The seventh edition of the International Advisory Board Conference took place in Rotterdam on the 18th, 19th and 20th of May 2011. Twelve experts from various different countries around the world, led by Chairman Mr Alexander Rinnooy Kan, spent three intensive days debating the future necessary choices Rotterdam has to make in order to be able to guarantee sustainable economic growth for the coming decades.
The members of the International Advisory Board presented their recommendations to the Municipal Executive on Friday 20 May 2011.
During 2010 and 2011 the members of the Economic Development Board Rotterdam embarked on a comprehensive scenario study project called Rethinking Rotterdam. During this time the economic and social future of Rotterdam over the next 20 to 25 years was analysed and four possible scenario’s emerged, both positive and negative. The IAB was asked to consider possible future policy options against the background of these four scenario’s. As a result of this the members of the IAB advised on four main themes, keeping in mind the challenges raised by the scenario’s and possible future outcomes:
1. Make sure that Rotterdam becomes and remains an attractive city in which to live and work, with a strong underlying economy. The IAB gives several recommendations on how and why this should be achieved.
2. Focus on new types of governance structures and ensure decisive executive action. Rotterdam is excellent at making plans, but less proactive in the execution and implementation of these plans. Global developments call for new and decisive leadership. The IAB gives examples of how and why this should be achieved in Rotterdam.
3. Give priority to regional cooperation and include building alliances across the board – from economics,, to culture, to knowledge institutions, to healthcare – and look at a much larger area than just the towns in the immediate vicinity. There are many more opportunities out there and in order to be able to continue to compete globally more regional cooperation in necessary.
4. A recurring recommendation from the IAB is to focus more on making both the city and the port more sustainable. The IAB feels that the development towards a bio-based economy is an opportunity that Rotterdam should embrace whole-heartedly and without reserve. Efforts should be made to speed up this process within the city and port.