Introduction by Angel Gurría, OECD Secretary-General
Paris, 14 February 2008
Good morning Ladies and Gentlemen,
In an increasingly integrated and interdependent world, development cooperation is becoming strategic. Gone are the days when countries could build prosperity within a fortress and close the door. Today, fighting human misery in a remote corner of the world is a global responsibility. Not only for moral reasons; but also because it is in the interest of all and because we have the means to do it.
Poverty is the ultimate systemic risk. It is a fertile soil for the proliferation of terrorism, armed conflict, environmental degradation, cross-border diseases and organised crime. Development co-operation is an important part of the solution to this global challenge.
In this rapidly changing world, the nature of development co-operation is also changing. In recent years, we have witnessed the emergence of new actors, new sources and new forms of co-operation. Aid grants and remittances have become the main source of financial aid for the poorest regions of the world. Remittances by migrants from developing countries reached 240 billion dollars in 2007; this is more than twice the official aid flows and nearly two-thirds of foreign direct investment flows to developing countries. Foundations and other charitable bodies are becoming increasingly important players, with nearly 15 billion dollars of development and relief assistance in 2006 (up from USD 11 billion in 2004).
Some large emerging economies are becoming another important source of development co-operation. The growing flows of aid from some of these countries to Africa are expanding the growth perspectives of the continent. In the coming decades, the role of emerging donors will increase considerably. It will be crucial to work with them to share best practices and keep the highest quality standards. OECD can make a unique contribution in this sense.
Indeed there are some positive signs of progress. For example:
This is just a small taste of what you will find in the Development Co-operation Report 2007. As you know, this Report provides the world’s most comprehensive statistics on development co-operation −a critical element of the transparency and open reporting that have been at the heart of the DAC’s work for the last 45 years. The Report brings out the positive results noted above, but at the same time it calls for more effort where it is needed; it also provides insights on how aid can be better managed. Hopefully, these will help donors to meet the commitments set out in the Paris Declaration on Aid Effectiveness and set the stage for a successful High Level Forum on this important subject in Accra in September.
Let me conclude this introduction by saying that, based on the knowledge and valuable contribution of DAC, the work of the OECD on development co-operation has been expanding through a growing number of instruments. In Africa for example we are also helping to improve economic performance and development through our African Economic Outlook, the Africa Partnership Forum and the Club du Sahel. Our first Latin American Economic Outlook, our MENA-OECD Investment Programme and our Partnership for Democratic Governance are other examples of our growing commitment with development.
This growing engagement in developing countries reflects a new OECD. It reveals an organisation that is responding to the recent transformations of the world economy and its emerging global challenges. We are becoming more global, more inclusive and consequently more relevant. As you know, in June 2007, after a long period of preparation, the OECD initiated a two-tier process of enlargement and enhanced engagement with 10 new countries. We have already started accession talks with Chile, Estonia, Israel, the Russian Federation and Slovenia. In parallel, we are strengthening our co-operation with Brazil, China, India, Indonesia and South Africa with a view to possible membership. These economies account for nearly half the world’s population, 15% of global exports and a combined GDP of 5.8 trillion dollars.
At the same time, the OECD’s relations with nearly 100 other non-member countries are broadening and deepening. The increasingly active participation of developing countries in the work of our Committees and Working Groups has become a two-way avenue of communication and learning. The OECD is gradually turning into a genuine space of convergence between developed and developing economies. In fact, during the past G8 Summit of Heiligendamm, the OECD was asked to act as a “platform” for the dialogue between G8 countries and the major emerging economies.
I would now like to invite the former Chair of the DAC, Richard Manning, to introduce the Report; he will be followed by the new Chair, Eckhard Deutscher who will look ahead to what it means for the future work of the DAC. We will close with Mr. François Bourguignon, Director of Paris School of Economics, to comment on the report from an international perspective.
Thank you very much.