For a resilient, inclusive and greener future

Secretary-General of the OECD

Could the recovery from the worst crisis in half a century finally take hold in 2014? There are several encouraging signs, not least in the US, where growth is expected to accelerate towards 3% in 2014. Activity is also picking up in Europe, Japan and China. Ireland has successfully exited the IMF/EU/ECB-supported programme.

OECD-wide unemployment should edge down slightly this year, though there are still over 13 million more unemployed than in 2008. Trade should receive a boost from the long-awaited deal struck by the World Trade Organization in Bali last December. All this good news will help lift public confidence, which in turn will feed into the global economic recovery.

However, the global outlook remains fragile. While leading indicators are showing signs of improvement in most advanced economies, the outlook for emerging economies is still weak relative to earlier growth projections. The burden of high debt and unemployment will continue to bear down on activity in the OECD area. Fragility in the euro area banking sector and the normalisation of global monetary conditions may also pose risks for the recovery. And investment, which is an important cylinder of the growth engine, has yet to be jump-started in the most mature economies.

In the financial sector, more work is needed to prevent the excessive risk taking and exposure that led to the crisis. Liquidity is abundant as a result of accommodating monetary stances in the world’s largest economies, but credit conditions for small and medium-sized firms remain tight. Efforts to strengthen the financial system worldwide and to sever the links between banking and sovereign debt distress in Europe are most welcome for making sure that improvements in the global financial outlook translate into better prospects for the real economy.

An important, hard-learned lesson from the crisis is the need to ensure that future growth delivers a resilient, inclusive and greener future for all. In 2013 the OECD was again at the heart of multilateral efforts, by supporting the reform agendas of member and partner countries, as well as the G20 and G8 dialogue mechanisms. For example, OECD work to promote international tax transparency through automatic exchange of information as the new single and global standard, and to address tax avoidance by multinationals, based on the G20/OECD Action Plan on Base Erosion and Profit Shifting (BEPS), will help build a fairer and more efficient international tax system.

OECD work has continued to promote inclusive growth, boost skills, and support our members’ efforts to create more and better quality jobs, particularly for the young. The OECD also raised policy awareness about the role that investment in knowledgebased capital (KBC) and trade in value added (TiVA) should play in growth and development strategies, highlighted the importance of participation in global value chains as a driver of growth, and drew attention to global challenges, such as climate change and the cost of inaction in this area. To regain the trust of citizens in governments and institutions, which was severely dented by the crisis, the OECD has been working to promote competition, stamp out market rigging, promote integrity in public administration and fight corruption. Work on measuring well-being is shedding further light on the legacies of the crisis, while public interest in this path-finding work continues to grow, with over 1 million new online visitors accessing the OECD’s Better Life Index.

All of this progress is but the platform from which we stand to view the challenges ahead. As we begin a new year, we take heart in the inspirational words of the recently departed President Nelson Mandela, whose commitment to peace, co-operation and equality set an example for us all. With foresight about the challenges faced by his country, he eloquently noted that “after climbing a great hill, one only finds that there are many more hills to climb.”

In November 2013 we commemorated the 50th anniversary of the passing of President John F Kennedy, who played such a key role in the creation of the OECD. As President Kennedy noted when ratifying the convention establishing the OECD in March 1961, “united, there is little we cannot do in a host of co-operative ventures. Divided, there is little we can do.”

We know from experience that peace and prosperity are hard won, but also easily lost. In 2014 a tentative though firming recovery is on the cards. To nurture and sustain it, we must let co-operation guide our thinking and our actions. Together we must dedicate ourselves to the ongoing task of building a stronger, cleaner and fairer world by adopting “better policies for better lives”.

©OECD Observer No 297 Q4 2013

Economic data


Stay up-to-date with the latest news from the OECD by signing up for our e-newsletter :

Twitter feed

Suscribe now

<b>Subscribe now!</b>

To receive your exclusive print editions delivered to you directly

Online edition
Previous editions

Don't miss

  • In Iceland, geothermal power is being used for almost everything. Scientists and engineers from around the world are participating in a course at the United Nations University (UNU) to learn how to use geothermal energy in their own countries.
  • They are green and local--It’s a new generation of entrepreneurs in Kenya with big dreams of sustainable energy and the drive to see their innovative technologies throughout Africa.
  • Pole to Paris Project
  • Send a message from #EarthToParis.
  • From the World Bank: Managing the Impacts of Climate Change on Poverty
  • Black carbon causes millions of deaths every year and contributes to the warming of the planet. The United Nations Environment Programme explains how reducing black carbon can save lives and help combat climate change.
  • In order to face global warming, Asia needs at least $40 billion per year, derived from both the public and private sector. Read how to bridge the climate financing gap on the Asian Bank of Development's website.
  • How can cities fight climate change?
    Discover projects in Denmark, Canada, Australia, Japan and Mexico.
  • 10 climate-friendly habits everyone should adopt: Although the main aim of COP21 is to reach an international agreement on climate change between government stakeholders, it is also the perfect opportunity to remind citizens of how everyone can help to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in their day-to-day lives.
  • Climate: What's changed, what hasn't, what we can do about it. Lecture by OECD Secretary-General Angel Gurría, hosted by the London School of Economics and Aviva Investors in association with ClimateWise, London, UK, 3 July 2015.
  • Do you know the OECD’s web ending? Or which Serbian American engineer is famous for his electric cars? Try our latest OECD Observer crossword. It’s full of fun facts, simplex in style, and gives you the solution at the tip of a button. You can time yourself too.
  • French Economy Minister Emmanuel Macron came to the OECD on 18 September for a webcast discussion on economic reforms, inequality and the outlook, with OECD Secretary-General Angel Gurría. You can watch the event by clicking on the photo.
  • Climate change: “We should not disagree when scientists tell us we have a window of opportunity–10-15 years–to turn this thing around” argues Senator Bernie Sanders.

  • In the long-run, the EU benefits from migration, says OECD Head of International Migration Division Jean-Christophe Dumont.
  • Is technological progress slowing down. Is it speeding up? At the OECD, we believe the research from our Future of ‪Productivity‬ project helps to resolve this paradox.
  • An employee prepares breakfast in front of the Eiffel tower at the Parisian luxury hotel Le Plaza Athenee, France July 30, 2015. Nowhere in the world has more accommodation available on Airbnb than Paris. Now the home-sharing website that has transformed budget travel to the French capital is giving its super-deluxe hotels a fright too (©REUTERS/Stephane Mahe).
  • Is inequality bad for growth? That redistribution boosts economies is not established by the evidence says FT economics editor Chris Giles. Read more on
  • Low interest rates here to stay for half a century, says OECD director Adrian Blundell-Wignall.
  • Bill Gates visited the OECD on 26 June. He met with the Secretary-General Angel Gurría to discuss areas of collaboration with his foundation and participated at a briefing session on official development assistance modernisation with OECD experts.
  • The People’s Republic of China decided to enhance longstanding collaboration with the OECD and to join the OECD Development Centre, in a historic visit by Chinese Premier Li Keqiang on 1 July to the OECD in Paris.
  • Catherine Mann, OECD Chief Economist, explains on Bloomberg why "too much bank lending can slow economic growth".
  • Interested in a career in Paris at the OECD? The OECD is a major international organisation, with a mission to build better policies for better lives. With our hub based in one of the world's global cities and offices across continents, find out more at .
  • Come va la vita in Italia? How's life in Italy? The OECD Better Life Index is an interactive online platform in seven languages that goes beyond GDP by offering important insights into measuring well-being and quality of life. Try it for yourself!

Most Popular Articles


What issue are you most concerned about in 2015?

Euro crisis
Global warming
International conflict

OECD Insights Blog

NOTE: All signed articles in the OECD Observer express the opinions of the authors
and do not necessarily represent the official views of OECD member countries.

All rights reserved. OECD 2015