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Twenty years ago climate change was viewed as just an environmental issue. Today it is squarely an economic issue. Climate change poses significant risks to our economic systems that could result in very large damages. To mitigate these risks we need to radically transform our economies and societies to stop global warming.
Strong growth in emerging countries over much of the past decade has substantially boosted developing countries’ share of the global economy. In 2011, non-OECD countries accounted for more than 50% of the world’s GDP, expressed in purchasing power parities. The BRIICS alone accounted for about 30%, said OECD Secretary-General.
“Our experience has shown that reforms are usually enacted in times of crisis, as there may be no other option,” said OECD Secretary-General Angel Gurría during the Survey launch in Berlin. “However, reform processes should continue in good times. For Germany, this means that the country should act now to embark on a more inclusive and resilient growth path.”
The legacies of the crisis are having an impact in the growth prospects of our economies. According to OECD projections to 2060, growth will be mediocre and certainly lower than in the past, due to low investment, high unemployment and lower growth in emerging economies. This slow growth “new normal” is not, however, inevitable. Economic reforms to improve the productive capacities of our economies will be crucial.
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!
With the right policy mix and bold decisions, we can turn environmental sustainability into a source of growth, employment and economic resilience. Green can go hand in hand with growth; and the OECD, with your guidance and support, can help our countries to succeed in this urgent economic transformation.
Today, your governments – and many of our Partners – have taken another major step forward by adopting the Declaration on Automatic Exchange of Information in Tax Matters. More than 60 jurisdictions are now committed to implementing what the G20 recognises as the single, global standard. And more are expected to join soon!
The OECD has now grown into an institution of truly global relevance. And Japan, which was the first Asian country to join the organisation, is now a world economic giant. It is a great honour to introduce the Chairman of the 2014 Ministerial Council Meeting, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.
Southeast Asia has been experiencing sustained growth for 15 years and according to our “2014 Economic Outlook of Southeast Asia”, growth in the region will average 5.4% per year between 2014 and 2018. However, the region is still facing important challenges, particularly for maintaining its impressive momentum, and transforming its economies to reach higher levels of development and inclusiveness.
After six long years of pain and fear, the major advanced economies are finally building momentum. While two of the four cylinders of the global economy’s growth engine – credit growth and emerging market activity – are still running below full speed, there are encouraging signs that the other two, trade and investment, are finally warming up.