Good morning. I would like to thank you for joining us here at the Organization of American States for the presentation of this very insightful report entitled “Perspectives on Global Development” prepared by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.
This is another example of OAS-OECD collaboration, and in the context of the current international situation I believe it is important to foster these relations. With the OECD we have been working in other areas as well and I do want to mention the Partnership for Democratic Governance, led by Ambassador Jerzi Pomianoswky; just two days ago I was discussing with him the efforts in the Republic of Haiti, facilitating dialogue between non-state actors and the Government and donors.
That is why we are pleased that the OECD has decided to launch this report also at the OAS. While its findings are relevant for policy experts and decision makers around the globe, it contains several clear messages for the member states of our Organization as well.
I believe that these analyses will help us better understand the underlying reasons of the significant structural changes that have taken place in the global economy over the past two decades and the current shift in wealth now happening from the world’s most developed economies to several newly emerging economic powers from the developing world.
Shifting of wealth is part of a global process of repositioning of countries and private capital.
This is a consequence of the end of the cold war, the breaking down of the bi-polar world, the opening up of major markets, globalizations and trade liberalization, just to mention a few elements. Add to this mix of driving factors of global change the recent financial and economic crisis, the environmental challenges, climate change, the food and energy situation and the eradication of poverty and inequality, then the international scene is a very complex and interesting one.
This process has not ended, because no one knows how a new international order will look like. Are we going back to a bi-polar global arrangement, or are the aspirations of others to make a multi-polar arrangement more of a reality.
At the same time, we observe a proliferation of alliances, some of them unique, especially in the South-South context, but we have to be careful that it does not become confusing and counter-productive. We need a deep and strategic discussion on the elements of the emerging global governance structures and make sure that they are inclusive and not exclusive, that they are democratic in decision making and not dominated by the few and that they are mandated and equipped to serve all nations equally.
I say this in the context of the fact that more than 80% of the world is not really represented in the debate and often, very often, has no say in the final decision making. In my view that is unacceptable, especially if we know that the inter-connectedness of the world is of such a nature that not taking account of the interests of the developing nations is ultimately going to hurt the richer countries in the world as well.
Clearly we not only need a new global financial and economic order, with possibly new financial arrangements, new roles for the Bretton Woods institutions, etc, but also a new vision on the world especially in the context of developing sustainable economies, in light of climate change, poverty eradication, environmental challenges, etc.
And in the same way and for the same reason we need also a new orientation in international affairs in terms of the linkages between countries and how they relate to each other.
We need to understand that the complexity and multiplicity of the challenges in terms of people, equality, finance, security, environment, etc. require a multilateral approach. No country alone on its own can solve these problems, there is need for consultation, cooperation and collaboration. Therefore we need to start rethinking of the role of international organizations and regional organizations to facilitate a smooth transition. Because in the end we all are in the same boat and we serve the same audience: the people of world, the same objectives of peace and prosperity for all.
In is in this context that the OAS has specific interest in being part of this global and regional debate.
In the Western Hemisphere, we are working on several initiatives to address these larger risks.
During the Fifth Summit of the Americas in Trinidad and Tobago, the leaders of the Americas called for the establishment of an Inter-American Social Protection Network.
This network, officially launched one year ago in New York City by the OAS and its partners, has sought to exchange information on policies, experiences, programs, and best practices of social protection programs among the member states of the Americas.
It is a community of ministries and agencies, international organizations, non-governmental organizations, the private sector, and academia to share their own experiences and knowledge on programs and tools to provide help to those most in need.
The experiences of cash transfer programs in Brazil and Mexico are shared with other nations throughout the Americas.
We have also worked with partners to strengthen other key South-to-South information and resource sharing such as the Inter-American Network for Labor Administration and the OAS’s work to help to collect information on micro, small, and medium enterprises, which are a key engine to job creation and will be central to any strategy that to overcome poverty in the region.
These are just a few of the many initiatives that the OAS has developed with partners to address social and economic development.
As we will hear today from our esteemed guests from the OECD, these new shifts in the structure of the global economy are substantial, and if we work intelligently to understand the trends as they are happening, we can hopefully tap into the fullest potential to help lift hundreds of millions from austere economic challenges to lives in prosperity.
Thank you very much.