MCM Closing Press Conference, Remarks by Angel Gurría, OECD Secretary-General,
Paris, France, 7 May 2014 – 15h15
Minister Kishida, Directors, Ladies and Gentlemen:
I’m delighted to report on the main outcomes of a remarkably successful Ministerial Council Meeting, which was skilfully chaired by Japan, with the support of Slovenia and the United Kingdom as Vice-Chairs. Thank you, Minister Kishida, for your leadership!
As you know, we bring the Council together at Ministerial level once a year to set the strategic direction of the Organisation for the coming period. We have had lively discussions these past two days, and Ministers have given us a lot of homework!
We gather at a time when the global economic clouds appear to be lifting. The OECD’s latest Economic Outlook provided a backdrop for our discussions, highlighting welcome improvements in advanced economies, as well as persisting risks and the legacies of the crisis. We recognise the need for a collective effort in all of our economies to lift growth and overcome the slow growth scenario we are all facing.
This year’s MCM has been highly productive:
We adopted the Declaration on Automatic Exchange of Information (AEOI), with 60 ‘early adopter’ jurisdictions joining and more to come. This is now the single international standard, and we encourage its swift implementation.
Ministers adopted a Statement on Climate Change that gives us a strong mandate to team up with the IEA, NEA and ITF to work on an “economic transformation” project which will explore the policy mixes needed to achieve zero-net carbon emissions during the second half of this century. It will also support UNFCC negotiations and contribute to a successful COP 21 meeting in Paris, in 2015.
They also adopted the OECD Recommendations on the Governance of Critical Risks; which has concrete recommendations for the comprehensive management of risks for natural and man-made disasters (“all hazards”).
This year’s MCM was the first opportunity for Ministers to consider the early lessons and policy recommendations of the New Approaches to Economic Challenges (NAEC) initiative. Our aim is to learn from the crisis and mainstream a new way of thinking across the OECD – we are aiming for a ‘NAEC State-of-mind’, taking into account the complexity and interconnectedness of the global economy, and the need to develop policy options that consider trade-offs and complementarities. Ministers warmly welcomed progress to date and the message was clear: keep up the good work!
On Monday, the OECD launched the publication “All on Board: Making Inclusive Growth Happen” as a response to the rise in income inequality, but also to provide policy options to address inequality of opportunities and to ensure the benefits of growth are widely shared. Building on our Inclusive Growth initiative, which incorporates a multidimensional approach that focus on skills, educations and health aims for high levels of widely shared well-being – the things that matter in people’s daily lives! This report underpinned Ministers’ discussions on resilience, and they were loud and clear: more of the same please! Their voters will thank them!!
Central to the inclusion equation is human capital. Ministers discussed the importance of unleashing the full potential of all our citizens, empowering them with the education and skills they need for quality jobs and full participation in society. They urged prioritisation of improved employability of women, young people, the older generation and others who are under-represented in the labour market.
At the OECD, we have decoded the genome of trade: TiVA, GVCs and the STRI, an alphabet soup!
We had a lively discussion on trade where Ministers strongly supported our work on Global Value Chains (GVCs). Recognising the importance of services not only to GVCs, but to all our economies, the OECD launched today a revolutionary Services Trade Restrictiveness Index (STRI) that will help policymakers understand how our service sectors are constrained, and how bottleknecks can be removed (TiVA).
Ministers welcomed progress on implementing the OECD Development Strategy, stressing the importance of being ‘part of the conversation’ on designing a post-2015 framework.
The OECD continues to ‘go global’:
- We are diversifying our membership – accession discussion are ongoing withColombia and Latvia, and we have launched cooperation programmes with Costa Rica and Lithuania;
- We continue to support the G20 agenda and we had a G20 seminar on GVCs as part of the MCM Forum on Monday. We will continue our support to the G20 under the Australian Presidency;
- We are working more closely with Key Partners, sharing our best practices and standards and associating them into our instruments (Brazil, China, India, Indonesia and Sub-Saharan Africa).
- We are strengthening our regional approach. PM Abe yesterday launched the Southeast Asia Regional Programme, and we are forging closer ties with Latin America, MENA and Sub-saharan Africa.
- We are also ‘going national’ by launching country programmes, as in Kazakhstan, Morocco, Peru and Thailand, while continuing to work closely with Ukraine.
Minister Kishida, Ladies and Gentlemen:
We have our marching orders, and we will keep working over the coming years to help our Members and Partners:
- To make our economies, societies, institutions and the environment more resilient;
- To make economic growth that is stronger, greener and more inclusive;
- To improve the well-being of all our citizens, ensuring they have good-quality jobs;
In short, to implement ‘better policies for better lives’.
Thanks again for the Japanese leadership that has highlighted the presence of Prime Minister Abe.