Remarks by Angel Gurría,
Paris, 7 September 2015
(As prepared for delivery)
Ladies and gentlemen,
Today, we stand about 800 weeks away from the complete eradication of extreme poverty, everywhere. That’s 800 weeks to lift 800 million people out of extreme poverty. This is not a forecast, but rather an aspiration. And it is an aspiration – embodied in the first of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals to be launched at the end of this month – which I firmly believe the international community can fulfil.
Ladies and gentlemen, I am excited by the new Sustainable Development Goals. They’re bold. They’re inclusive. And – above all – they provide the international community with a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to end poverty, and to chart a more prosperous, inclusive, and sustainable future for us all.
The Millennium Development Goals demonstrated the power of global goals to inspire action and mobilise much-needed resources. This includes record levels of aid – or Official Development Assistance (ODA) – from OECD DAC members, which reached $135 billion last year.
In the SDGs, the international community is now the custodian of a much more sophisticated global goals framework. They recognise the need to address the economic, social and environmental dimensions of development. They’re universal, and should be embraced by countries at all levels of development – including OECD countries.
Development is no longer the concern of the few. Never before has it been so clear that we all share common risks, threats, hopes and ambitions. The SDGs provide a framework for responsibility, for action, and for results.
Two months ago, I joined leaders in Addis Ababa for the Third International Conference on Financing for Development. I was encouraged by the determination of governments, civil society, international organisations and business to flesh out an action plan to finance the SDGs.
Yet our ability to achieve the SDGs in 800 weeks won’t depend only on money. It will depend on policy choices, on implementation and – crucially – on smarter partnerships. This brings me to the focus of the report that we are launching today.
This year’s Development Co-operation Report shows how the need for co-ordinated action is more urgent than ever. In particular, we can and must ensure that Goal 17 – Strengthen the means of implementation and revitalise the global partnership for development – is set in motion quickly. The other goals depend on it.
In the 300 or so pages of this report, we document in detail what has worked well in development partnerships, and why. We’ve drilled into a range of partnerships, analysed them and pointed at what’s worked best in areas as diverse as aid for trade, statistics, agriculture, and education.
We have then synthesised these lessons in ten principles for good development partnerships. Strong leadership, country ownership and transparent governance are just some of the important issues we have covered. We hope these principles will act as a guide for everyone as we embark on the SDG journey: governments, international organisations, the private sector and civil society.
I should add a word of caution here: partnering effectively around the SDGs doesn’t necessarily mean creating a whole new set of partnerships and initiatives. One of the examples cited in the report is the proliferation of reporting requirements and additional burden that developing countries have faced as a result of growing international support in the health sector. Our body of research on aid effectiveness has helped to demonstrate why less is sometimes more, and why existing initiatives should be exploited fully to avoid fragmentation and duplication of effort.
Ladies and gentlemen,
It is no coincidence that the United Nations Secretary-General visited the OECD earlier this year, in the first ever visit of a serving Secretary-General. His message was clear: 2015 is probably the most important year in the 70-year history of the United Nations, and the task ahead is so large that everyone needs to play a role.
The OECD will play its part, and is already gearing up to support the implementation of the SDGs in a number of ways:
First, we are examining the OECD’s treasure trove of data, policy tools and recommendations to see how these can be better put at the disposal of all countries. Our PISA for Development initiative, for example, already involves six developing countries which are now piloting the use of PISA to generate crucial evidence on learning outcomes.
Second, we are gearing up to support international efforts to monitor the SDGs. This includes tracking the efforts of advanced economies to support others in the achievement of the SDGs by shining a spotlight on aid and development finance, on efforts to tackle bribery and corruption, on action to curb climate change, and on efforts to promote a fairer tax system.
And third, we will continue to provide a platform for dialogue and the exchange of good practices, extending far beyond the membership of the OECD. We are already doing this through, for example, our role in the Global Partnership for Effective Development Co-operation, and by hosting the 127-member Global Forum on Transparency and Exchange of Information for Tax Purposes. There are many other examples too.
Ladies and gentlemen, allow me to repeat what I said at the outset: we have 800 weeks to implement the SDGs. This won’t be easy, and it will require all the knowledge, finance and leadership we can muster, but my message today is clear: the SDGs can be delivered!
I hope today’s discussion will help to show how it can be done. How we can pull the pieces of the jigsaw together through smarter partnerships: finance, knowledge, good policies, a range of actors.
The OECD’s motto is “Better Policies for Better Lives”. Today, I invite you to go even further – to push the boundaries, and to look at how – hand-in-hand with others – we can deliver better partnerships for better lives.