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Nick Bridge

Special Representative for Climate Change

Part of UK in France

17th January 2014

2014 at the OECD

2014 at the OECD

Given the challenges for the global economy and a desperate need to create jobs and shared prosperity, the pressure on the OECD to deliver Better Policies for Better Lives will be as intense as ever in 2014.

A key framework for our efforts this year is the ‘New Approaches to Economic Challenges’ project, about which I’ve blogged before. NAEC is intended to refresh OECD members’ economic approaches, recognising the limitations of existing policies in an increasingly complex, interdependent world economy. NAEC must be ambitious and bold in challenging conventional wisdom and vested interest. At the same time, it chimes with the founding principles of the OECD, whose 1960 Convention called for the pursuit of “economic strength and prosperity…and the increase of general well-being”.

2014 is a critical year for the project – with an interim report to our May Ministerial, showing if we’ve really learned the policy lessons from the crisis, and whether a more humble, coherent and people-centred approach is achievable.

Two central objectives of the work are inclusivity and sustainability.

Inclusivity in the sense that economic policy recommendations in future are job-rich, good for the majority not the minority, and aimed at strengthening our societal ‘glue’.

Sustainability, such that our economic policies produce – not prevent – sustainable environmental outcomes. The only kind of economic activity that can improve well-being and quality of life over time is the kind that maintains our stock of resources and biodiversity for future generations, and avoids ecosystem tipping points – building resilience for the short and longer-term. As part of that effort, the OECD and IEA need to provide powerful joined-up policy advice on climate change this year in order to influence next year’s important 2015 UN negotiation, also in Paris.

These are huge challenges that we have faced for years, and will continue to face well beyond my lifetime. But the global economic crisis has granted us with a singular point of reflection, and an opportunity to do things differently.

We will find out at the  May Ministerial if the Organisation is moving quickly enough in the right direction, making people sit up and listen.

As vice-chair of the Ministerial – alongside the chair Japan, and co-vice-chair Slovenia – the UK feels a particular responsibility to ensure success. Japan has got us off to an excellent start by choosing a Ministerial theme of “resilience”, which is a great way of framing all these ideas.

To close on a personal note, in keeping with the UK’s 2013 G8 Presidency philosophy of “putting our own house in order first“, I decided I couldn’t go on about these challenges at a global level unless I was prepared to make some improvements to my own life. So…

– in 2013, my New Year’s Resolution was to reduce my carbon footprint. I reckon I managed a score draw or maybe even a narrow victory (no flying, sold the car, cut back consumption…but on the other hand was responsible for 100s of new landfill nappies, and continued to live in a big energy-inefficient apartment).

– in 2014, my New Year’s Resolution is to go veggie. A tiny step perhaps, but as I looked into it I was surprised how significant it could be for the environment, for my health and sense of well-being, and of course for animal welfare…and how easy (even in Paris). Farewell, my dear roast dinners, farewell.

About Nick Bridge

The Foreign Secretary appointed Nick Bridge as Special Representative for Climate Change in May 2017. He was previously Permanent Representative of the United Kingdom to the OECD from 2011 to…

The Foreign Secretary appointed Nick Bridge as Special Representative for Climate Change in May 2017.

He was previously Permanent Representative of the United Kingdom to the OECD from 2011 to 2016.

Mr Bridge was previously Chief Economist at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and head of Global Economy Department. He has served for over a decade in diplomatic postings to the China, Japan and the United States.

Mr Bridge previously worked in the Treasury, where he co-led a $4 billion facility to immunise half a billion people in the developing world, and was an economist in the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food.
Born in 1972 in Yorkshire, Mr Bridge graduated in economics from the University of Nottingham.

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