Opening Remarks by Angel Gurría
24 March 2015
(As prepared for delivery)
Honourable Ambassadors, Ladies and Gentlemen,
It is a pleasure to welcome you this evening during a seminal week for the OECD’s relationship with Indonesia and the wider Southeast Asia region. I would like to thank the New Zealand Ambassador, Mr. Trevor Matheson, for hosting this event and bringing together so many ‘Friends of the OECD’.
The OECD’s relationship with Indonesia has blossomed in recent years, reflecting both the country’s economic dynamism and its growing role on the world stage, as well as our own efforts to build a more inclusive Organisation. Back in 2007, we launched the first phase of this relationship (Enhanced Engagement), which we formalised when Indonesia became an OECD Key Partner in 2012, together with Brazil, China, India and South Africa.
That same year, Indonesia and the OECD signed a Framework of Co-operation Agreement – the first such agreement for a Key Partner. This has enabled us to put our relationship on a more strategic level and provides a platform to prioritise areas of bilateral co-operation.
We are currently working with the new government to develop a joint work plan for the coming biennium that supports President Widodo’s Medium-Term Development Plan for 2015-19.
Tomorrow, I will launch two important studies that support this new Development Plan. Alongside the Minister of Finance, Bambang Brodjonegoro, and Minister of Education and Culture, Anies Baswedan, I will present the 2015 Economic Survey of Indonesia and Education in Indonesia – Rising to the Challenge. This year’s Economic Survey focusses on policies to promote inclusive and sustainable growth, while the education policy review examines areas identified as priorities by the new government: teacher training, student assessment, senior secondary education, and vocational education.
Tomorrow will also see the formal opening of the OECD’s new office in Jakarta, for which I would like to thank not only the Indonesian authorities, but also Ambassador Trevor Matheson in light of New Zealand’s kind offer to host the office in their Embassy. As the first office the Organisation has opened in a Key Partner country, this marks an important milestone. It will help us bring our bilateral cooperation with Indonesia to a whole new level while providing a firm footprint and launchpad to envigorate our work across the whole Southeast Asian region.
This region is one of the most dynamic in the world, with GDP growth projected to average 5.6% per year during the 2015-19 period. The governments of many OECD countries would be content with only half of that growth rate!
As Secretary General of the OECD, I have made deeper engagement with the region a strategic priority. At our annual Ministerial Council Meeting in may 2014, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzō Abe and I launched the Southeast Asia Regional Programme together with Ministers and high level representatives from across the region. Building on two decades of engagement with the region, this Programme aims to support government’s domestic reform priorities while supporting regional integration.
One year ago to the day, I opened the first Regional Forum in Bali. Tomorrow morning, Minister Bambang and I will open the second Regional Forum, which will be followed by the first Steering Group Meeting later in the week. These meetings will mark the achievements of the first year of the Southeast Asia Regional Programme.
Already, with our counterparts from the region, we have set up six Regional Policy Networks and three Initiatives. We have worked closely with regional organisations such as ASEAN, APEC, the ADB and ERIA. We have enjoyed some ‘quick wins’, like the ASEAN Principles for Public-Private Partnership Frameworks, prepared jointly by the OECD and ASEAN Secretariats, and adopted at the ASEAN Leaders’ Summit in Myanmar in November 2014.
An important element of the Programme is that it brings together OECD Members and Southeast Asian countries so that we can learn from each other and tackle pressing policy challenges together. In this spirit, I would like to conclude by proposing a toast to many more years of fruitful cooperation, and to you, Ambassadors, that your countries continue to provide invaluable support to this important endeavour.