Remarks by Angel Gurría
28 September 2020 - Paris, France
(As prepared for delivery)
Ladies and Gentlemen,
I am delighted to address this session on the Green Recovery and Green New Deals.
COVID-19 is closely linked to an unprecedented biodiversity loss. We have altered three-quarters of the world’s terrestrial surface and two-thirds of the marine environment. Ecosystem destruction and wildlife exploitation are key drivers of zoonotic diseases in humans. And around USD 44 trillion of global value added depends on nature today.
Safeguarding biodiversity can help us build more resilient societies and reduce future health risks. Let me highlight three priorities.
First, we must mainstream biodiversity into the recovery through ex-ante screening and ex-post monitoring of the biodiversity impact of stimulus measures. The OECD is contributing, through its 13 environmental indicators, -- ranging from carbon intensity and renewables in the energy mix, to effective carbon rates and water stress.
Second, we must align policies and scale-up positive incentives. OECD analysis shows that government support potentially harmful to biodiversity amounts to USD 500 billion a year. This is more than five times the spending allocated to protect biodiversity.
And third, governments must harness the potential of businesses and the financial sector by mobilising private finance. Our Green Finance and Responsible Business Conduct work supports countries to promote private sector efforts to measure and account for biodiversity-related risks and impacts.
The OECD has been supporting governments tackle the crisis on various fronts. We launched a Digital Hub on Tackling the Coronavirus; we have provided policy advice to global fora such as the G20; and we have organised three virtual Ministerial Council Roundtables, as well as targeted COVID-19 Ministerial briefings.
At our recent Ministerial Council Roundtable on green recovery, Environment Ministers underlined that investing in ecosystem restoration, reforestation and invasive species control creates new jobs, stimulus and longer-term resilience.
Ecosystem restoration in the US, for example, provides direct employment for 126 000 workers and generates USD 9.5 billion in economic output annually. It also creates a further 95 000 indirect jobs and USD 15 billion in household spending.
Last but not least, the 2020 OECD Business and Finance Outlook, which we are launching tomorrow, explores how to better align investments with long-term value through more consistent, comparable and verifiable data on environmental, social and governance performance.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
The COVID-19 pandemic is a stark reminder of the transformational changes needed to build back better. Let’s use this opportunity to build greener, more resilient, more inclusive economies.