Dear Deputy Prime Minister Hong, Chairman Cho, KDI President Choi,
I am delighted to join you today for the celebrations of the Korean Development Institute’s 50th anniversary and discuss the topic of “the future agenda for the Korean economy”. I would also like to congratulate President Choi and all at KDI for being recognised as the 5th top global think-tank by the Think Tanks and Civil Societies Program (TTCSP) at the University of Pennsylvania in 2021. This year marks a milestone for the OECD as well, as we celebrate the 60th anniversary of the OECD.
We are facing unprecedented challenges. The COVID-19 pandemic is the most severe health, economic and social crisis in our generation, impacting every single country.
In 2020, the global economy contracted by 4.2%, with some of our Member countries facing double-digit contractions; global value chains were interrupted and almost all of the jobs that had been created since the 2008 crisis were wiped out.
Korea’s response to the virus stands out as a remarkable success, with a relatively small 1% GDP decline in 2020 and 3.1% growth in 2021 projected by the OECD. The government managed to address the health emergency through a combination of rapidly developed testing capacity and an impressive tracing and tracking system using ICT. This, in turn, limited the damage to the economy and people’s livelihoods.
Korea’s response to the crisis also aligned with the longer-term rationale of the Korean New Deal. This focuses on a robust recovery and growth models by integrating sustainability and inclusiveness considerations from the outset, while harnessing the opportunities of ever-accelerating digitalisation.
This rationale is also at the heart of the OECD’s approach to people-centred growth models. Last fall, under the chairmanship of Spain at our Ministerial Council Meeting (MCM), OECD members committed to support a strong, resilient, inclusive and sustainable recovery. And in November last year, we launched the OECD Centre for Well-being, Inclusiveness, Sustainability and Equal Opportunities (WISE).
As our organisations enter the next decade, we look forward to continuing our partnership with KDI on issues that matter for people in Korea and beyond. For example, together, KDI and the OECD have grappled with the measurement of trust in institutions through the OECD Trustlab initiative, and just last week we launched the Inclusive Growth Review of Korea – the first country-level study deploying our OECD Framework for Policy Action on Inclusive Growth.
Looking ahead, we must continue contributing to the recovery and respond to our most important intergenerational obligation – to preserve and protect our planet – by delivering on the Paris Agreement and the SDGs.
To this end, we are working hard to establish the International Programme for Action on Climate (IPAC). This initiative – championed by France – will improve and develop measurement tools to track progress and collect evidence on good practices, bringing together willing countries to accelerate action on climate.
The COVID-19 crisis is giving us a unique opportunity to improve, to rethink, to build back better. I am sure that both KDI and the OECD will make the most of this opportunity to think of a new kind of development, one that truly delivers for all, focusing on inclusion, wellbeing and sustainability. Let’s keep working together to help countries design, develop and deliver, better policies for better lives.