"A better world for all"

Secretary-General of the OECD

Joint statement with Kofi A. Annan, Secretary-General of the United Nations, Horst Köhler, Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund, James D. Wolfensohn, President of the World Bank Group. 

Poverty in all its forms is the greatest challenge to the international community. Of special concern are the 1.2 billion people living on less than $1 a day and the additional 1.6 billion living on less than $2 a day.

Setting goals to reduce poverty is an essential part of the way forward. Building on the global United Nations conferences and summits of the 1990s, the development goals described in this report are broad goals for the entire world. They address some of the many dimensions of poverty and its effects on people's lives. In accepting these goals, the international community makes a commitment to the world's poorest and most vulnerable — and to itself.

The goals are set in precise terms — measured in numbers to ensure accountability. The openness and transparency of such numbers can help us chart a course to achieve the goals and track progress. But people are not numbers — happiness is not a statistic. These goals are worthwhile because they will improve the quality of human life. The world will be better, and safer, for its 6 billion people and for the projected 7 billion people in 2015.

Goals cannot be imposed — they must be embraced. Each country must identify its own particular goals, its own path to development, and make its own commitment through dialogue with its citizens. In this, the support of the international community is vital. And the high-income countries, because of their greater resources, have much to contribute.

It is essential for all the partners in this development effort to pursue faster, sustainable growth strategies that favour the poor. To spend efficiently — avoiding waste and ensuring that the mechanisms for accountability are always in place. To spend effectively — on activities aimed at human, social and economic development, not on excessive military capacity or on environmentally disastrous projects. And to spend wisely — not committing public resources to activities that can be best undertaken by the private sector.

What are the obstacles? Weak governance. Bad policies. Human rights abuses. Conflicts, natural disasters and other external shocks. The spread of HIV/AIDS. The failure to address inequities in income, education and access to health care, and the inequalities between men and women.

But there is more. Limits on developing countries' access to global markets, the burden of debt, the decline in development aid and, sometimes, inconsistencies in donor policies also hinder faster progress.

What will it take to overcome these obstacles? True partnership - and a continuing commitment to eliminate poverty in its many dimensions. Our institutions are actively using these development goals as a common framework to guide our policies and programmes and to assess our effectiveness. We cannot afford to lose the fight against poverty. And we must be unshakeable in our unified desire to win that fight - for everyone.

©OECD Observer No 223, October 2000

Economic data

GDP growth: +0.6% Q4 2017 year-on-year
Consumer price inflation: 2.6% May 2018 annual
Trade: +2.7% exp, +3.0% imp, Q4 2017
Unemployment: 5.4% Mar 2018
Last update: 06 Jul 2018


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 paper editions delivered to you directly

Online edition
Previous editions

Don't miss

  • Watch the webcast of the final press conference of the OECD annual ministerial meeting 2018.
  • International co-operation, inclusive growth and digitalisation lead the themes of the 2018 OECD Forum in Paris on 29-30 May, under the banner of What brings us together www.oecd.org/forum. It is held alongside the annual OECD Ministerial Council Meeting on 30-31 May, chaired this year by France with a focus on multilateralism www.oecd.org/mcm.
  • Listen to the "Robots are coming for our jobs" episode of The Guardian's "Chips with Everything podcast", in which The Guardian’s economics editor, Larry Elliott, and Jeremy Wyatt, a professor of robotics and artificial intelligence at the University of Birmingham, and Jordan Erica Webber, freelance journalist, discuss the findings of the new OECD report "Automation, skills use and training". Listen here.
  • Do we really know the difference between right and wrong? Alison Taylor of BSR and Susan Hawley of Corruption Watch tell us why it matters to play by the rules. Watch the recording of our Facebook live interview here.
  • Has public decision-making been hijacked by a privileged few? Watch the recording of our Facebook live interview with Stav Shaffir, MK (Zionist Union) Chair of the Knesset Committee on Transparency here.
  • Can a nudge help us make more ethical decisions? Watch the recording of our Facebook live interview with Saugatto Datta, managing director at ideas42 here.
  • Ambassador Aleksander Surdej, Permanent Representative of Poland to the OECD, was a guest on France 24’s English-language show “The Debate”, where he discussed French President Emmanuel Macron’s speech at the World Economic Forum in Davos.
  • The fight against tax evasion is gaining further momentum as Barbados, Côte d’Ivoire, Jamaica, Malaysia, Panama and Tunisia signed the BEPS Multilateral Convention on 24 January, bringing the total number of signatories to 78. The Convention strengthens existing tax treaties and reduces opportunities for tax avoidance by multinational enterprises.
  • Rousseau
  • Do you trust your government? The OECD’s How's life 2017 report finds that only 38% of people in OECD countries trust their government. How can we improve our old "Social contract?" Read more.
  • Papers show “past coming back to haunt us”: OECD Secretary-General Angel Gurria tells Sky News that the so-called "Paradise Papers" show a past coming back to haunt us, but one which is now being dismantled. Please watch the video.
  • When someone asks me to describe an ideal girl, in my head, she is a person who is physically and mentally independent, brave to speak her mind, treated with respect just like she treats others, and inspiring to herself and others. But I know that the reality is still so much different. By Alda, 18, on International Day of the Girl. Read more.
  • Globalisation’s many benefits have been unequally shared, and public policy has struggled to keep up with a rapidly-shifting world. The OECD is working alongside governments and international organisations to help improve and harness the gains while tackling the root causes of inequality, and ensuring a level playing field globally. Please watch.
  • Read some of the insightful remarks made at OECD Forum 2017, held on 6-7 June. OECD Forum kick-started events with a focus on inclusive growth, digitalisation, and trust, under the overall theme of Bridging Divides.
  • Checking out the job situation with the OECD scoreboard of labour market performances: do you want to know how your country compares with neighbours and competitors on income levels or employment?
  • Trade is an important point of focus in today’s international economy. This video presents facts and statistics from OECD’s most recent publications on this topic.
  • The OECD Gender Initiative examines existing barriers to gender equality in education, employment, and entrepreneurship. The gender portal monitors the progress made by governments to promote gender equality in both OECD and non-OECD countries and provides good practices based on analytical tools and reliable data.
  • 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 www.oecd.org/careers .
  • Visit the OECD Gender Data Portal. Selected indicators shedding light on gender inequalities in education, employment and entrepreneurship.

Most Popular Articles

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 2018