Remarks by Angel Gurría, OECD Secretary-General, delivered at the OECD 50th anniversary Ministerial Council Meeting 2011
26 May 2010, Paris
(As prepared for delivery)
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton,
Ministers, Ladies and Gentlemen,
Our 50th anniversary provides us with an historical opportunity to launch a new approach to development across the Organisation. We are honoured to have Secretary Clinton here to inspire us to take a quantum leap forward in our common objectives to foster growth and poverty reduction worldwide. Her presence underlines the strong leadership the US Government, including its delegation and Ambassador Kornbluh, have exerted in advance of these issues on our agenda.
The Framework for an OECD Strategy on Development is an excellent basis to make our work more globally relevant. This means a broader approach, strengthening our partnerships, drawing more effectively on our multidisciplinary expertise, and reinforcing our role as an inclusive policy sharing organisation. We will be working to develop a full fledged strategy on development, engaging more closely with emerging and developing countries to help us understand better their diverse realities.
To do so, we need the collective knowledge of multiple policy communities and build on our horizontal programmes. The recent upheaval in the MENA region highlights the need for better policies to create jobs, and improve education and the business environment. Our responses will need to evolve accordingly.
The ability to provide a multidisciplinary approach is where the OECD’s core competence stands out. Our contributions to the G20 Multi-year action plan on development show that we are moving in the right direction and have something unique to offer.
We have made progress in applying integrated approaches based on knowledge sharing. We work on tax and development, investment, innovation and food security. We have created inclusive platforms to interact with developing countries and key stakeholders, and are addressing interrelated challenges of governance, transfer pricing, cross-border tax evasion, trade and investment ,climate, skills, to name a few.
In this context, the more pro-active role of the DAC in the “aid and beyond” approach is very timely and we are pleased to count on the strong leadership of Brian Atwood. We also count on the Development Centre, as well as the Sahel and West Africa Club, the Africa Partnership Forum Support Unit as well as other parts of the OECD and our regional programmes. We have our African Economic Outlook and Latin Americna Economic Outlook as well as the more recent Southeast Asian Economic Outlook, all put out by the Development Centre.
Our work on gender has shown that promoting gender equality makes economic sense. Gender equality fuels economic growth by bringing more women into the labour force, by raising the overall level of human capital and thus increasing labour productivity, and by providing greater inputs to innovation.
We need to improve gender equality in education, employment, access to finance and assets, and address discriminatory social institutions. Better policies also need better data. We need to join forces with other international organisations to improve data collection on gender equality.
Secretary Clinton, Ministers, ladies and gentlemen,
Your support is critical. It will strengthen our capacity to deal with broader development issues, particularly in a changing context where better policies for better lives are in great demand.