Remarks by Angel Gurría
Paris, France - Thursday, 28 May 2020
(As prepared for delivery)
Excellencies, Dear friends,
Allow me to begin by thanking Prime Ministers Trudeau and Holness, and Secretary-General Guterres, for convening today’s meeting.
I will try not to repeat the points made by others, but I want to stress that the international system works at its best when it works together. Even prior to Covid-19, we were beginning to see cracks in the multilateral order that we have built. We had warned of the impact of heightened political and trade tensions on our economies. If anything, the Covid crisis gives us an opportunity to “reset”. To come together at a time at which 350 000 lives have already been lost. To show that – in this 75th year of the United Nations – we can come together, and rebuild better.
The last crisis brought with it soaring levels of inequality, and trust in governments and institutions plumetted. Without bold action now, I fear the same will happen again.
Aid is a crucial lifeline for many right now, and action on debt is paramount. But no-one aspires to depend on aid forever. We need to expand fiscal space, and ensure that as countries recover, they are better placed than ever before to harness domestic resources, and of course tackle illicit flows.
That is why here, today, I am proposing that we join forces in a concerted push to revitalise the tax agenda. And I believe we must do this now. This is about laying the foundations for a global recovery that is strong, fair, inclusive, and green.
Concretely, I am proposing that we work in a matter of weeks to deliver an ambitious plan of action. The OECD will put itself at the disposal of all countries that want to shape this. It is clear that such a plan will need to be designed by developing countries and for developing countries.
Let me share some initial thoughts on what such a plan might contain.
Again, these are only initial ideas. But I hope that with the collective wisdom of the leaders gathered here today, and the energy and dedication of your finance ministers, we can together deliver.
Please count on the OECD to work with you and for you in this endeavour. Let’s get it done. Let’s recover better. Let us keep the SDGs well within our sights. Thank you.