Remarks delivered on behalf of Mr Angel Gurría,
New York, 25 September 2015
(As prepared for delivery)
Ladies and Gentlemen,
It is a privilege to participate in this historic event as we chart a more inclusive and sustainable future for all.
We've set ambitious goals, but they can be achieved. We are not starting from scratch. The MDGs helped to lift more than one billion people out of extreme poverty. Now we have agreed that in less than 800 weeks we will lift the remaining 800 million people out of extreme poverty.
It is a job for everyone. The Sustainable Development Goals apply to every person in every society, in every country – rich and poor.
The OECD can and will help make progress relevant to all people, no matter where they live. Our broad range of policy expertise, and our partnerships with more than 100 countries as well as numerous non-state actors, can contribute to the achievement of the SDGs. Pioneering OECD work on well-being resonates with the vision embodied by the SDGs, going beyond economic growth to look at other essential dimensions of progress.
To achieve the SDGs, we must create synergies across policy areas and reconcile difficult policy trade-offs. Nowhere is this more evident than in our efforts to tackle climate change. For too long, our economies have depended on fossil fuels. This must end, and it must end soon.
Earlier this year, the OECD worked with the International Energy Agency, the Nuclear Energy Agency, and the International Transport Forum to help put a comprehensive diagnosis on the table. Our report, Aligning Policies for a Low Carbon Economy, shows how policies in areas as diverse as tax, trade, and transport are often inconsistent, and poorly aligned with our climate objectives. This is only one example of the OECD’s contribution to the global evidence base, which must inform deliberations at COP21.
When it comes to financing the Sustainable Development Goals, official development assistance will remain a crucial source of funding for development, especially for the poorest and most fragile countries. The OECD will continue to shine a spotlight on its members’ efforts as they work to fulfil their responsibilities.
We will also need far greater volumes of private investment, and much smarter investment. The OECD’s Policy Framework for Investment is already helping more than 30 developing and emerging economies stimulate investment, create jobs, spur innovation and link local enterprises with global value chains.
The OECD is supporting the global fight against tax evasion and illicit financial flows through the OECD/G20 Base Erosion and Profit Shifting Project, and it is working with the 126 members of the OECD-hosted Global Forum on Transparency and Exchange of Information for Tax Purposes to increase transparency on tax issues. Together with UNDP, we are helping to build tax audit capacity in developing countries through our joint initiative, Tax.
As we look beyond financing to the substance of some of the challenges ahead, the OECD is already actively engaged in the development of a new urban agenda, in preparation for UN Habitat III next year. In the area of education, PISA is already helping to monitor progress towards the aim of basic skills for all in more than 70 countries. The OECD’s PISA for Development initiative promises to increase our understanding of how children learn, teachers teach and school systems operate in developing countries, making a tangible contribution to the monitoring and achievement of a new education and learning goal. And our work on water governance and financing promises to make a tangible contribution to SDG 6.
Far-reaching follow-up and review will be essential to incentivise action and learning around the 2030 agenda. This will depend on robust data to pinpoint needs and capture progress at the global, regional, national and local levels. OECD data and evidence-based analyses touch on all of the 17 goals. Meanwhile, PARIS21, an OECD-hosted partnership, is helping developing countries to harness the data revolution.
Partnerships are in the OECD's DNA. We host and support a diversity of partnerships on a vast range of topics. Our joint work with the United Nations to support the Global Partnership for Effective Development Co-operation has created a dynamic community of practice on development issues and our Development Centre continues to grow, welcoming China as a member earlier this year.
The international system works best when it works together. We were privileged to welcome His Excellency Ban Ki-Moon to the OECD earlier this year, in the first ever visit of a serving UN Secretary-General to the Organisation. Our partnership with the United Nations family is stronger than ever before. The OECD is committed to working with the United Nations, and for the United Nations.
Looking ahead, countries will need a “GPS” – a way of piecing together evidence, of triangulating where they stand, and of guiding them on the journey ahead. The OECD stands ready to help design, build, and deliver the GPS that countries need to help turn commitments into actions, and to demonstrate tangible progress towards the SDGs. Its range of measurement, country assessment, peer review and peer learning mechanisms can contribute to this effort, including through the High Level Political Forum.
The OECD exists to promote better policies for better lives. The SDGs and the 2030 Agenda offer an unparalleled opportunity to fulfil this purpose, lending support on every level to these ambitious but achievable goals. Thank you.