Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton delivered remarks at the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development's (OECD) 50th Anniversary Commemoration in Paris on May 25, 2011. Secretary Clinton said:
"This is such an auspicious occasion as we mark the 50th anniversary of the important work that the OECD has done. But before the OECD, there was General George C. Marshall. He realized that a peaceful, stable Europe would need more than rebuilt town squares, railroad tracks, and factories. He knew that Europe needed a community of shared economic values. And therefore he, along with President Truman, decided to convene such a community. And what we saw was this remarkable commitment to the rebuilding of former adversaries at the end of a devastating world war because there was a recognition that we needed, as the slogan goes, better policies for better lives, and that through those better policies that would create better lives, there would be a greater chance for peaceful cooperation and real human security.
"When President Kennedy ratified the OECD convention 50 years ago, he, too, hoped to help widen the circle of economic cooperation. What followed for the OECD, and indeed for the world, surpassed even his ambitious vision. Because we did not seek economic growth just for ourselves, but we understood that we would all benefit from growing the pie, and we welcomed partners into a system designed to help all nations begin to create better lives for their own people. And as a result, together we helped usher in the greatest era of growth the world has seen.
"A group of European nations, along with the United States, became a transatlantic community and then the global network that we celebrate today with 34 countries, a secretary general from Mexico, a prime minister from France, a prime minister from Japan, and the president of the European Commission, and partners from all over the world. But for all of its changes, the OECD remains as it was in those earliest days, a community of shared values, open and effective markets, human rights, freedoms, and the rule of law, accountable governments and leaders, free, fair and transparent competition, President Kennedy's belief that a rising tide can and must lift all boats."
She continued, "...Two decades ago, when the Berlin Wall came down, the nations of Eastern Europe turned to the OECD for help not only to build democracies, but also market economies. And today, we need to work with a new generation of emerging economies and emerging democracies as they chart their own futures. The values, standards, and hard-won knowledge of the OECD are as essential as ever. And it falls to us to promote them in this tumultuous time. I applaud the OECD for its bold vision statement which we are unveiling today for endorsement by this ministerial. I believe if this vision statement is followed and implemented through specific, concrete actions, it will help the OECD to have its next 50 years be as successful as its past."
Secretary Clinton outlined three of the most important ideas of the vision statement. She said, "To start, many of our nations are seeking a stronger economic recovery. All of us want more opportunities and more jobs for our own citizens. So the OECD must continue to deliver forward-leaning policies that help unlock the potential for inclusive, sustainable economic growth. Sometimes that means raising standards for how our companies operate and compete. Other times, it means making markets more effective and lowering economic barriers."
She continued, "...Second, development was at the heart of the OECD's founding mission -- in fact, the 'D' at the end of the title. And it belongs at the center of our agenda today and in years to come...And third, we cannot simply raise our own standards or level the economic playing field among OECD nations. A global economy depends on a global network, and therefore, the OECD must continue to build varied, flexible partnerships in service of the standards we have worked to achieve. We have already seen how deeper engagement helps all of us to share lessons and best practices."
In conclusion, the Secretary said, "...Half a century ago there was no guarantee that the world's great economies would coalescence around a common vision, but that is exactly what happened. And there were no guarantees that nations from Mexico to Chile to South Korea would grow into dynamic developed partners, but they have. The same values and vision needs to continue to guide us, and that's why the new vision for the future is so critical."
You can read Secretary Clinton's complete remarks here.