The International Competition Network (ICN) and the World Bank Group are pleased to announce the launch of the 2023 Competition Advocacy Contest. This contest aims to highlight the key role competition agencies, sector regulators and other governmental bodies or non-governmental organizations play in promoting competition by showcasing their advocacy success stories.
As defined by the ICN, competition advocacy refers to activities that promote a competitive environment through non-enforcement mechanisms, such as building relationships with government entities, increasing public awareness of competition’s benefits and identifying and removing anticompetitive policies and regulations.
We are looking for success stories from competition agencies, other public bodies or civil society that demonstrate the tangible results of competition advocacy under four themes:
Theme 1 – Embedding competition principles in public policies, especially when responding to crises
Public policies designed without considering competition principles can hinder market dynamics. From just-in-time responses to healthcare or cost-of-living crises, to revamped industrial policies, privatization/nationalization processes or state aid schemes, public policies should strive to achieve their intended outcomes, whilst fostering open markets and a level playing field. For instance, extensive government support in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, US$4.6 trillion by 2020 as per IMF estimations, amplified the risks around market power and competition, especially as supports tended to go to large, formal firms, SOEs, and generally more tech-enabled firms. Similarly, in June 2022, 34 countries imposed restrictions on exports on food and fertilizers in response to price shock in agricultural commodities and fertilizers (World Bank). When protecting competition may not be on the top of the policy agenda, competition advocacy becomes even more important.
Examples of initiatives recognized under this category include impactful initiatives to enhance policy design through competition principles.
Theme 2 – Advocating for competition across borders to meet global challenges
Countries and competition authorities face common challenges when addressing restrictions to competition, regardless of their regulatory frameworks or economic development, especially in the context of markets that are no longer bound by national borders. International cooperation initiatives to promote competition are key for facing regional and global challenges. Digital markets, relatively unconstrained by borders, are estimated to contribute more than 15% of global GDP. Supranational competition authorities cover more than 100 countries and anticompetitive practices are increasingly multijurisdictional, with the WBG database on cartels having identified 56 international cartels sanctioned only in the past 5 years. Multijurisdictional cooperation mechanisms, whether bilateral and multilateral, can be used to achieve results that build on joint strengths and peer experience.
Examples of initiatives recognized under this category include international cooperation initiatives to embed competition in domestic and global markets (e.g., supranational mechanisms to promote competition, joint bilateral or multilateral competition projects with tangible results or initiatives to support pro-competition results in foreign markets).
Theme 3 – Reinforcing market institutions to deliver better market outcomes
Strong market institutions, e.g. competition authorities, sector regulators, independent agencies and other public bodies that can shape market outcomes, are critical for promoting private sector development and driving economic growth. Reinforcing the resources and mandates of market institutions to embed competition principles in regulations, promote the synergies between competition and other policies such as consumer protection or data protection, and foster interinstitutional cooperation, especially when dealing with overlapping mandates, is key given that competition concerns often span across different sectors and institutional mandates. For instance, in digital markets and e-commerce antitrust, data protection and consumer protection often overlap with almost 70% of enforcement cases on media/communications raising data protection issues as per the WBG Global Digital Antitrust Database. Therefore, one well-supported response to the intersection of privacy and competition law has been to create new models of interagency coordination, as per the 2021 ICN Intersection Project Report.
Examples of initiatives recognized under this category include inter-institutional mechanisms (MoUs, joint procedures, formal/informal networks) to tackle competition challenges; strategies to reinforce the role of competition authorities, regulators and other market institutions to promote competition and connect it to other policies; regulatory sandboxes bringing together different institutions and regulatory frameworks to promote competition in new markets.
Theme 4 – Supporting the climate change agenda through competition policy
Governments and competition authorities are increasingly committed to leveraging competition policy as a tool to support climate action and promote sustainability more effectively. Often climate policy and competition policy coincide or reinforce each other as per the 2021 ICN Sustainable Development and Competition Law Report. In a WBG tracker of 2,500 industry support responses following the COVID-19 crisis, 891 were “green” policy measures, with most measures aim to increase Renewable Energy (15%), improve Energy Efficiency (14%), foster Innovation and R&D (7%), and promote Circular Economy (3%). By promoting competition in essential markets for climate action (e.g., renewable energy, batteries, climate resilient seeds), governments and competition authorities can encourage companies to invest in sustainable solutions and which can ultimately help to reduce environmental damage and mitigate the impacts of climate change.
Competition advocacy can take various forms, from identifying and removing regulatory barriers to entry in green markets, to developing guidelines to limit competition distortions of green transition measures or embed competition principles in green industrial policies.
Competition agencies, sector regulators and other government bodies and non-governmental organizations promoting competition policy are welcome to apply.
If you are not a member of the ICN, you should reach out to the ICN member in your jurisdiction to inform about your intention to participate in the contest. A list of all ICN members is available here. Joint submissions from ICN members and government bodies or non-governmental organizations are encouraged.
In order to participate, candidates must complete the online survey. Key information required to apply includes:
information below will be used for blind review. While answering, don’t identify your institution or jurisdiction. Please use generic words like "legislation", "agency", "region" or "country" to avoid identification.
A summary of the advocacy initiative. Please include information covering (i) socioeconomic relevance of the intervention, (ii) the issue tackled by the initiative, (iii) the solution proposed/implemented and/or (iv) impact when available. (150 words)
The competition issue under assessment. (150 words)
The strategy used to address the issue. It can include, for instance, communication strategy, stakeholders involved, resources allocated, evidence building. (150 words)
The main messages and recommendations conveyed by the advocacy activity. (150 words)
Collaboration with other agencies/organization and stakeholders. (150 words)
The results of the initiative. For example: (i) recommendations were implemented by public bodies, (ii) opinions were published or disseminated, (iii) other immediate changes generated by the initiative. (150 words)
Information whether the initiative (i) is inspired by initiatives of other jurisdictions, (ii) is inspired by other initiatives in your jurisdiction, or (iii) inspired other initiatives locally or abroad. Please provide brief information on other initiatives if applicable.
Effective or expected socioeconomic impacts. For instance, level of consumer savings, investment, value added, entry of new firms, others. (150 words)
Lessons learned with the initiative. (150 words)
Stories submitted to previous editions of the contest that were not awarded are eligible for resubmission.
The online survey is the only valid application method. Applications through email messages or that fail to provide the required information in compliance with indicated character limits and blind review standards will not be considered.
Please contact Alex Ciborowska with any questions at email@example.com.
The deadline for submissions is June 23, 2023 (11h59 pm, Washington D.C. time).
Submissions will undergo a rigorous assessment of the following criteria:
- Relevance of the competition issue tackled by the initiative;
- Success of the advocacy activity - results achieved;
- Impact and effects on markets, spillover effects and lessons learned;
- Advocacy strategy - creativity and originality, cooperation mechanisms deployed.
An independent panel will review the submissions and select the top stories. Winning applicants will be invited to present their stories at a joint ICN-World Bank Group event.
Winners and honorable mentions will be announced in advance of the 2023 ICN Annual Conference.
- Dates: May 22 -June 23, 2023
- Location: Online
- CONTACT: Alex Ciborowska