14/12/2020 - Opinion piece by Pedro Sánchez, President of the Spanish Government, and Angel Gurría, Secretary-General of the OECD.
On 14 December this year, we are commemorating the 60th anniversary of the signature of the Convention establishing the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). The OECD succeeded the Organisation for European Economic Co-operation (OEEC), which was created in 1948 to administer American and Canadian aid under the Marshall Plan for the reconstruction of Europe after the Second World War. Solidarity, ambition and international co-operation inspired the development of the Marshall Plan and the creation of the OECD. Today, perhaps more than at any other time in the last sixty years, the world needs, once again, to draw inspiration from those values, as it confronts the worst health, economic and social crisis since the Second World War.
The OECD's vocation has always been to achieve greater well-being for its members and partners around the world by advising governments on how to deliver policies that support resilient, inclusive and sustainable growth. The OECD has helped advance structural reforms and multilateral solutions to global challenges through evidence-based policy analysis as well as recommendations, standards and global policy networks in increasingly close collaboration with other multilateral fora, such as the UN, the G7 and the G20. Examples of the OECD’s influence include the “Polluter Pays” principle, developed in the 1970s, student assessments under PISA or ongoing efforts to promote tax transparency and harness the potential of human-centric Artificial Intelligence.
The COVID-19 pandemic has left no country or region untouched. As we continue to fight the virus and prepare for the recovery, our efforts at home need to be complemented with an equally decisive and ambitious response through international co-operation. This crisis must be an opportunity, a turning point, for reinforced and more effective multilateralism. We need to work together to develop effective global solutions for today’s global challenges: the COVID-19 recovery, climate change, biodiversity loss, growing inequalities, the concentration of wealth, digitalisation, or the future of work.
This has been the main message of the OECD Ministerial that Spain chaired this year. For the first time in four years, OECD Members were able to put aside their differences and agreed on a statement reflecting their collective vision for a strong, resilient, inclusive and green recovery from COVID-19. This was a powerful message: when it was needed the most, the OECD and its Members stepped up to the challenge with a single voice.
It is now time to put this vision in motion, to turn words into action. Our collective efforts should focus on three key areas.