Opening Remarks for the 2018 Sporting Chance Forum

Remarks delivered on 12-12-2018 at UNESCO, Paris.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

I am delighted to be here today for this important event to represent the OECD, which is part of the Advisory Council of the Centre for Sport and Human Rights and is committed to its success.

Sport teaches millions of people about values such as fair play, team spirit, respect for others, but also the importance of playing by the rules and of having a level playing field.

Sport has the potential to elevate us, but many recent examples show that some aspects of sport can have adverse effects, notably on human rights. I am thinking of corruption associated with sporting events. I am thinking of violations of human rights against workers and communities affected by sports-related infrastructure projects.

I am thinking of the recently uncovered abuses suffered by athletes, just to name a few.

These risks are exacerbated by the fact that sport is now a booming industry which by some estimates generates more than 145 billion dollars in annual revenue.[1] In particular, mega-sporting events involve high levels of public expenditure, large-scale investment from sponsors, together with high-value media contracts. This creates a high stakes, high risk environment for sports organisations, whose operations are often subject to little external oversight.

This shows that respect for human rights in the sporting context is a crucial and multifaceted challenge for governments, companies and sport organisations. It must be addressed from different angles, and this is what the OECD is trying to achieve. Let me give you three examples of OECD initiatives which seek to address sport-related human rights impacts.

First: on the anti-corruption front, the OECD, together with other international organisations, sports organisations, governments and stakeholders, has established in 2017 the International Partnership against Corruption in Sport. IPACS works towards better policies which can help pre-empt a number of challenges in those areas where the risk of corruption is particularly high.

Last week in London, IPACS held a high-level meeting where more than 100 Ministers, international sports organisations and experts reaffirmed their commitment to tackling corruption in sport, focusing on three specific areas where sport is particularly prone to corruption risk: public procurement for sport related infrastructure; managing conflict of interest in the selection of major sporting events; and strengthening the application of global governance standards to the world of sport.

These commitments were further strengthened by G20 countries’ recognition of IPACS in the new 2019-2021 G20 Anti-Corruption Action Plan adopted by Leaders in Buenos Aires. Tomorrow morning, the OECD Director for Legal Affairs, Nicola Bonucci, will discuss in more detail the achievements and future plans of this important multi-stakeholder initiative.

Second, on the remedy front, the OECD coordinates a network of non-judicial grievance mechanisms: the National Contact Points for Responsible Business Conduct. The NCPs are national bodies in charge of implementing the OECD Standard for Responsible Business Conduct, the well-known OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises. In that capacity, NCPs can receive cases against companies having allegedly breached the Guidelines.

NCPs provide a platform of dialogue to reach a solution for the issues raised.

As I said, in many instances, sport is a business, and NCPs have provided remedy in sport-related cases. To give just one example, in 2017 the Swiss NCP helped FIFA and the global union federation Building and Wood Workers International reach an agreement regarding the labour rights of workers employed on World Cup stadium construction sites in Qatar.

Third: on the local development front, in May this year the OECD Council, our highest political body, adopted the OECD Recommendation on Global Events and Local Development. This Recommendation applies to sporting events and sets the framework conditions to ensure that such events deliver on the promises they hold for host cities and nations.

It contains concrete guidance for Governments regarding planning, delivery, evaluation, governance and partnerships with other actors.

The Recommendation promotes the respect of human and labour rights throughout the event lifecycle to ensure community benefit and the creation of quality jobs. The OECD has also developed a forward-looking Implementation Strategy to help cities and countries achieve more sustainable global events and build stronger capacities to leverage local benefits for all.

These three examples show the incredible complexity of tackling all possible human rights issues linked to the world of sport, and how this is necessary to ensure the value and benefits of sport to communities and the economy. They also show that international organisations, governments, and private actors can come up with solutions for better respect for human rights through creative multilateral initiatives.

Thank you

[1] Global Corruption Report: Sport, Transparency International, Feb 2016. Changing the Game: Outlook for the Global Sports Market to 2015, PricewaterhouseCoopers.

Opening Remarks at the OECD-Trade Union Advisory Council Liaison Committee Meeting

Remarks delivered on 10-12-2018 in Paris, France.

Dear Pierre, Ambassadors, Ladies and Gentlemen,

It is my pleasure to welcome you to the OECD, and to exchange on the very timely topic “Growth and accountability today, just transition tomorrow”.

This is a time for dialogue. At the OECD, we are proud to have such strong links with Trade Unions. We share the same values, and reading your paper reinforced this for me. We both put people at the core of what is important.

Since we last met, the Council at the ministerial level adopted the OECD Framework for Policy Action on Inclusive Growth to look for ways in which growth can deliver for all. This does not look easy.

As your discussion paper highlights, the global economy is losing steam. Global GDP growth is projected to ease from 3.7% in 2018 to 3.5% by 2020, according to our latest Economic Outlook.

Tariff hikes and uncertainty about further protectionist actions are contributing to a slowdown in trade growth and are affecting investment plans. I just came back from the G20 Summit, and I can tell you that discussions were tough, but there was also confidence that agreements are possible.

Wages have not kept up with productivity growth in several countries and we see rising market concentration. Real wage growth has been a meagre 1.2% in recent years.

The digitalisation of our economies is also providing both opportunities and risks that we must fully understand and be prepared for, particularly regarding the future of work.

I am glad to see all these issues on today’s agenda. Before we begin, let me set the scene on two of these issues: ensuring business accountability; and the impact of digitalisation on our economies and workers.

Ensuring accountability and a level-playing field for business operating internationally is a priority for the OECD and we are working to extend the reach and impact of our legal and policy instruments.

For example, the fundamental objective of our ground-breaking efforts on Base Erosion and Profit Shifting is to ensure that profits are taxed where value is created. This gets more complicated with the implications that digitalisation has on tax. So we are working to seek a long-term solution, which can benefit all countries, and provide certainty to businesses.

The OECD Anti-Bribery Convention is now ratified by 44 countries including Argentina, Brazil and South Africa, and covers over 70% of world exports[1].  Since ratification, over 600 individuals and entities have been sanctioned for foreign bribery, facilitating a “clean up” of the practices of many companies.

Much progress has been made on Responsible Business Conduct as today 48 countries adhere to OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises, representing 80% of global outward FDI[2]. To help companies implement the Guidelines, we have developed Due Diligence Guidance for a number of specific sectors. And at the MCM in May, Ministers endorsed the general Due Diligence Guidance which can be used by any company in any sector.

In addition, we have put in place a unique peer review mechanism to strengthen the National Contact Point system and a new Action Plan has been developed for 2019-2021.

The OECD/G20 Principles of Corporate Governance were also reviewed and 60 non-members have subsequently joined.

But I agree with the reflections in your paper, that besides strengthening implementation, we should create more synergies between these instruments for more impact on the ground. We are moving in this direction, for example, the DAF/NAEC event on Corporate Governance for Sustainable Prosperity held in April aligned well with your suggestions.

The digital transformation is having significant implications for the labour market. As your paper mentions, we estimate that around 14% of jobs are likely to be automated in the near future. Another 32% will be change significantly. The way we work is already changing too: almost 1 in 3 workers has a non-standard job, with great variance in terms of pay, job security, access to social protection, and collective bargaining coverage.

There is also a growing concern about market concentration as indicated by increasing mark-ups. We are working to better understand the nature of changes in business dynamics, and analysing whether competition tools designed for traditional markets need to be adapted to the digital economy.

Besides ensuring that the digital revolution continues to deliver for productivity and growth, ensuring connectivity and affordable access for all; strengthening skills, fostering new jobs and ensuring social protection; ensuring sound competition and market openness as well as the protection of individual’s privacy and consumer rights, are all key elements of a people-centred approach to digitalisation. It’s essential to close the digital divides, for instance between rural and urban areas, and men and women. Gender divide is staggering, but all in all it is important to enhance policies for people to participate.

Our new Jobs Strategy launched last week puts an increased focus on social dialogue and the need for collective bargaining systems that are inclusive and flexible enough to deliver good jobs and adapt to changing economic conditions. We have also recently taken on the secretariat function for the Global Deal, which will help us supporting workers in the future of work and in the platform economy.

All this does not happen in a vacuum. We should continue to address the increased inequalities of income and opportunities all across the board.

Finally, to promote future welfare and prosperity, we need to transition to a low-carbon economy.  OECD research shows that climate-compatible policies can increase economic growth up to 2.8% on average across the G20 countries by 2050. But, while the net effects are likely to be positive, some communities will be negatively affected. We need to make sure that workers receive the support they need through a just transition.

The transition can also be done through the tax system. The OECD publications on Effective Carbon Rates and Taxing Energy Use provide useful data in this regard. It is not easy, as we have seen for France, so the policy packages to move in this direction are really important.

And of course we continue to support the G20 because all of this needs multilateral cooperation. Indeed, I am going to Tokyo next week for a series of discussions on Japan’s presidency. The recommendations and the views that you bring through the L20 are also important to ensure G20 commitments are fit for purpose.

In all these efforts, TUAC is a valued and trusted institutional partner of the OECD. You have been proactive partners in providing a constant reminder that decent jobs and wages need to be part of our compass for the recovery, and stressing that only through addressing inequalities we can rebuild trust.

I look forward to a stimulating and interactive discussion today.

Thank you

[1] DAF calculations

[2] DAF calculations

Panel Remarks: Cultural policies and beyond: Culture as a lever for Inclusive Growth

Remarks delivered in Venice at the OECD Conference on Unleashing the Transformative Power of Culture and Creativity for Local Development

Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen

I’m pleased to be able to have this conversation, as I think culture and inequalities are linked, although the link is often overlooked. Indeed, in times of fiscal austerity as we have seen in Europe, cultural activities are often the first to suffer from government cuts.

Let me first introduce the panel. With us today we have:

  • Gianluca VACCA, Under State Secretary at the Italian Ministry of Cultural Heritage and Activities
  • Caroline NORBURY, CEO of Creative England, and Member of the Board of European Creative Industries Network
  • Ambassador Umberto VATTANI, President of the International University of Venice

I am looking forward to hearing your views. But before we do, I would just like to briefly set the scene for the discussion.

Let me start with the big picture: rising inequalities and the persistent lack of inclusive growth is one of the most urgent global challenges we face today.

Top incomes continue to rise: the richest 10% now command around ten times the income of the poorest 10% on average across the OECD, up from seven times 25 years ago.[1] The picture in terms of wealth is worse: the top 1% now holds 19% of total wealth across the OECD.[2]

This skewed distribution with concentrations of power, wealth and influence at the top of the income distribution is fuelling a backlash against globalization and the return of populism and protectionism in many countries. Citizen’s trust in governments has plummeted: only 42% of people trust their governments across the OECD, whilst 54% of the general population trust financial service providers to “do the right thing”.[3]

The OECD has responded by advocating to place the person back at the centre of public policy, to move away from overvaluing GDP growth as a means in itself, and rather place greater value on people’s wellbeing.

Our Policy Framework for Inclusive Growth is designed to help countries create fairer, more inclusive and sustainable growth. The Framework has three key pillars: invest in people and places left behind; support business dynamism and inclusive labour markets; and rebuild trust with more efficient and responsive governments.

Art and culture, as the finest expressions of creativity, values and fundamental humanity, play a role in these elements.

Firstly, culture and art can be tools for bridging exclusive social divides and promote social cohesion. As ideological camps are becoming more entrenched, we are losing track of our values of empathy, tolerance, and understanding. Not only are these fundamental human values necessary for strong societies, but it’s these socio-emotional skills that are necessary to create any kind of economic, social, or political progress or consensus.

Communities around the world are therefore using cultural programmes to integrate disadvantaged populations more effectively into economic and social life. This is also important in the integration of migrants as questions of identity and belonging become increasingly complex.

For example, the UN Migration Agency and programmes like Creative Europe are endorsing creative solutions for both adults and children to bring individuals together around art and culture. Art, music, and sport can help us learn and appreciate different cultures, and provides common ground from which to build empathy, understanding, and tolerance.

Second, socio-emotional skills are essential in the context of the future of work and the dawn of digitalisation, where they are becoming  increasingly desirable.

Over the past three years the proportion of job adverts requiring “critical thinking” has risen by 158 per cent, “creativity” by 65 per cent and “team work” by 19 per cent. Employers value workers that are well-rounded and can think creatively. Acquiring these skills will be essential for children’s learning. Formal education should cultivate the creativity and critical thinking skills of students to help them succeed in modern, globalised economies based on knowledge and innovation.

For the first time, this year the OECD’s PISA included “Global Competence” among its assessment frameworks. In 2021, PISA will test Creative Thinking for the first time.

Providing wider opportunities to cultural and artistic enrichment programmes can therefore be an effective way of building these socio-emotional skills in students and workers, preparing them for new forms of work.

For example, enhancing access to libraries and cultural centres, museums and cultural services, targeting cultural policies to disadvantaged populations or remote areas, is an example of investment in people and places left behind that can promote greater inclusion in the future of work. Governments should invest in these services, particularly in poorer regions, where people feel left behind.

A lack of cultural activities can contribute to the accumulation of inequalities from a young age. Parents in low socio-economic households might not have the time, nor the means to spend on cultural activities. We can see divides starting to emerge very early on, for example, if families aren’t providing sufficient learning stimuli to their children, it can lead to deficiencies in brain development, which is difficult to make up at a later stage. Research shows that children from low socio-economic status may hear up to 30 million words less than children in wealthier households.[4] So by the age of three, a child’s future learning outcomes could be significantly pre-determined.

What’s more, research has shown that cultural activities can have a positive effect on mental and physical well-being, helping to reduce stress and promote relaxation. Specifically, people often going to concerts, museums, art galleries, or the cinema, can have lower mortality rates compared to people who rarely engage in these activities, even when age, gender, social background, education and income have been controlled for.[5]

Third, there are also economic benefits to using culture as a tool to achieve more inclusive growth. Specifically, the cultural sector can act as a powerful lever for female empowerment and in the inclusion of minorities.[6]

In most European countries the female employment rate in culture exceeds their employment rate overall. In Latvia, for example, the cultural employment rate of women is almost 70% while the country’s overall female employment rate remains at 50%.[7]

Regions can significantly develop by putting the cultural and the creative sectors front and centre of their development strategies, reducing regional and place-based inequalities.[8] As well as providing employment, cultural activities also breathe life into cities, inspiring innovation and engagement in city life while also building social cohesion and strengthening a distinctive shared identity for citizens.[9]

Focusing on cultural preservation and investment can also help communities spur a culture of grassroots innovation, dynamic creation of start-ups and a vibrant social innovation sector, which are key to support business dynamism.

Ultimately, inclusive growth is about providing equal opportunity and access to the benefits of growth in order to promote greater peace and equality. The goal is to promote wellbeing and revitalise the aspects of our world that bring people joy. To allow more people to benefit from the freedom of expression that growth provides. Thus culture is not just a lever for inclusive growth. Rather, it is both a tool to achieve inclusive growth and the ultimate end goal.

[1] OECD (2018), The Policy Framework for Action on Inclusive Growth, OECD Publishing, Paris.

[2] OECD (2017), Bridging the Gap: Inclusive Growth 2017 Update Report, OECD Publishing, Paris.

[3] OECD (2017), Bridging the Gap: Inclusive Growth 2017 Update Report, OECD Publishing, Paris and Edelmann trust Barometer 2018 (reporting on survey results from between October and November 2017).

[4] Hart and Risley (1995) cited in Educational Opportunities for All, OECD 2017

[5] Impact of Culture on Individual Well-being, PierLuigi Sacco – Professor of Cultural Economics, IULM University (Milan); Enzo Grossi – Advisor Padiglione Italia EXPO 2015



[8] UNESCO, Culture for Sustainable Urban Development


Keynote Address at the Transnationalization of Anti-Corruption Law at Sciences Po

Remarks delivered at the Sciences Po Transnationalization of Anti-Corruption Law.

Distinguished guests, colleagues, it is a pleasure to be here. Let me first thank the Anti-Corruption Law Interest Group of the American Society of International Law, Sciences Po Law School and The Zicklin Center for Business Ethics Research of the Wharton School for their warm welcome and for giving me the opportunity to be part of this important event.

Global context of inequalities

We are all here because we agree that corruption continues to have a destructive effect on societies and economies around the world. But I am sure you will agree that it is a complex problem to fix, for two key reasons.

First, corruption is endemic: a recent study shows that 38% of senior decision makers in some of the world’s largest companies knew that bribery or corruption happened widely in business in their country. This number jumps to 52% – over half – in emerging countries!

OECD analysis also shows that corruption is a global problem, busting the myth that this is confined to developing countries.

Alarmingly, officials were bribed from 15 out of the 19 G20 member countries.[1]

And as we have seen, corruption can reach the highest levels of government, OECD data shows that 11% of the total amount in bribes went to Ministers and Heads of State.

Second, crimes have become increasingly complex, sophisticated and – as this conference attests – transnational.

They are complex to track and find the root of; in 75% of cases, intermediaries were involved, such as local sales and marketing agents, distributors and brokers.

Over a third of intermediaries were corporate vehicles, such as subsidiary companies, local consulting firms, companies located in offshore financial centres or tax havens, or companies established under the beneficial ownership of public officials receiving the bribes.

We know that corruption is more prevalent in some sectors than others, for example, the extractive sector (19% of cases); construction (15%); transportation and storage (15%); and information and communication sectors (10%).

Public procurement can also a hotbed for corruption; in over half of the cases looked at by the OECD, bribes were paid to obtain public procurement contracts. Indeed, scandals like Odebrecht have rocked the world and continues to make headlines.

I don’t have to tell you that corruption fuels poverty and inequality. But I wanted to emphasise the effect on governance.

Being wealthy can often buy you access to political influence and decision-making. Inequalities of income and wealth can translate into political inequalities.

This concentration of wealth, power and influence at the top can breed corrupt practices and self-interest.

All this has a devastating effect on public trust in governments and business.

On average, only 42% of citizens in OECD countries trust their governments. In some countries, trust has collapsed by more than 20 percentage points.

In Latin America, only 25% of citizens trust their government. And can you blame them?

Corruption is being reported as the number one concern by citizens. In 2017, only 15% of people felt the system was working for them, with 69% of those surveyed expressing concerns about ‘corruption’.[2]

This low trust environment feeds populism, nationalism, and protectionism. We are seeing these reactionary movements play out daily in election outcomes, decreased civic engagement, and social unrest.

It is clear that establishing a global level playing field is urgent.

Policy action

So how do we do that? The good news is that hard work does make a difference. The OECD has been a champion and world leader on this issue for decades; as a global integrity standards-setter, we have seen progress, growing awareness and interest in addressing the issue.

However, there is still work to do in key areas. Let me run through three of them:

Firstly, we need stronger and more widespread implementation of global anti-corruption standards. When it comes to foreign bribery, progress has been largely due to the OECD’s Anti-Bribery Convention, which has been in force for over 20 years. Foreign bribery is now illegal in 44 economies – including in non-OECD members such as Argentina, Brazil, and Colombia; bribes are no longer tax deductible; and all countries have either strengthened or created corporate liability laws from scratch.

However, there is a clear enforcement gap as only half of the 44 Parties to the Convention have ever imposed a sanction for foreign bribery.

This therefore means we need stronger, clearer, and more insistent commitments by global leaders to combat corruption. Since 2010, G20 countries have committed to lead by example in the fight against corruption. However, not all G20 countries are living up to this commitment, including by failing to join the OECD Anti-Bribery Convention.

We also need strong standards on public procurement. For example, installing electronic procurement systems, to avoid face-to-face meetings between procurement officials and government suppliers, or ensuring the non-disclosure of bidders’ identities and the terms of their bids to avoid collusion and illegal bid rigging.

Secondly, to fight transnational corruption and complex financial crimes, we need comprehensive international cooperation and strong international instruments.

The Anti-Bribery Convention facilitates this cooperation. For example when Brazil, Switzerland and the United States worked together to sanction Odebrecht in 2016, being members of the Convention enabled the conduct of coordinated parallel investigations, the necessary exchange of valuable information, and brought a swift and comprehensive resolution in the case.

Indeed, the OECD Convention is unique and effective, because it requires signatories to affirm their commitment to fighting transnational corruption, to pass laws to do so, and it also encourages cooperation and a collaborative approach.

To effectively combat corruption and financial crime, we also need to know where the money is. Addressing tax evasion and avoidance also requires strong international cooperation. The G20/OECD Base Erosion and Profit Shifting work has already had great impact, and has the potential to recover 240 billion dollars in lost revenues every year.

The OECD has also worked to make it harder for people to use trusts, companies and partnerships to hide their wealth by setting a global standard for tax transparency and exchange of information, involving almost 150 jurisdictions around the world. Our work on Automatic Exchange of Information has already brought in 93 billion euros in additional tax revenues.

However, law enforcement agencies in many countries are struggling to keep pace with the increasing complexity of financial crimes and transnational corruption.

As part of the Oslo Dialogue, the OECD’s Task Force on Tax and Other Financial Crimes highlighted the importance of efficient inter-agency and international cooperation in the investigation and prosecution of financial and economic crimes. For example, implementing joint investigation teams and multi-agency intelligence centres, to enable a whole-of-government approach.

Capacity building programmes are also essential, especially to help developing countries.

The OECD has recently expanded its International Academy for Tax and Financial Crime Investigations, with a new centre in Argentina, following successful centres in Italy and Kenya. We have also expanded the OECD/UNDP Tax Inspectors Without Borders initiative to include criminal investigations.

Our hard work is paying off:

OECD data published last year shows that countries appear to be cooperating more on foreign bribery cases. More than 40% of the resolutions in US foreign bribery cases involved co-operation with foreign law enforcement agencies, well up from 10 years ago.

Part of this is also about having the right information. A major problem with documenting corruption is that it relies a lot on self-reporting. We need more and better data on corruption and anti-corruption efforts. Numbers speak. The OECD will continue to work with  Transparency International and others to build the evidence-base for policies to promote good governance and combating corruption.

Third, we need to ensure that the multilateral system adapts to a rapidly changing global context.

As our global economy becomes increasingly complex, interconnected, and digitalized, we need to ensure our international standards are modern and relevant.

At the OECD, we have both the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises and the G20/OECD Principles of Corporate Governance, which provide global benchmarks on transparency, accountability and business integrity.

As these OECD Guidelines are over 40 years old, we regularly update them to ensure they remain the leading international instrument for the promotion of responsible business conduct.

Not only must these be relevant, but they must be well implemented and accessible to everyone: since the year 2000, 82% of the cases of alleged non-observance of the Guidelines have been brought by trade unions and NGOs. 56% of the cases since 2011 were human rights cases.

We also need to provide clear channels for blowing the whistle and effective protections for both public and private sector whistleblowers. The whistleblowing landscape remains patchwork.

Not all OECD and G20 countries have legislated for these protections, indeed, 46% of countries do not have comprehensive protection, and there are significant discrepancies in standards and coverage of these laws, and practical uptake has been slow.

Vulnerable groups require special attention and protection, including women. Corruption systematically hampers women’s ability to improve their economic situation, to stand up to corruption, and to protect themselves from corruption-related abuse.

We are also about to undergo an important exercise to strengthen the Anti-Bribery Convention with a review of the 2009 OECD Anti-Bribery Recommendation. Engaging with all relevant stakeholders during this exercise – including all of you here today – will be essential to ensuring this standard continues to respond to the challenges of fighting modern transnational corruption.

Next steps

While the OECD is a front-runner in this field, we are not resting on our laurels.

We continue to work with our members, non-OECD countries – particularly Brazil, China, South Africa – organisations like the IMF, UN and the World Bank, and business and civil society, to make progress.

We also continue supporting the G20; I was at the summit last week and clearly there are differences between countries, but it is important to maintain dialogue and focus on collective action and interests.

The OECD’s work on corruption is one of these areas, and leaders committed to advance the Anti-Bribery Convention, and we are also going to work with India to look at illicit financial flows, and the repatriation of the assets.

Our annual OECD Global Forum on Anti-Corruption and Integrity in March will help us to strengthen multilateral cooperation, create new partnerships and expand our stakeholder engagement. I hope to see you many of you there.

We are also developing an Anti-Corruption and Integrity Hub to facilitate engagement with the global anti-corruption and integrity community.

The Hub, once launched, will serve as a reference and virtual platform for the global anti-corruption and integrity community.

As you can see, the OECD remains 100% committed to tackling corruption.

Please count on us to keep providing the evidence, data, analysis, experience, and expertise in efforts to fight corruption and promote integrity.

I wish you a rich and fruitful final day of discussions tomorrow.

Thank you

[1] OECD Foreign Bribery Report, 2014

[2]  Source: 2017 Edelman Trust Barometer,  cited in2017  OECD Recommendation on Public Integrity