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OECD Secretary-General

2015 New Year’s Wishes

 

Remarks by Angel Gurría, OECD Secretary-General, delivered at the OECD.

 

OECD, Paris
19 January 2015

(As prepared for delivery)



Mesdames et Messieurs les Ambassadeurs, Monsieur le Président de l’Association de Personnel, chers collègues et anciens collègues, Mesdames, Messieurs, Chère Lulu :


Je tiens d’abord à vous remercier de vous être rassemblés ici, à l’OCDE, le 8 janvier, pour rendre hommage aux victimes des attentats terroristes qui ont frappé Paris, en ce début d’année 2015. Je veux remercier en particulier les Secrétaires généraux adjoints Danvers, Kapferer et Kiviniemi et Monsieur l’Ambassadeur Duquesne pour les propos profonds et sincères qu’ils ont tenus à cette occasion.


J’ai rapidement avancé mon retour à Paris pour m’associer au Président Hollande et aux autres dirigeants lors de la Marche républicaine du 11 Janvier. Beaucoup d'entre vous se sont également joints à ce formidable rassemblement multiculturel en faveur de la paix et de l’unité et contre le terrorisme.


À ce moment-là, nous avons reçu une note d’une collègue française, Elsa Pilichowski, qui exprime la tristesse et le désarroi que nous ont causés ces tragiques événements. J’aimerais partager avec vous certains passages de cette note :


“Chers amis et chers collègues : Les événements survenus au siège de Charlie Hebdo marquent un tournant dont les conséquences sont difficiles à mesurer aujourd’hui (…) Que l’on aime Charlie Hebdo ou pas, que l’on partage ses idéaux politiques ou non, l’un ou l’autre des dessins politiquement incorrects du journal nous aura fait rire. Ces journalistes nous ont toujours accompagnés, en personne, par leurs dessins ou par leurs idées, dans les manifestations auxquelles nous avons pu participer au cours de notre vie. Ils étaient toujours là et toujours drôles. Ils étaient rebelles, irrespectueux, des anars, des gauchos, toujours la clope au bec. (…) C’est un choc qui nous ébranle tous. Plus personnellement, même si je suis bouleversé, cet événement me donne plus d’énergie encore pour construire un monde meilleur et plus pacifique, tout en gardant au fond de moi ce regard satirique qui fait le sel de la vie.”


Elsa reminds us that we should “build a better world”. This is precisely what we try to do every day at the OECD with renewed dedication and enthusiasm. This is why we are here, trying to make this Organisation more inclusive, more effective, more relevant. And we have made great progress.


Like never before, the OECD has become a central player in global governance. Like never before, our work has become essential to people’s well-being. Like never before, our countries rely on us to “design, develop and deliver” better policies for better lives.


2014 has been a year of great achievements. The world needed stronger and more effective global governance, and we partnered with the G20 to deliver in key areas like structural reform, gender equality, investment, infrastructure and taxation. We also contributed to a major reshape of the international tax system with the first set of BEPS deliverables.


Over 94 jurisdictions committed to implement the Common Reporting Standard for Automatic Exchange of Tax Information, which, even before it starts formally, has already contributed to the return of more than 37 billion Euros to governments’ coffers (100 times our budget!). This has been a major contribution at a time when governments need all the available resources to jumpstart growth and recover trust.


We received a mandate to empower the people and reduce inequalities, and we delivered on several fronts. Our work on Inclusive Growth - Old site made waves worldwide, with major Reports like “All On Board: Making Inclusive Growth Happen” and the recent “Trends in Income Inequality and its Impact on Economic Growth”, which not only landed on the front page of Le Monde, the Guardian, and other media outlets, but was retweeted all over the social networks. Our latest PISA evaluation, our work on national and local Skills Strategies, and our Immigration Outlook provided new policy inputs for the pursuit of inclusiveness.


The world demanded transparency and more effective ways to combat corruption, and our Foreign Bribery Report presented compelling evidence on 427 bribery cases; while our work on integrity in public procurement helped governments save billions of dollars.


Our governments and our societies also needed better ways to measure progress and we provided the tools. Our Better Life Index broke the sound barrier of 5 million visits, while the number of shared indexes was up almost 50% compared to 2013. We widened our Better Life Initiative to take in regional dimensions, and we produced the first comparative analysis of Global Well-being since 1820.


We also strengthened our efforts to become more global. During the MCM, under the leadership of Japan, the UK and Slovenia, we launched the Southeast Asia Regional Programme. Colombia and Latvia made steady progress on their respective accession paths, while Costa Rica and Lithuania came one step closer to embarking on their path. And we built new bridges with APEC, the Pacific Alliance and the Iberoamerican Summit.


We deepened our focus on the environment. We participated in the UN Climate Summit in New York last September and at the COP20 in Lima in December to propose a set of actions to transit to low carbon economies.


You helped prepare and organise 53 missions abroad by the OECD Secretary-General (over 130 including our DSGs); 185 bilateral meetings with Ministers; around 280 speeches; 22 Economic Surveys; 21 Better Policies brochures; and 15 high level events under the Leaders’ programme.


These efforts resulted in enhanced visibility and impact. OECD publications were read more than 5,000 times every day – in practically every country on the planet. There were more than 19 million downloads of our publications – a 20% increase on 2013! The OECD Insights ranked as one of 2014’s most influential economics blogs, while our revamped OECD Observer website’s traffic rose 68%.


All this was supported by a strict internal self-evaluation and appraisal, to ensure sound financial administration and accountability. Indeed, our Value for Money project (V4M) made swift progress in promoting a culture of cost consciousness and efficiency across the Organisation.


These are just some broad brush-strokes of a much larger picture. But time flies and we are already facing a new challenging year.


2015 will be a crucial year to promote inclusiveness, development and sustainability. The world will get together at the Third International Conference on Financing for Development, in Addis Ababa (July); at the United Nations summit for the adoption of the Post-2015 Development Agenda, in New York (September); and at the Twenty-First Session of the Conference of the Parties, the COP21, here in Paris (November-December), to trace the new global strategy to fight climate change. It will also be a year for women’s empowerment, with the celebration of the Beijing+20 Anniversary.


Our MCM – led by the Netherlands, and the Czech Republic, France and Korea as vice-Chairs – will identify policies to boost global Investment and Long-Term Finance. Our New Approaches to Economic Challenges - OLD initiative will adjust our analytical framework to turn economics into a tool for social inclusion. Our Inclusive Growth methodology will refine its focus according to sectoral, national and regional dimensions. Our work on Gender will infuse our analysis and advice to multiply opportunities for women. Our work on education, skills, KBC and innovation will synchronise to help empower the people and improve their prospects.


All this work will now be developed and enriched with one of the most innovative and user friendly sources of international comparative statistics, the new OECD Data Portal: a state-of-the-art tool to access all statistical content across the Organisation through an easy and accessible interface. This is the product of years of work and will be further developed in the years to come. And I am delighted to officially launch it and make it available to the public NOW!


We will also keep improving our analysis with more horizontal work, more reform impact assessments, and through our NAEC Seminars, our Idea Factories, the Coffees with the Secretary-General and the Leaders’ Programme. The OECD is not only the place to be, it’s also the place to think about what to do. Remember, we are not a think-tank. We are a “do tank”. We deal with public policies and their implementation.


Mesdames et Messieurs les Ambassadeurs, chers collègues, Mesdames, Messieurs,


Ce sont votre engagement, votre enthousiasme et votre énergie qui permettent à l’Organisation jouer un rôle de premier plan dans la formulation des politiques, et qu’elle reste toujours pertinente et novatrice. Mais, pour reprendre les mots d’Albert Camus : « Tout accomplissement est une servitude. Il oblige à un accomplissement plus haut. » (i)


Plus que jamais, le monde a besoin de politiques publiques mieux conçues, mieux ciblées et plus efficaces, et 2015 nous offre l’occasion d’apporter, une fois encore, une contribution décisive !


Je vous souhaite, à vous et à tous ceux qui vous sont chers, une excellente année !

 

 

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(i) Albert Camus, Carnets II, 1951

 

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