– As delivered –

Statement by H.E. Tijjani Muhammad Bande, President of the 74th Session of the United Nations General Assembly

13 November 2019

Secretary- General,


Ladies and Gentlemen,

I extend my greatest appreciation to His Excellency Secretary-General Gurria for organising this meeting which allows us to  discuss the ongoing collaboration between the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and the United Nations.

I commend the members of the OECD for your unwavering commitment to the creation of partnerships that are addressing global challenges. Such partnerships are particularly important as we gear up for the Decade of Action and Delivery on the path to actualising the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

In addition to significant individual contributions from OECD Member States, the OECD is uniquely placed to support the United Nations with the tools and experience in policy work, with both developing and developed countries, and in monitoring systems and performance to support the UN in delivering the SDGs.             

The OECD has engaged in many examples of successful public-private partnerships, both domestic and international, together with donors and developing countries.

The UN and the OECD share both a common ambition and responsibility for implementing the SDGs. However, none of this can be achieved without closing existing financial gaps and seizing the tremendous investment opportunities that lie in financing for development.

Our vision must be accompanied by a series of actions and policies. Of course, in order to actualise these intentions, we require the necessary levels of Official Development Assistance, as stated in the Addis Ababa Action Agenda for Financing for Development. We must also increase our efforts in several other action areas of the Agenda.


When we adopted the Financing for Development framework in 2015, we identified one of the most significant challenges of our times: how we finance the SDGs against a backdrop of weak global economic growth, unsustainable debt levels, volatile financial markets and significant climate financing deficits.

Funding remains one of the biggest impediments to realizing the SDGs. We need about $2.5 trillion a year to close this gap. This certianly requires our urgent attention and action.

On a parallel to this, we need to recognize the differentiation of responsibilities. As our economies are becoming more knowledge-based, we must utilise partnerships to increase technical cooperation and capacity-building and focus on areas of comparative advantages.

There are also encouraging signs. This organization knows well that new and global public-private partnerships and infrastructure investments have worked well. We must build upon this knoweldge.

The SDGs are both a product of, and a metaphor for, multilateralism. When we achieve progress towards sustainable development, we are also strengthening the foundations of our multilateral system; demonstrating the system’s utility and effectiveness.

The partnership with the OECD is particularly important in this respect. Indeed, there are clear areas for even further collaboration. Areas which I have set out as priorities for my Presidency, namely: poverty eradication and zero hunger; quality education; inclusion in terms of gender equality; and climate action.

Regarding poverty eradication, the challenges we face today are undeniably immense. We need to create about 600 million jobs to achieve our Goals by 2030. Increased employment opportunities work towards ensuring equality, inclusion and social justice for all: empowering women, young people, indigenous peoples, and other minority groups who have often been marginalised.

However, in both developed and developing countries, we are far from our goal of ensuring decent jobs for both the present and future generations. In my conversations with youth, students and job seekers from around the world, I am consistently hearing concerns regarding job security due to the impact of technology and automation.


We have a shared responsibility to do more to ensure quality education and to develop the skills of the workers of tomorrow.  We need strengthen our partnerships and exchange data which needs to be collected and reported. This is key, you cannot have policy without good data.

The OECD with its expertise in research and data collection, plays a key role in providing valuable answers to difficult questions, and has a great track record in assisting governments in their policy making in everything from curriculum design – which is very important, job place innovations, migration efforts and infrastructure investments.

Securing 600 million jobs will require more concerted efforts to empower women in the labor market. Investing in women’s economic participation and gender equality is not only the right thing to do, it is also the smart thing to do. The World Bank estimates that countries face losses of $160 trillion, due to income discrepancies between men and women.

In this regard, I commend the work of your organization in promoting equal opportunities and pay for men and women in the workplace.

On the occasion of the commemoration of the 25th anniversary of the fourth World Conference on Women in 2020, the UN is highlighting gender equality through events to catalyse action on this area. I count on the support of the OECD and its members to ensure the success of these initiatives which are only a starting point on our paths towards inclusion for all.

We have a shared responsibility to do more to ensure quality education and to develop the skills of the workers of tomorrow.  We need strengthen our partnerships and exchange data which needs to be collected and reported. This is key, you cannot have policy without good data.

Tijjani Muhammad Bande

President of the UN General Assembly


Both the UN and the OECD have been looking closer at the global institutional architecture to find better ways to unlock new and innovative sources of financing. It is equally necessary to address the particular situations of countries that need financing the most – least-developed, middle-income and small-island developing states.

Domestic resources must be further mobilized. To that end, it is crucial to increase international tax cooperation that effectively deals with tax evasion and avoidance.

Addressing illicit flows is the other side of that same coin. Trillions of US dollars are lost every year through illicit financial flows in developing countries. This figure far exceeds the volume of development aid. We cannot ignore what are essentially net losses to sustainable development.

I commend the Tax Inspectors Without Borders Programme, a collaboration between the OECD and the UN Development Program, and I implore us to scale-up our efforts in this area.

There is a key role for banks and the private sector more generally to play in designing and implementing steps to combat illicit financial flows, as they have the institutional knowledge and understanding of the complex and interrelated issues.

Finally, I must draw our attention to the preservation of the environment for current and future generations. Climate change is the existential threat to us all, and the ultimate test for multilateral action.

We know that if we work together, and with haste, we can limit global warming to 1.5 degrees above pre-industrial levels. I call on you to show leadership and to share responsibilities.

The latest ILO report shows that job losses in carbon-intensive industries, but that this will be offset by the creation of 24 million new jobs around the world in green economies by 2030. In addition, the World Commission on the Economy and Climate Change published a report in early September demonstrating that climate action and socio-economic progress are mutually reinforcing, with estimated gains of $26 trillion by 2030.

OECD and its partners have the potential to strengthen the case for investment in green jobs and action on the measures taken under the Paris Agreement. Climate action is in line with creating economic dividends, if we are investing in clean and accessible energy we will succeed in generating revenues.


We will only achieve our aim, if we forge new partnerships: between governments, the private sector, civil society, the banks and academia. These partnerships have the potential to utilise the institutional knowledge and actualise new forms of financing required at all levels and from all sectors.

Upon signing the Addis Action Agenda, UN Member States committed to do this. I am heartened by the leadership shown by many; including partnerships within the framework of OECD- UN collaboration.

We must invest today in sustainable development to see future returns which will benefit everyone, everywhere. We have all agreed on a clearly designed roadmap and we know our destination. I ask each of you to take a step forward with me, along this path to 2030. The journey may seem arduous, but I assure you: by striving together, we will succeed in delivering for all.

I thank you.