MCM 2021 Shared Values: Building a Green and Inclusive Future, 31 May 2021

 

Welcome Address by Mr. Angel Gurría,

Secretary-General, OECD

Paris, 31 May 2021

Chers Ministres, Ambassadeurs, Collègues, Amis,

Bienvenue à la Réunion Annuelle du Conseil au niveau des Ministres (RCM) de 2021. Je voudrais remercier les États-Unis en tant que président, ainsi que la Corée et le Luxembourg en tant que vice-présidents, pour leur leadership. C’est un vrai honneur de vous rejoindre aujourd’hui pour ma dernière RCM comme Secrétaire général.

We continue to live in unprecedented times. Earlier this morning our new Economic Outlook showed that the prospects for the global economy have become brighter, with an estimated rebound of Global GDP of close to 6% this year and 4.4% in 2022. Yet, this recovery is uneven across countries and uncertainty remains high.

A successful recovery depends on two priorities: First, a global – and I underline: global – vaccination effort. And second, maintaining fiscal policy support until the recovery is firmly underway. This also means targeted support for the most vulnerable groups and sectors, and planning for clear, effective and sustainable fiscal frameworks in the medium-term.

This crisis, this recovery is also an opportunity to build forward better by promoting more inclusive and sustainable economies. The large stimulus and recovery plans constitute a unique opportunity to foster both growth and employment as well as to tackle long-standing challenges in our economies such as stagnating productivity, growing inequalities and environmental challenges, including climate change, biodiversity and environmental degradation.

When the world needed the OECD the most, we rose to the challenge. Through our COVID-19 Digital Hub, our support for recovery plans and the 2020 and 2021 MCMs, the OECD is focused on responding to the crisis, supporting the recovery and building a greener, more inclusive future, based on the shared values that inspire the Organisation’s work.

The important outcomes of this Ministerial are another example of some of the key pillars that make the OECD stand out in the multilateral system.

First, we put people at the centre.

Through our updated Youth Action Plan and our Recommendation on Youth, we send a clear message to young people across OECD countries. We will not let you down. We will not lose a “Corona generation”.

Building on our commitment to multidisciplinarity and openness to new research, we have developed a dashboard of indicators to guide recovery efforts, and broadened the lens to cover the economic, social and environmental dimensions of the recovery. A sort of GPS.

We are tackling the question of Housing, which is key for people, young and old, in many countries.

And we are also launching our International Programme for Action on Climate (IPAC), initiated by France – our latest contribution to our greatest intergenerational responsibility: to preserve and protect the planet by addressing climate change and delivering on the Paris Agreement. We are bringing People, Planet and Prosperity together.

Second, our standards continue to level the global playing field and “raise the bar”, from taxation to anti-corruption, to artificial intelligence, and environmental protection. We conclude today our five-year review of this work and add to our acquis two important recommendations on Competitive Neutrality and on Children in the Digital Environment–– both of which respond to important needs and lessons learned from the pandemic.

We also endorse today a crucial Initiative for Safe International Mobility pioneered by the President of the Spanish Government. We hope Members and other countries will use this voluntary and flexible instrument as they reopen borders safely and restart key economic sectors.

And we are of course counting on the conclusion of the negotiations on a historic agreement concerning the tax challenges of the digital economy, based on the OECD’s blueprint.

Third, we continue to enhance our global reach and relevance that is part of our DNA, enlarging our membership and working with Key Partners, regional programmes and country programmes as well as through our Development Cluster. I salute Costa Rica’s accession as our 38th Member and I hope we can soon reach an agreement on the 6 pending requests for starting the accession process of Argentina, Brazil, Bulgaria, Croatia, Peru and Romania. These six countries have been knocking at our door for years. Members have so far failed to agree on the way forward. It is a serious collective failure. It is hurting OECD’s image and reputation and limiting its impact and influence. We are also losing opportunities, and lost opportunities belong squarely on the liability side of the balance sheet. As you know, there is a new draft Resolution on the Council table that reflects our past discussions and which attempts to address the lack of consensus among Members on this issue. We have the capacity; we have the space; and we have the will to move forward now with all six candidates, should Members so decide.

Dear Ministers,

To keep delivering in these and all other objectives, we need to make sure the OECD has a stable and solid budget. As discussions start on the 2023-24 PWB later this year, we need your support to ensure the OECD has sufficient, predictable, long-term financing. In particular, it will be important to return to Zero Real Growth as the OECD’s budgetary baseline, and for Members to pay for pensions in full - as is their legal obligation - rather than out of OECD’s Part I Budget, which erodes our capacity to focus on substance. The Organisation must be put back on a sustainable financial footing, to ensure it continues delivering for you. The OECD is the most productive investment our Members can make. Dollar for dollar, euro for euro, yen for yen, peso for peso. Let’s make it count!

Aujourd'hui est mon dernier jour en tant que Secrétaire général de cette institution qui n’a pas de pareille. Mais je suis convaincu que l'OCDE continuera de vous aider à concevoir et à mettre en œuvre de meilleures politiques pour une vie meilleure.

Merci.

 

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