©AFP ImageForum

The recovery in the Irish economy is well underway. Determined policy responses to the fiscal, economic and financial sector challenges Ireland faced are now bearing fruit, with Ireland expected to be among the fastest-growing economies in the OECD this year and next. 

©Rights reserved/www.JoanBurton.ie

Ireland’s job market has improved markedly, thanks in no small part to strong policies for new skills to meet evolving demands and engagement with people out of work. 

Is replacing fossil fuels with renewable sources such as solar and wind really feasible? A lot has to happen first, including a change in how we use energy. 

©Phil Noble/Reuters

When the International Energy Agency (IEA) was formed in 1974, concern over climate change was in its infancy. While the greenhouse effect was known it was not widely recognised, and the debate about the long-term effect of CO2 emissions was confined more or less to academia. 

©Phil Noble/Reuters

World leaders attending the UN Conference on Climate Change (COP21) in Paris know they have a rare opportunity to forge a new international agreement to combat climate change and set forth a pathway towards a low-carbon world. More ambition will be needed by all sides if global temperatures are to be prevented from rising above 2°C, the agreed threshold for preventing catastrophic climate change. But even without that target, unleashing a low-carbon future makes sense for health, costs and sustainable development.

©Olivier Martin-Gambier

OECD Business brief

"Electric vehicles are the only practical, affordable solution to our planet’s environmental challenges–and they are available today. To get the most out of it, there is one condition: we need to act on a much larger scale. Also, the policy makers at the state and regional level must continue to encourage the switch to zero-emission vehicles."

Geothermal plant in Indonesia, which holds considerable geothermal energy potential thanks to its hundreds of active and extinct volcanoes ©Reuters/Beawiharta Beawiharta

Climate change is the pre-eminent challenge of our time. We need financing to mitigate and adapt to its impacts.  

©Reuters/Stringer

The human economy is a physical system embedded in society, which itself is embedded in a finite global ecosystem. The primary goal of the economy should be to meet basic human and social needs, now and in the future, without degrading the global ecosystem services upon which all life depends. How can this be done?

An ecological transition has been necessary for many years. It has now become vital. Faced with the prospect of the total destruction of people and the environment, we must send out an equally uncompromising wake-up call on the ties that bind humans and nature.

Oil, gas and coal represent over 80% of energy use worldwide, and are a major cause of greenhouse gas emissions and other unhealthy pollutants. These fossil fuels also drive the likes of transport, industrial output, lighting, heating and construction, and naturally their use is heavily concentrated in urban areas. Roughly half the world’s population live in urban areas, and as towns and cities are an important generator of emissions, they must also play a key role in the fight against climate change.

©Jackie Naegelen/Reuters

Faced with heavy pollution and congested roads, Paris is turning to electric vehicles to restore air quality. Its incentive policies for all forms of transport should inspire cities all over the world to follow suit.

©Vectuel-Studiosezz-PBA

In Paris, a major redevelopment in the illustrious Clichy-Batignolles district has set environmental goals of unprecedented ambition, paving the way for contemporary urban planning that offers better solutions to energy and climate concerns.

©Charlotte Moreau

A residential site on the rue Saint Charles in the 15th arrondissement of Paris was the first retrofit under the Climate Plan led by the city’s property management agency, Régie Immobilière de la Ville de Paris (RIVP). The project proved complex but exemplary, not just in its implementation and execution, but also in terms of managing relationships.

©CBADET

Near to the Paris ring road, shielded from the din of the motorway by an apartment block, nestled between two high-rises, lies an oasis of peace. It is a community garden created by Multi’Colors, and is just one of the many “urban sanctuaries” it has created in underprivileged neighbourhoods in and around the French capital.

“Like eating soup with a knife”: Peter O Toole (right) portrays TE Lawrence, with Omar Sharif, in the 1962 film, “Lawrence of Arabia” ©Kobal/The Picture Desk/AFP

Insurgency is a cause of underdevelopment in large areas of West Africa, holding back the task of achieving social and economic progress. 

©TUAC

A structural shift to a low-carbon economy will entail gains in jobs, but also losses, and the first jobs to be lost are not those that you think. A just energy transition will be needed, but how? 

As co-chairs of the Global Partnership for Effective Development Co-operation, my Mexican and Malawian colleagues and I have a huge task–and a huge opportunity–ahead. A new, truly universal development agenda is taking shape and it holds out to all people on this planet the promise of a more equal and sustainable world, with less conflict and less poverty.

©Charlotte Moreau

"Most of our problems are based on finances. Money is always an issue. I have to still provide for both my parents who are not working and make sure they are fed; I must pay their insurance policies because they no longer have the ability to pay them. I don’t earn enough money to afford all of that."

©Guiziou Franck/HEMIS.FR

Joacquim is a subsistence farmer from Etatara in Mozambique. At 46 years old, he is his family’s sole breadwinner, responsible for supporting his wife and three orphaned grandchildren. He lives in a traditional house, which he is unable to use as collateral, and grows maize, sorghum, cassava and beans. They consume a lot of the produce themselves, and what is not consumed is sold. Joacquim earns US$300-500 per month depending on the season and his produce.

©Thomas Muncke/DPA/DPA Picture Alliance/AFP

U Chit Po is 49 years old and runs a grocery store in Myanmar. He is responsible for his wife and two children. He recently had a major health scare and consequently would like to retire soon. U Chit Po has no medical coverage, as there is no licence for the health insurance market in Myanmar. His income consists of profit from his small business and interest on loans to others, which he lends at 20% interest per day. He has never saved in a formal banking institution, but his knowledge about the value and complexities of saving are highly sophisticated. He feels that banks have so much red tape, especially for provisions which he might need to access at short notice, and the interest offered by banks on savings is so little that it is not worth the hassle.

Women in developing countries are 21% less likely to own a mobile phone than men ©Reuters/Thomas Mukoya

Women are consumers, business owners, farmers, employees and entrepreneurs. They are dependent on market systems and need access to finance to manage their livelihoods.

"Investing in the future while tackling youth unemployment."

"The OECD and the G20 are moving in the right direction. Their goals are ambitious as they try to modernise the international taxation system. Achieving consensus on fundamental tax issues among so many countries will be a major achievement."

©Randstad

"A real problem for the world economy is the location mismatch between available jobs and employees. Skills mismatch in an employment landscape is mainly an outcome of structural rigidities in labour markets, but it is also influenced by cyclical gaps between demand and supply. Job creation is fundamental, but all aspects of the skills mismatch must be addressed."

 

Integrated planning, supported by clear public policies, new technologies and ways to safeguard the environment, is the path towards sustainable mobility in cities in Brazil, as elsewhere.

OECD

In the coming months, the international community will gather three times and on three different continents, to build a sustainable development agenda for generations to come.

"Even marginal shifts in public policy or human resource design can have a very positive impact on an employee’s current state and healthy retirement prospects."

©Technology Agency of the Czech Republic

 

"The number of people employed in R&D has grown by 50% in seven years. An extensive infrastructure of excellent scientific centres has been built in the Czech Republic in recent years. Centres like ELI, CEITEC or IT4Innovations have managed to establish partnerships with foreign partners and have excellent equipment and top scientists at their disposal via their extensive networks."

"There are many opportunities for lifelong learning available at the click of a button, so why is it that many employers still report a 'skills gap'?"

Mark Rutte, Prime Minister of the Netherlands and Chair of the 2015 Ministerial Council Meeting ©Nia Palli

This year’s OECD Ministerial Council Meeting, which we are honoured to chair, will address the issue of investment. The timing could not be better. Growth prospects have improved, but there is still a lot of work to be done.

Economic data

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