Transcript of the Video Message by Angel Gurría
1 OCtober 202 - OECD, Paris
Welcome to the October edition of the Global Parliamentary Network (GPN) meeting. Let me thank all of you for joining us under these exceptional circumstances.Welcome to the October edition of the Global Parliamentary Network (GPN) meeting. Let me thank all of you for joining us under these exceptional circumstances.
The world is in the grip of the worst health, social and economic crisis of our lifetime. It is costing many lives and threatening the stability of our democracies, our economies and our societies, with developing countries likely to be hit the hardest. Our Interim Economic Outlook, released two weeks ago, projects that global GDP will contract 4.5% this year. Every member of the G20, except China, is in recession.
At the OECD, we have been actively supporting our Members and Partners throughout the crisis. As part of our response, we launched a Digital Hub on Tackling the Coronavirus where we have published more than 145 policy briefs and we have organised three virtual Ministerial Council Roundtables, as well as targeted COVID-19 Ministerial briefings for a number of our Member countries.
We have also supported global fora, such as the G20, in developing a collective and coordinated multilateral response to the crisis. By leveraging the full range of OECD expertise, we have informed the discussions of all the G20 extraordinary ministerial and Leader’s meetings since the inception of the crisis.
In OECD countries, government support has aimed at protecting lives and livelihoods. Overall household spending bounced back strongly following de-confinement, more recently however, the pace of the recovery has lost some of its momentum. In some countries, consumption is still below the pre-crisis levels, or shows signs of plateauing. New restrictions being imposed to tackle the resurgence of the virus are likely to have slowed the ongoing recovery.
The challenge is to prevent a low growth trap that would also damage employment in the long-term. Fiscal, monetary and structural policy support needs to be maintained to build confidence, but at the same time, governments need to make this support more targeted and adaptable to changing conditions.
Moreover, until a vaccine or effective treatment becomes available, testing, tracking, tracing and isolating, together with stringent hygiene measures, are the only way to avoid or limit mobility restrictions that induce high economic costs.
Going forward, we need to start focusing on a new normal. We cannot aspire to go back to what we had before the crisis. This time, we need to ‘build back better’ and enact an inclusive, green, sustainable and resilient recovery from COVID-19.
Parliamentarians, your role as the elected ‘voice’ of the people is crucial in this respect. You must be the protagonists in helping us find solutions to build back better. Let me highlight a number of important challenges where your contributions will be of utmost importance.
First, reinforcing the capacity of the health system should be a priority, to ensure the system is not overwhelmed by the ongoing pandemic, and to build resilience to future shocks. Likewise, we must act swiftly to build social protection systems that work for all, with rights regardless of employment status. Governments also need to adjust support packages to sustain viable jobs and help create new ones, particularly focusing on the most vulnerable workers.
Second, we need to ensure education outcomes for all. Remote learning has become a lifeline for education continuity, but close attention must be paid to ensure that technology does not further amplify existing inequalities in access and learning quality. And remember, technology can amplify the work of great teachers, but it will not replace them.
Third, we must consider resilience in finance, both in the system itself and in the roles of capital and investors in making economic and social systems more dynamic and able to withstand external shocks. The rise in environmental, social and governance investing, the focus of the 2020 OECD Business and Finance Outlook that we launched on Tuesday, is a positive development in this respect.
Last but not least, the world has not escaped from worsening climate change and severe biodiversity losses. Without significant changes to our economic systems, the social and economic impacts of these crises will be long-lasting and will unquestionably eclipse those of COVID-19. We need to ensure that the recovery goes hand-in-hand with our green efforts. This means restructuring key sectors toward low emissions, job creation and new business in green sectors and activities, such as renewable energy, energy efficiency, ecosystem restoration and organic agriculture.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
We need to champion systems that are more resilient to future shocks, that put people and the planet at the centre. For that, we need to re-evaluate our theories, our policies, our frameworks and standards. Only by acting together, swiftly and decisively can we change our course and focus on creating a healthier, greener and fairer world.
The OECD is ready to work with and for you in designing, developing and delivering better policies for better lives. Please count on us! Thank you.