Remarks by Angel Gurría, OECD Secretary-General, delivered at the Ministerial Council Meeting 2011
25 May 2011, OECD Headquarters (Paris, France)
Ministers, Vice-Ministers, Ambassadors, Ladies and Gentlemen:
Given the legacy of the crisis, in the form of high unemployment, high deficits, high debt and low growth in advanced economies, but also high inflationary pressures in developing economies, we are confronted with a very weak economic outlook.
We have to find the right balance between revitalising economic growth and consolidating public finances. But our biggest primary task is to put our people back to work and reduce inequalities in a new economic system powered by greener and more equitable growth. We need to go structural, but we also need to go social.
This means, specifically:
- Improving our macroeconomic policies and financial markets, and reviewing our economic assumptions.
- Liberating the innovative potential of our economies through our Innovation Strategy. This effort is supported by the Green Growth Strategy, one of our main deliverables of this meeting.
- Promoting employment and skills, particularly for youth and women. Our recent Jobs for Youth report provides new solutions. Our Skills and Gender Strategies, to be delivered in 2012, will identify new approaches on these issues.
- Generating effective social policies must be another primary undertaking, with reducing inequalities as our main focus.
- We will work to improve governance, strengthening anti-corruption and integrity with initiatives like clean.gov.biz and the Oslo Dialogue, relying on our anti-bribery and integrity tools.
- We will continue to promote trade and avoid protectionism, opening our Code on the Liberalisation of Capital Movements to non-members.
- And we will accelerate our work on measuring progress in our societies, introducing new tools, like “My Better Life Index” and the “How’s Life” report.
We need a Strategy for Development
During the past 50 years, the OECD has worked intensely in promoting development; benefiting more and more from increasing interaction with developing countries.
I propose to take advantage of our longstanding experience to launch a broader Strategy on Development, which we will discuss tomorrow.
Our relevance is a function of our inclusiveness. Last year we welcomed four new members. We are working closely with the Russian Federation on its accession. Our Enhanced Engagement with Brazil, China, India, Indonesia and South Africa is bearing fruit. Around 100 non-member countries participate regularly in OECD bodies.
I propose that we explore new models of association and partnership, taking into account existing precedents. The exact content of any new status would have to be discussed and defined with the members and the partner countries concerned.
Finally, we need a Strategy for our Role in the Global Governance Architecture.
We have been a regular partner in efforts to strengthen inclusive multilateral cooperation, working intensively with four G20 presidencies, in areas like taxes, balanced growth, investment, protectionism, anti-corruption and jobs.
The MENA region needs special mentioning. We will strengthen our efforts in this region in a broader set of policy areas, like jobs, taxes, education, etc.
The OECD is uniquely positioned to help build a stronger, cleaner and fairer global economy. We have 50 years of experience producing “better policies for better lives”. We have become a useful part of global economic governance. But we need to adapt to a fast changing reality; to upgrade our capacities; to renew our thinking.
I present to your wisdom, vision and leadership these Strategic Orientations, to lead this already relevant Organisation to even greater significance.
Thank you very much.