Inaugural Meeting of the Blue Dot Network’s Executive Consultation Group, 7 June 2021

 

Remarks by Mathias Cormann,

Secretary-General, OECD

Paris, 7 June 2021

Acting Undersecretary Marcia Bernicat, Ambassadors, Colleagues,

Welcome to the inaugural meeting of the Executive Consultation Group for the Blue Dot Network.

This year the OECD celebrates its 60th anniversary. This is an opportunity to reaffirm our shared values. Our shared commitment to democracy, human rights, the rule of law, market-based economic principles, a global level playing field, a rules-based international order and the promotion of people’s economic and social well-being.

We have come a long way in 60 years, but our mission remains – to promote stronger, cleaner, fairer growth and to raise employment and living standards.

Longstanding challenges such as the urgent need to effectively address climate change, as well as developing challenges caused by the COVID-19 pandemic or the digital transformation of our economies remain.

Now more than ever, we need effective global cooperation and coordination and innovative approaches consistent with our values, drawn from multilateral and multi-stakeholder collaboration, as well as credible and effective international standards.

Quality infrastructure investment has a central role to play in driving a green and job-rich recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic and supporting sustainable, resilient and inclusive economic growth.

Billions of people in developing countries still lack access to basic infrastructure, whether it be access to clean energy and water, healthcare services or digital telecommunications.

Infrastructure investment is vital for achieving the Sustainable Development Goals.

To be consistent with the Paris Agreement, we have estimated that global investments in clean energy infrastructure will need to reach some USD 6.9 trillion annually, from the baseline average (2016) of USD 6.3 trillion.

Achieving global net-zero emissions globally will depend on the comprehensive roll-out of increasingly inter-connected infrastructure systems ranging from solar power plants and offshore wind turbines, to electric vehicle charging stations, electricity grids and green hydrogen networks.

To achieve these ambitions and generate the greatest possible positive impact at the lowest economic, financial, environmental and social cost, it is critical that infrastructure projects be guided by the G20 Principles for Quality Infrastructure Investment, which were developed with the support of the OECD.

The Blue Dot Network will seek to bridge the global infrastructure investment gap by establishing a globally recognised symbol of market-driven, transparent and sustainable infrastructure projects.

To achieve this, the Blue Dot Network aims to support and attract investment into quality infrastructure through the establishment of a voluntary, private-sector-focused and government-supported certification scheme for infrastructure projects.

That is how the Blue Dot Network will promote, facilitate and streamline the application of international standards and best practices, and thereby ensure a level playing field and contribute to building trust around quality infrastructure investments.

We know that such a global certification framework will work, be widely supported and help drive quality infrastructure investment, because a survey we conducted with all of you – the Executive Consultation Group – and which we are launching today, showed that an overwhelming 96% of respondents agreed that such a framework would help drive quality infrastructure investment.

The OECD is fully committed to supporting the Blue Dot Network.

It helps achieve many of our core objectives, environmental protection, responsible business conduct, high quality infrastructure governance, anti-corruption, gender equality, sustainable finance, or economic and social progress.

We are also home to many of the key international standards in these areas, including the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises, the OECD Recommendation on Public Procurement, and the Anti-Bribery Convention.

And we have experience promoting policies on quality infrastructure investment through our regional programmes, including in Southeast Asia.

Over the past two years, the OECD has pursued an ambitious and all-encompassing project to develop guidance for governments pursuing quality infrastructure investment.

The guidance includes a Compendium of Policy Good Practices, an Implementation Handbook, and a Recommendation on the Governance of Infrastructure.

The OECD’s Trust in Business Initiative is now drawing on this deep experience and expertise to co-ordinate cross-directorate technical support for the development of the Blue Dot Network certification framework.

This Executive Consultation Group is a critically important part of this process.

We are also consulting the private sector and civil society, in association with Business at OECD (BIAC) and TUAC, to inform our evidenced-based analysis.

Looking ahead, we should also consider, together with our Members, the possibility of the OECD serving as the potential host for an eventual secretariat for the Network.

As we stand a few days away from the next G7 Leaders’ Summit in Carbis Bay, you can count on the OECD to leverage its engagement and contributions to the G7, but also to the G20 and APEC to extend the impact and global reach of this work.

Dear Friends,

As we make massive investments to ensure a green, inclusive and resilient post-COVID-19 recovery, the Blue Dot Network is key to ensure better quality growth.

With your support and the perspectives of the entire infrastructure ecosystem, we are confident that the Executive Consultation Group will be able to shape the development of the Blue Dot Network and transform it into a cutting-edge tool.

I would like to conclude by also thanking the founding members of the Blue Dot Network – the governments of Australia, Japan and the United States – for providing the vision that brought us together today, and for the trust they have placed in the OECD to co-ordinate this important work.

I can assure you that we stand ready to support the Network’s ambitions every step of the way.

It is now my pleasure to introduce the Acting Undersecretary of the United States, Ambassador Marcia Bernicat, for her opening remarks.

Thank you.

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