New York

28 October 2020

Secretary-General's video message to the Ministerial Meeting of the OECD Council, 28-29 October

Excellencies,  Ladies and gentlemen,  Distinguished colleagues, 

The year 2020 has exposed tremendous global fragilities and vulnerabilities. 

But it has also helped show how in today’s world, solidarity is self-interest. 

Solidarity with those suffering from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

And solidarity in ensuring a recovery that transforms people’s lives for the better. 

Even before the pandemic, we were off-track in meeting the Sustainable Development Goals.  

We were far from the goals of the Paris agreement on climate change.  

OECD estimates show that private finance flows to developing economies could drop by $700 billion, which is greater than the 2008 financial crisis. 

At the same time, we see tremendous debt vulnerabilities emerging, especially among commodity- and tourism-dependent economies.  

Since the beginning, I have pushed for a massive rescue package worth at least 10 per cent of the global economy. 
 
Developed countries have provided enormous relief for their own societies.  They can afford it.  
  
But we need to ensure that the developing world does not fall into financial ruin, escalating poverty and debt crises. 
 
Specifically, the international community should increase resources available to the International Monetary Fund, including through a new allocation of Special Drawing Rights and a voluntary reallocation of existing Special Drawing Rights.   
 
At the same time, many countries urgently need debt relief.   

I welcome the G20’s extension of the Debt Service Suspension Initiative for another 6 months, but will continue to push for extension through the end of 2021 and, critically, to expand its scope to all developing and Middle-Income countries in need.  

We must act to address liquidity shortages and free up fiscal revenues to enable a new beginning. 

We must build a future that guarantees equal rights and opportunities for the world’s women and girls.   

And we must work for a green recovery that accelerates our response to the climate crisis and ensures a world of net zero emissions by 2050.   

I am urging all governments to take six climate-positive actions to recover better together from this crisis. 
  
Invest in green jobs.   
  
Do not bail out polluting industries, especially coal.   
  
End fossil-fuel subsidies and put a price on carbon.  
  
Take climate risks into account in all financial and policy decisions.  
  
Work together in solidarity. 
  
And, most important, leave no one behind. 
  
This is the course of action that thousands of companies, cities, states, regions, universities and investors are already choosing by committing to net zero emissions by 2050 at the latest. 
 
Excellencies,  

We need global solutions to global challenges —whether it is in defeating the pandemic or tackling the climate crisis. 

Finance, technology and science are three critical instruments, provided they are available and accessible in both quality and quantity. 

The pandemic is a wake-up call for a better relationship between science and policy-making, for more effective international technology cooperation, and for building public trust in science.    
It is crucial to look beyond near term impact, to help secure sustainable results over time and to motivate others to act. 

We must emerge from this pandemic on a path of true and lasting sustainable transformation. 

I count on you to help get us there with renewed global solidarity. 

Thank you.