Remarks by Angel Gurría
Paris, France, 7 June 2017
(As prepared for delivery)
Dear Minister Samuelsen, dear Ministers and delegates, dear friends:
I am delighted to present to you my Strategic Orientations. They lay out my vision and ambition for the Organisation moving forward.
During its 56 years of existence, this Organisation pioneered many causes that sounded daring at the beginning, but are now internationally recognised as key enablers in the improvement of our societies. Climate change, PISA, BEPS, Development work… In 2012 we launched NAEC, an initiative to bring our analytical tools and methods in line with the complexity and interconnectedness of the modern world. NAEC gave birth to our Inclusive Growth project which now permeates the work of the Organisation.
Never before have we been so worried about our world. If we do not address people’s discontent with the way we are managing (or not managing) globalisation, we risk a reversal in the progress we have achieved over the years.
My Strategic Orientations acknowledge that globalisation has brought great benefits: it has increased the “size of the pie” and also lifted millions out of extreme poverty. But it also reflects that these great benefits have not been fairly distributed. Many people feel they are losers. Many people feel they are left behind. Many people have lost hope. And that despair is dangerous.
We have been documenting the roots of this discontent for decades: the rise in inequalities; the stagnation and even reversal in living standards; the erosion in prospects for social mobility; the anxiety generated by disruptive megatrends.
As a result, we now have widespread populism and protectionism, loss of trust and serious doubts about the process of globalisation. The problem is that this backlash can lead to isolation, which will be more damaging, precisely at a time when the world is more interconnected.
My Strategic Orientations are motivated by the urgency of these critical and uncertain times. We need to preserve what is positive, and address what it is not working; be honest but confident; self-critical but forward-looking; realistic but visionary. We do not have all the solutions, but we can get them by posing the right questions.
Both domestic policies as well as international standards are running behind the accelerated economic and technological transformations that are taking place. We cannot live in a world of “Technology 4.0” with “Politics, Policies and Institutions 1.0”, with rules and institutions of the 20th Century, when parts of our societies and technologies entered the 21st Century long before it arrived in the calendar.
I am advocating the need to advance further our inclusive growth narrative, putting people’s well-being at the centre of our policy efforts and harnessing the full potential of globalisation, ensuring that it works for all while preserving and protecting our planet. These Strategic Orientations are built around 3 pillars:
My Strategic Orientations suggest how the OECD can best support its Members and Partners in these endeavours. They chart a path to address issues which are at the core of today’s discontent with globalisation: growing inequalities, wealth and market concentration, the effects of technology and digitalisation on jobs, the impact of economic activity on the environment, or the sense of disengagement between citizens and politics.
We can do this by capitalising on our expertise, knowledge and comparative advantage. I propose to focus our efforts on issues like:
To deliver on these and other key areas in the document, we need a sharper and better OECD, more effective, more efficient, more inclusive and more global.
This is why our discussions on the Organisation’s enlargement and future size and membership are so important, as well as our contribution to global governance processes like the G20 and the G7. And this is why my Strategic Orientations also underscore how the Organisation can remain at the leading edge of good management practices, as well as provide value for money to its members.
Ministers, Ambassadors, friends:
These Strategic Orientations suggest how we can best leverage the extraordinary capacities and experience of this powerhouse that is the OECD, so that it can be of better use to you, our Members and Partner countries. They reflect the rich expertise of our teams, and draw heavily on the reflection and exchanges that we have had over the past few months with you, with your Ambassadors, with experts, with citizens.
There are moments in history that demand to go the extra mile. This is one of those moments. I invite you to think big, to be bold, and, together, to design, develop and deliver better policies for better lives!