scholars and practitioners to better understand the complexity of Saudi domestic policy making and governance. The workshop focusses on both challenges and opportunities present in the contemporary socio-economic and cultural spheres as well as ways and means by which these can be addressed. Therefore, the questions animating this workshop could include: 1. Why is good governance important and why is there a need for good governance? 2. To what extent should the views and concerns of Saudi Arabia’s diverse societies inform domestic policy making? What are the most effective ways of accommodating such views and concerns, especially at a local level? 3. What can Saudi Arabia learn from the governance models of other states and/or regional groupings? 4. To what extent have e-government and ministerial social media accounts narrowed the gap between bureaucracy and the public? How can we measure this? Can this be measured accurately and if so, what conclusions can be drawn? 5. How can we define and understand governance hybrids in Saudi Arabia? To what extent do public-private policy domains overlap? What lessons can be drawn from experiences in other countries under transformation? 6. How can Saudi Arabia maximise its demographic dividend, namely its youthful population? What policies should be implemented and in which sectors? 7. Skills for our tomorrow: are we educating young people for the jobs of today or the jobs of the future? For example, to what extent will automation and artificial intelligence (AI) affect the Saudi labour market? What are the implications for education and employment policies? 8. How do you put in place new and inclusive governing structures that facilitate, support and sustain transformational change? 9. How can Saudi Arabia’s youthful population contribute meaningfully to the decision-making processes and help align new polices with aspirations? 10. How do the World Bank and other international organisations’ definitions and operationalization of governance—and good governance—conform to Saudi Arabia’s contemporary models of governance? How will those governance models be required to change to accommodate the kingdom’s transformation? 11. What role can Saudi Arabia’s youth play in helping transform the kingdom’s bureaucracy, making leading institutions more efficient and customer-oriented? 12. How can Saudi youth contribute towards the governance of the non-profit sector, as it expands to support fulfil aspects Vision 2030 and furthers the advance of volunteerism? 




Share on



More

Details


Workshop

Directors


Dr Neil

Quilliam

Associate Fellow -
Chatham House - Middle East & North Africa Programme



Dr. Mark

C Thompson

Senior Associate Fellow -
King Faisal Centre for Research and Islamic Studies


Copyright ©️ 2009-2020 Gulf Research Centre Cambridge. All rights reserved.
Terms, Conditions and Privacy Policy