DUBAI - The UAE is a very important economic leader and has performed exceptionally well in driving economy and governance, innovation and as a key strategic hub economy across the broader Middle East, said Mathias Cormann, Secretary-General of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).

In statements to the Emirates News Agency (WAM) on the sidelines of the World Governments Summit (WGS 2024), Cormann stressed the summit's significance in fostering innovative and creative thinking. "So we've worked closely with the World Governments Summit for more than a decade. And it's a very important opportunity to look forward to drive innovative thinking and focus on best practices. And indeed, every year this is a way to really focus on the challenges and opportunities of our time," he said.

Cormann expressed the OECD's aspiration to strengthen its partnership with the UAE across various domains, stating, "We are very pleased to be working with the UAE across a whole range of economic policy areas, including competition policy, small and medium-sized business governance, taxes, and increasingly also about social policy areas like education, skills development and so on."

Acknowledging the WGS's pioneering role in finding solutions to propel economic development, Cormann stressed the necessity of exceptional economic and social policies to support global growth. He underscored the importance of international gatherings like the World Governments Summit in anticipating future challenges across diverse fields.

In this context, the OECD Secretary-General pointed out the continued growth of the global economy despite the challenges it has faced over the past years, including the COVID-19 pandemic, as the global economy has proven its remarkable flexibility in facing various challenges.

Reflecting on the global economy's resilience amidst challenges such as the COVID-19 pandemic, Cormann projected the global economy to grow at 2.9% this year and 3% next year.

He reiterated the importance of addressing structural challenges, such as climate change and digital transformation, alongside the imperative to enhance global cooperation.

Cormann highlighted the achievements of the 28th Conference of the Parties (COP28), which took place at Expo City Dubai, particularly in advancing climate financing. He noted progress in activating the Loss and Damage Fund with $700 million and surpassing commitments to climate financing, signalling positive strides in the global fight against climate change.

Ensuring the focus on immediate challenges and long-term structural issues, he explained, "But, we've got to make sure that we continue to tackle both the short-term pressures and the longer-term structural challenges in front of us, which some very significant new milestones were reached at COP28. In particular, when it comes to climate finance, being able to operationalise the Loss and Damage Fund provided by developed countries around the world, significant progress on the $100 billion climate finance commitment."

"So it's accelerating growth and we believe based on the preliminary data that we've seen, that in 2022, the $100 billion target was actually met and exceeded," he stated.

Cormann reiterated the importance of leveraging climate finance to support emission reduction efforts worldwide, underscoring the significance of ongoing collaboration and innovation in addressing global challenges.

"One of the key challenges is to ensure that there are enough projects around the world to be able to utilise that climate finance so that we can optimise the emissions reduction impacts," he concluded.