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Source: Small Island Developing States

12 July 2019: For the first time, the 2019 Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) Economic Growth Report explicitly includes environmental sustainability considerations. Titled ‘Going for Growth 2019,’ the report has an increased focus on reforms to make growth environmentally sustainable. It calls for the better use of environmental taxation, the phase out of agricultural subsidies and environmentally harmful tax breaks, and additional steps to reduce transport emissions, including more investment in better and low-emission public transport.

Overall, the 2019 report finds slow growth, high uncertainty, and rising levels of inequality, and it urges policy makers to take action to achieve stronger, sustainable, and more inclusive growth. The publication underscores that economic growth is weakening at a time when “key forces” such as globalization, digitalization, population aging, and environmental degradation are shaping economic developments. To address these megatrends, it recommends country-specific structural reforms that boost long-term growth, improve competitiveness and productivity, create jobs, and ensure a cleaner environment.

However, the 2019 assessment of top structural reform priorities in 46 OECD and non-OECD countries and their progress on key reforms finds “a disappointing pace of reforms in 2017-2018.” Education was the most common reform priority across countries.

The report makes the case for improving the conditions for labor market inclusion of women, migrants, minorities, and older workers, as prerequisites for sustainable economic growth. It also underlines that innovation policies need to support “radical innovation” and the diffusion and adoption of new technologies. It further emphasizes that restoring a multilateral, rules-based system is crucial, especially in areas like climate change, tax evasion and profit shifting, competition, trade, and migration. [OECD Press Release] [Publication: Going for Growth 2019]

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