OECD Ministerial Council Meeting 2015
Remarks by Angel Gurría,
3 June 2015
(As prepared for delivery)
Dear Ministers, Vice-Ministers, Ambassadors, Ladies and Gentlemen,
The discussions we have just had are a reminder of the fragility of the global growth engine. The road to full recovery and prosperity remains long and scattered with obstacles.
The OECD is contributing to address the great debates of today and tomorrow, from inequality to climate change, from international taxation to responsible business conduct. I will ensure that the OECD becomes even more relevant, open and effective. Thank you for your support and your ultimate expression of trust and confidence by having unanimously renewed my mandate as Secretary-General for the period 2016-21.
One of my top strategic objectives for 2015-16 is to continue to promote an inclusive growth agenda, including by mainstreaming our New Approaches to Economic Challenges (NAEC) throughout the work of the Organisation.
I am also committed to further developing our productivity and competitiveness agenda and strengthening our contribution to a rules-based international economic system. It’s more vital than ever for trade, investment, finance and ideas to remain open and global, to continue supporting international collective policy action through the G7, the G20, APEC, the Pacific Alliance and other fora and to contribute to key issues such as development and climate change.
Let me share with you my overview of how we can work together to achieve these objectives.
First, I am delighted to present the NAEC Synthesis Report. This initiative has demonstrated the need for a new growth narrative; one that is more sustainable, more inclusive and more focused on people’s well-being.
At the centre of these efforts is our inclusive growth initiative. Despite progress in addressing poverty, most are growing more unequally than ever before.
Inequalities go beyond income; they affect jobs, health and other non-monetary outcomes. We are committed to helping countries generate quality jobs, upgrade education and skills and reform labour and product markets.
A second key priority for our governments is strengthening the recovery and addressing the productivity slowdown. I have personally delivered 12 Economic Surveys of our Member Countries this year. All share sluggish, flat or negative productivity growth. This is big!
To consolidate the recovery, we need to re-fire the cylinders of trade, investment and credit. Otherwise, the growth engine will remain at half speed. The OECD’s ongoing work on trade in services, global value chains, trade in value-added, investment and long-term financing are central to achieve this objective. With your support we aim to make the OECD the hub of a global dialogue to foster international investment.
The dynamism and commitment to the issue of investment at this MCM underscore our conviction that we can make an important contribution.
Structural policies will remain the mainstay of the OECD, and we need to continue our analysis on the interaction between structural reform, demand and inequality and to strengthen the tools and models to support Members and Partner countries to deal with these interconnected challenges.
Our work on new sources of growth is also at the forefront of our agenda. Many countries are burdened with low levels of productivity or struggle to translate productivity into higher living standards.
Our work on knowledge-based capital, on ushering in the next production revolution (NPR), and our updated Innovation Strategy are the central pillars of our contribution to this debate. We will be helping to identify the risks and opportunities created by technological developments, including through the use of foresight and scenario-building, which you are about to get a taste of.
Last, but not least, I have made the strengthening of the OECD’s global reach and impact a priority. This will continue full steam ahead!
The more global our standards become – the more level the playing field will be. The more countries that adopt our good policy practices, the more people will benefit from growth and well-being.
For example, tax. This year will see agreement on the 15 pillars of the G20/OECD Base Erosion and Profit Shifting (BEPS) Project, and 94 jurisdictions have now committed to implement our Common Reporting Standard for Automatic Exchange of Tax Information.
On the international stage, we are working closely with the Turkish Presidency of the G20 and the German Presidency of the G7, supporting their priorities and deliverables, including the “25X25” to promote gender equality.
Our work on climate finance and on “Aligning Policies for the Transition to a Low Carbon Economy”, developed jointly with the IEA, NEA and ITF is supporting the run-up to COP21. And our expertise on development issues is contributing to achieve consensus around the Sustainable Development Goals.
Finally, we are enhancing the global character of the organisation. Accession negotiations with Colombia and Latvia are well underway. We have just opened accession discussions with Costa Rica and Lithuania. We have joint work programmes with China and Indonesia, and one with Brazil will be signed here during the MCM. We have also launched regional programmes with Southeast Asia, MENA, and Eurasia, our initiatives in Latin America and Africa, our country programmes with Peru, Kazakhstan and Morocco and the Action Plan with Ukraine.
We do all this while building an OECD that is at the leading edge of international organisations in terms of impact, efficiency and transparency. To ensure this, we will further strengthen our multi-disciplinary approach, in order to be more effective at supporting our governments in their reform agendas. We will also strengthen our internal management and operations, and refine our Value for Money tool.
Dear Ministers, Vice-Ministers, Ambassadors: The OECD agenda is broad and comprehensive. That is our challenge. But it is also our strength! You can count on the OECD to help you navigate through the complexities of the 21st century, to deliver better policies for better lives. We are counting on your continued support to do it better.
Now we have a short period for two or three fast interventions related to the Strategic Orientations before I give the floor back to Minister Kamp for the scenario-based policy discussion. Thank you.