U.S. joins allies to address COVID-19, climate and infrastructure

Countries around the world are coming together to build back a more inclusive, environmentally friendly world and strengthen economies in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken traveled to Paris to chair the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development’s (OECD) annual Ministerial Council Meeting. He also met with European Union leaders and French government officials to discuss combating the climate crisis and investing in sustainable development.

“We believe that our economic health is rooted in democracy, the rule of law, human rights, a commitment to open and transparent market economies,” Blinken said October 5 at the opening of the meeting. “The OECD’s influence has always been rooted in its ability to apply these shared principles to the most urgent challenges of the time, and to bring others along with us.”

At the meeting, leaders discussed how to:

  • Promote the global transition to net-zero emissions.
  • Ensure the gains of world trade are shared by all.
  • Manage the impact of critical and emerging technologies.
  • Promote the free flow of trusted data.
  • Find inclusive and equitable economic strategies to honor shared democratic values.

“We simply will not achieve a strong, equitable, resilient global economy if women and girls aren’t fully included,” Blinken said on October 6 during a press availability. “The same is true for LGBTI persons, for racial and ethnic minorities, anyone else excluded from full participation in the global economy. And the OECD is doing vital work across all of those areas.”

Blinken also joined business and civil society representatives to discuss the Blue Dot Network and the imperative to raise standards in infrastructure investment while at the OECD meeting. Jointly founded by the United States, Japan and Australia in 2019, Blue Dot helps certify that infrastructure projects meet robust international standards.

In line with the Blue Dot Network goals, Blinken announced a new initiative in partnership with the OECD — Connecting the Dots: Building Trusted Systems to Address Corruption in Infrastructure. This initiative will tackle corruption in infrastructure projects around the globe, complementing the Blue Dot Network’s goals of openness and transparency.

“The work of the OECD has never been so important,” Blinken concluded. “We’ve got to prove that our approach can make life better for people — in our countries and in all countries. And in a way that’s more equitable than it’s been in the past.”