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OECD Secretary-General

G7 Leaders Summit: Climate, Oceans, Biodiversity

 

Remarks by Angel Gurría

OECD Secretary-General 

26 August 2019 - Biarritz, France

(As prepared for delivery)

 

Leaders, 

 

Climate change is advancing faster than our apparent willingness to stop it. The devastating Amazon fires are yet another example of a threat to biodiversity becoming a dramatic reality. We support President Macron’s call to tackle this crisis, by coordinated cooperative, collective action.


In the space of only a few decades, we have lost 60% of the world’s vertebrate populations. And counting. The oceans are threatened by overfishing, plastics and waste.


Climate, biodiversity and oceans are closely interlinked challenges, all requiring urgent action. Failure on one means failure on all.


The time for action was yesterday; but it is never too late to do the right thing. Next year’s COP15 on Biological Diversity offers a unique opportunity to commit to the ambitious action that is needed.


The G7 must lead by example and the OECD is ready to help. Our report to G7 Environment Ministers in Metz last May identifies concrete priorities:

  • First, we need to get the economic incentives right. Today, revenue from biodiversity-relevant taxes is only 1% of the already modest revenue generated from all environmentally-relevant taxes.

  • Second, we need to dramatically scale up finance for biodiversity from all sources, public and private.  We estimate that finance flows for biodiversity today are in the range of USD 50 to 80 billion a year. This compares to the USD 500 billion a year governments spend on subsidies that are harmful to biodiversity!

  • Third, we need to integrate biodiversity in business and financial decisions. As a first step in this direction, the OECD stands ready to host a multi-stakeholder dialogue to develop a common framework for harmonising disclosure practices by companies of their impact on biodiversity.

Responding to the call of G7 Ministers in Metz, we are already working to better track finance flows for biodiversity, to integrate biodiversity in financial decisions and identify cost-effective solutions.

 

Leaders, 

Let’s try, at least, to leave the planet the way we found it.

Let’s not squander the natural riches we have been gifted. That is the single most important intergenerational responsibility we have.

 

 

See also:

OECD work on Environment

 

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