Meeting of Heads of State and Government
Remarks by Angel Gurría
29 September 2020 - OECD, Paris
(As prepared for delivery)
When we met four months ago, it was already clear that much would need to be done to help stave off the worst of this crisis for the poorest people and countries. Since then, we have come far in developing blueprints for a resilient recovery – for “building back better” – but more needs to be done.
Global output plummeted in the first half of 2020 as the COVID-19 pandemic took hold, and, despite a partial recovery in the second half, we expect global GDP to fall by 4.5% this year as a whole. This is putting at risk our progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals.
Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, the OECD has advised governments within and beyond our membership, monitored the impact of the crisis and tracked governments’ responses: our COVID-19 Digital Hub now has over 145 briefs on essentially every policy area affected by the crisis, receiving more than one million unique visitors.
On the health front, we’ve been tracking global efforts to develop vaccines and treatments, and continue to advise governments on intellectual property, affordability and access issues, so that when a vaccine or cure becomes available it can reach those who need it most.
We’ve been analysing the impact of COVID-19 on the poorest and most vulnerable countries, and continuing to push for more ODA, and for that ODA to be better targeted.
For example, we are working hand-in-hand with UNDP to deliver a new framework for aligning private finance with the SDGs – an initiative launched under the French G7 Presidency, which has become all the more urgent in the face of this crisis, coinciding with the beginning of the Decade of Action for the SDGs.
Just this morning, I launched our latest Business and Finance Outlook. Its theme – sustainable and resilient finance – was chosen well before COVID-19. Even more relevant today than before, it is a call to action to build a global ESG (Environmental, Social and Governance considerations) framework for a resilient and sustainable financial system.
In the area of tax, we are continuing to analyse how governments have been using tax policy and administration to help cushion the impact of the crisis on households and firms.
We’re also continuing to lay the foundations for a fairer, more transparent international tax system. This means tackling BEPS [Base Erosion and Profit Shifting] issues and the bottlenecks developing countries face when it comes to taxing multinationals, including capacity challenges. And delivering a global solution to the tax challenges presented by our digitalised economies, as well as delivering a global minimum tax.
And it means ensuring that developing countries can benefit fully from the automatic exchange of information for tax purposes. In 2019, Automatic Exchange of Financial Account Information (AEOI) has resulted in the exchange of 84 million offshore accounts, with a total value of around EUR 10 trillion. These results add to the over EUR 102 billion in additional revenues identified through voluntary compliance programmes in advance of the AEOI.
In all of these areas and many others, please count on the OECD. Thank you.