Remarks by Angel Gurría
The Hague, 4 March 2015
(As prepared for delivery)
Minister Ploumen, Ambassadors, Ladies and Gentlemen:
I am touched and humbled to be awarded this Ridder Grootkruis in de Orde van Oranje-Naussau (Grand Cross of the Order of Orange-Nassau).
I am particularly honoured to be admitted into this distinguished circle, because it recognises service to society and to others. I have devoted my life to public service. Firstly, to the people of my country, through a career in the Mexican public sector that spanned over 33 years. Throughout this time, I learned about the importance of good public policies in creating more and equal opportunities for all. This is a goal that has given me a sense of purpose and that I’ve had the privilege to pursue at the international level, as Secretary-General of the OECD.
The OECD is an organisation which I am proud to lead, because I see first-hand, every day, the positive impact of OECD policy advice, of its international standards, and its work on reforms on the configuration of a better reality for millions of people.
OECD’s advice is listened to, it’s implemented, because it is based on best practices, and it is tailor-made to support individual country’s reform efforts. And, of course, it is anchored in some of the best-data gathering and comparative analysis in the world. So I accept this beautiful medal and sash on behalf of all my colleagues at the OECD, who tirelessly support our member countries and a growing number of non-member countries every day.
It is most satisfactory to have this work recognised by such an esteemed and long-standing Member of our organisation. The Netherlands has been at the forefront of best practices for many years: whenever I come here, I am always congratulating you on the great work you have achieved, and on the important reforms you have delivered! This visit is no exception.
Less than a year ago I was here in The Hague, handing over six OECD studies about the Netherlands: our Economic Survey, the Innovation Review; the Territorial Review of the Netherlands; the review of Energy Policies of IEA Countries for the Netherlands; reports on Water Governance and on Working Better with Age.
Our close cooperation is full-steam ahead: Since my last visit we have launched an OECD Review of Evaluation and Assessment in Education, a Skills beyond School review, and a study on Mental Health and Work in The Netherlands. I am delighted to see that our close cooperation in this area is bearing fruit: we just launched today, here in The Hague, a major international report on Mental Health and Work.
Many projects are in the pipeline, including, for example, a Labour Migration Policy Review. We are also working together to prepare the OECD’s Ministerial Council Meeting in June, which the Netherlands will chair. Already, you have shown great insight in shaping our agenda on “Unlocking investment for sustainable growth”. And we have benefited from the leadership of Ambassador van Hulst in securing support for OECD work in the area of investment treaties.
I look forward to working with you closely over the coming months - together we can make the 2015 MCM the best yet!
Minister, Ambassadors, Ladies and Gentlemen:
I’d like to close by saying that these awards are indeed very flattering and stimulating. But they are more than that! They are a source of strength in order to keep improving and to go the extra mile! This recognition will give me even more energy to continue the hard work the OECD demands to design, promote and deliver “better policies for better lives”.
I would also like to thank Minister Ploumen not only for organising this ceremony, but also for her outstanding contributions to our joint work on many policy issues, such as trade, responsible business conduct, development cooperation and engaging developing countries in our projects on Base Erosion and Profit Shifting (BEPS) and on Automatic Exchange of Information on Taxes.
Dames en heren, uit de grond van mijn hart, dank ik u nogmaals voor deze grote eer en het voorrecht om u hier vandaag toe te spreken. Ik dank u allen [“Ladies and Gentlemen, from the heart, I thank you again for this great honour and for the privilege to address you here today. Thank you”]