Australia’s role as America’s pawn has been highlighted in a recent blow to the effectiveness of Australian aid with the appointment of Mathias Cormann as the Secretary General of the OECD.

Mr Cormann’s well documented track record on climate change is in stark contrast to what the OECD says it is all about

“The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) is an international organisation that works to build better policies for better lives. Our goal is to shape policies that foster prosperity, equality, opportunity and well-being for all.” 

A possibly more apt description in a recent article called the OECD “an international institution that advises rich countries on policy and poor countries on how to become wealthier.” Never mind human or environmental health, let alone mitigation of climate change.

The OECD oversees the aid policies of rich countries, through the Development Assistance Committee (DAC).

Aid/Watch Research Coordinator Mara Bonacci said “The appointment of Mr Cormann as OECD chief is clearly a geo-political appointment aimed to further the interests of the US/Australia alliance, as does Australia’s aid agenda, which in recent years has often manifested as development aggression.

“Since the merger of the former Australian Agency for International Development (AusAID) with DFAT, Australian aid has been increasingly directed towards national interests and private finance over developing countries’ humanitarian and development needs. It is now closely integrated with Australian diplomatic, strategic and security priorities.

“Putting Mathias Cormann, who has a track record of being a climate change denier, at the helm of the OECD is akin to putting the fox in charge of the henhouse. It will not further the OECD’s purported aims. Developments that Cormann is likely to support have a significant risk of exacerbating the impacts of climate change, causing damage to environmental and human health and increasing the need for aid in the global south” Ms Bonacci concluded.

Aid/Watch is deeply concerned by the destructive track record of Australian companies operating overseas with little to no regulatory oversight of their operations. The OECD guidelines and the national contact points are one of the few avenues affected communities have to voice their concerns about development aggression. The OECD must ensure that its appointment of Mathias Cormann does not silence these voices.


Mara Bonacci, Research Coordinator

ph: 0422 229 970


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