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Speech by OECD Secretary-General Angel Gurría at G8 Summit

 

I congratulate Chancellor Merkel and the German G8 Presidency for bringing together different voices, at a national and international level, to focus on issues that can only be addressed successfully through collective action. We have already heard how important this is for trade. Collective action is just as vital in fostering equitable growth and in making globalisation work for all. In fact, it is the only way in which we can achieve these objectives.


Emerging economies are playing an increasingly important role. The OECD, as a hub for the dialogue on global issues, has been working with these countries for many years on a wide range of policy priorities. Only last month, we took the historical decision to invite several of them, to join our ranks. I am happy that most of those countries are gathered around this table.


The issues at stake are well known: Trade; innovation; growth and equity; investment and rising protectionism; climate change and the cost of inaction; human capital; the role and responsibility of the private sector; migration; health; water, among others.


And we must not loose sight of the major source of strife in the global economy: Poverty is the ultimate systemic risk. Any policy decisions we take must be scrutinized in terms of their contribution to poverty reduction.


Since the creation of the OECD as successor to the Marshall Plan, and now with a more global membership, it is our core business to provide evidence based policy proposals, and to develop international standards and guidelines to improve the functioning of the world economy.


We develop and update these policy instruments through peer reviews, a unique approach which is based on sharing the successes and failures, the good practices and the political economy of reform of the 30 democracies which form the OECD today. However, to continue to be effective,  the process requires the active participation of the world’ s new key players.


Moving on to Africa, more aid, delivered more effectively, is of particular importance. Through the OECD Development Assistance Committee (DAC), we monitor aid flows and report on them regularly to ensure transparency. We are working with donors and recipients to cut the transaction costs of aid and improve results.  However, we are concerned that aid flows are not consistent with prior commitments and that the ambitious goals we set may not be met.


But Africa needs more than aid. Sustainable economic growth and poverty reduction will be tackled successfully only if preceded by institutional development, capacity building and good governance. Issues such as climate change, investment, gender, peace and security, which we discussed at the meeting of the Africa Partnership Forum in Berlin two weeks ago, must be addressed urgently. The recent issue of the African Economic Outlook, which the OECD produced in partnership with the AFDB, and which this year focuses on water and sanitation, makes the point quite clearly.


Your excellencies, we are well prepared to contribute to the transformation of today’s promising global dialogue into a meaningful, results-oriented “Heiligendamm Process”. The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development will be privileged to assist you by providing the platform for this process.


Thank you.