Historical archive

Debate on “A New Paradigm for Development”

Historical archive

Published under: Stoltenberg's 2nd Government

Publisher Ministry of Foreign Affairs

OECD, 50th Anniversary Ministerial Council Meeting, Paris, 26 May 2011

Our ambition has been to define a more coherent and comprehensive approach to development – one that enlarges our vision for much needed aid effectiveness to what really matters: development effectiveness, Foreign Minister Støre said in his statement.

Check against delivery

Madame Secretary, 

Thank you for your introduction. We are inspired by your commitment and enduring drive to bring the development agenda forward. It goes to the core of the OECD of the 21st century: modern, relevant, effective. 

Let me also commend the Secretary-General who deserves our gratitude for putting development at the heart of the whole Organisation, and for his important contribution to the draft Framework for an OECD Strategy for Development.  

This is, in my view, a historic document, with far reaching implications for how we think – and how we do development. 

Norway has worked closely with the United States, the Secretariat and other partners on this document. Our ambition has been to define a more coherent and comprehensive approach to development – one that enlarges our vision for much needed aid effectiveness to what really matters: development effectiveness. 

Development has always been the OECD’s core business. What was the vision for the war-torn European countries after World War II? To develop and secure democracy, human rights, human dignity and good governance. 

The OECD used to be a “Western” organisation, but dividing the global world today into West, East, North and South doesn’t make sense. What we are dealing with here has a global dimension – not a sub-regional or a regional dimension. 

Allow me to make four brief remarks.

Firstly, the original goal of the OECD – development on the basis of democracy and a market economy – remains both valid and pertinent.

However, this entails not only economic growth measured by digits of GDP. Today, development on the basis of democracy and market economy also entails equity and sustainability – and as Secretary Clinton stressed – for all, women and men alike. Our objective is a stronger, cleaner and fairer world economy.

The relation between economic growth and the advancement of living standards depends on many factors, including economic and social inequality and, no less importantly, on what governments do with the public revenue that is generated by economic growth. As Professor Amartya Sen put it recently, “Sustainable economic growth is a very good thing in a way that ‘growth mania’ is not”.

Secondly, we need to maximise the use of the OECD – our organisation. The OECD needs to open up more and share its knowledge more actively.

After 50 plus years of existence in a rapidly changing and globalised world, we should make much better use of the OECD’s wide-ranging expertise and capacities. The OECD must become more accessible and relevant – both to non-member developing countries and to other international bodies.

As our Secretary-General said recently, the OECD is not a think tank – but a do tank. We need to focus on what it takes to make it an effective “do tank”.

We must strengthen the OECD’s contribution to poverty reduction, sustainable development, and inclusive growth – based on both evidence and research.

The comparative advantage of the OECD has always been information gathering, knowledge sharing and particular emphasis on best practice.

That is what makes the OECD unique. In my view, our joint challenge – our window of opportunity - is to make much better use of the OECD’s added-value potential for world development. My message is that we should not shelve this framework or put it into some development corner. We need to make it a main policy priority driven by the Secretary-General.

Thirdly, we should not think that we have all the answers about development. Research and evidence gathering must go on.

We need to enter into much closer dialogue with our new partners, the emerging economies, and with poorer developing countries.  

We have to recognise that the more recent experience of the emerging economies is as relevant for those lagging behind as the lessons learned from the course that we have followed.

We should establish the OECD as the world’s number one centre of excellence and forum for dialogue on development best practice. To achieve this, we must leverage all the Organisation’s resources in all its various fields.

Sometimes it seems that the development community and other policy communities live separate lives, drawing up their own analyses, strategies and languages.

Instead, we need to work across the whole Organisation. We must draw on its broad range of expertise and on the best practices developed over the years.

I am very pleased that the OECD has already moved in this direction, for instance by contributing to the G-20 development agenda and launching the Tax for Development initiative. But we need to do more.

Right now – for example – we should reach out to the emerging democracies in North Africa and offer to share our experience with them.

Fourthly, we need a new paradigm – and the draft framework is a valuable step. Again we must shift focus from aid effectiveness to development effectiveness.

In my country, we have long realised that development is not only, or even mainly, about aid. It is about – and let me mention some key areas:

  • Good governance.
  • Political decisions aimed at developing public and private sectors in tandem.
  • International trade and investment.
  • Equitable resource mobilisation.
  • Fair and efficient tax collection and tax administration.
  • Political accountability, fighting corruption and illegal capital flows.
  • Inclusive social and gender policies.
  • Energy and food security.
  • And development is also about green growth, growth that mitigates climate change.

In such a new and comprehensive paradigm, we all need to contribute on the basis of our comparative strengths. This goes for the OECD as a whole as well as for individual countries and governments.

Working across boundaries is illustrated by the fact that Norway is represented here by the Prime Minister, the Finance Minister and by me – the Foreign Minister. Our agenda is common.

The ongoing work in the OECD on issues like tax and development, food security, and investment in infrastructure development as well as other areas is adding real value to the international development efforts. We should follow this closely.

Norway warmly welcomes the recommendations on strengthening existing OECD mechanisms for policy dialogue and knowledge-sharing. Applying a comprehensive approach to development is key.

Madame Secretary,

Finally, Norway looks forward to driving the OECD development agenda ahead in a joint effort with the Secretariat and other member states, again with the Secretary-General personally taking responsibility for leading the efforts of the OECD.

Norway stands ready to contribute. Our comparative strengths include expertise on green growth, tax administration, anti-corruption, natural resource development, and gender equality. Sharing this expertise is already part and parcel of our development policy.

Together, we can make a real difference for world development.

Thank you.