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Speeches, 5/27/2011

Speech by Minister Väyrynen at the OECD 50th Anniversary Meeting

The OECD Meeting of the Council at Ministerial Level, OECD 50th Anniversary Forum
Plenary session, A New Paradigm for Development

Address by Dr. Paavo Väyrynen, Minister for Foreign Trade and Development, Finland
Paris, France, 26 May 2011

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Madame Chair, Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen

This spring I have finalized my 41 years long career as a parliamentarian. In a few days time I am going to finalize my 16 years long career - during five different decades - as cabinet minister. In all those decades, I have been responsible for the Finnish development policy. During all those years I have participated in the activities of the OECD.

Through my political career I have worked for sustainable development – long before this concept was created. In recent years the European Union has been an important forum for my activities.

In January 2009 I made the initiative of a Transatlantic Partnership for Sustainable Development. It was immediately accepted by my EU colleagues and by you, Madame Secretary, on behalf of the United States. The Partnership was established in the EU-US Summit in November 2009. Our common goal is to make poverty reduction more effective and to promote sustainable development all over the world.

My last effort has been to create a Global Sustainable Development Strategy for the EU. The Union is a leading political power in the world in the fields of development, trade and the environment. We have to build on these strengths and aim at real development policy coherence in our external action.

Actually, I believe that all main parties in the global development policy should have their global strategies which could then be dovetailed into something I have called by the name “humanity policy”, global action promoting the common values and goals of mankind.

Madame Chair,

I welcome our New Paradigm on Development.

But I would like to ask all of us, if we should have an even wider paradigm for development covering also the development of the industrialized countries. To use the Rio language from 1992, we still have unsustainable patterns of production and consumption and they are now spreading into the developing countries. On the other hand, as a consequence of the global developments we have increasing unemployment and poverty also in the industrialized countries.

Mankind is facing a lot of difficult challenges. At the same time there are increasing problems in governance both on global, regional and national levels. The sustainability of political systems is at risk. Also in Europe we have witnessed political turmoil both in countries struggling with the debt crisis and in countries assisting them – like in Finland.

In the Rio+20 Conference there is a possibility to recreate the comprehensive view on environment and development we had 20 years ago and also discuss the urgent issue of political governance and sustainability. The OECD should have a central role in preparing for the Conference.

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Updated 5/27/2011

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