Secretary-General's message

The events of this year lend deep significance to the Oslo Governance Forum. Since the beginning of 2011, millions of people have participated in movements for democracy and better governance. Millions more have followed with intense interest as dramatic and often inspiring changes have been set in motion. The issues you have come together to discuss are critical to supporting and underpinning the efforts of these movements as they strive to turn their aspirations and early achievements into a working, lasting reality.

You have gathered to exchange views and best practices in a wide range of areas -- from locally assessing governance to ensuring inclusive participation by a strong and active civil society; from advancing accountability and combating corruption to managing natural resources. These questions are not only fundamental for the nascent democracies now struggling to take shape; they are crucial to societies farther along in their transition. These know the painstaking work required to keep moving forward. They have important experiences and lessons to share.

I thank the Government of Norway, the United Nations Development Programme, the United Nations Democracy Fund, and all the other dedicated and steadfast partners who helped make this event happen. Above all, I thank the participants travelling from far and wide to share their stories. I hope all of you will be bold and imaginative in your deliberations. Even more important, I will count on you to ensure that the outcomes reach those who stand to benefit from them most.