World needs to work together as G-20 deadline for economic growth goal looms, says Angel Gurria

  • OECD Secretary General Angel Gurria says that the world economy is doing better, but more needs to be done to encourage global growth
  • Gurria argues that international collaboration is the key to success in achieving economic growth, tackling trade protectionism and fighting climate change

The world needs to do better at stimulating economic growth, Angel Gurria, secretary general of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), told CNBC's Street Signs Thursday.

"Our diagnosis about the world economy is that it's better but not good enough," Gurria said, speaking in Hamburg, Germany, ahead of a G-20 world leaders' summit.

He emphasized the urgency needed to achieve the G-20's economic growth target of an additional two percent globally between 2014-18, saying that progress was "lagging behind." "We only have one more year to get there," he warned.

Despite a "thousand different policy commitments that were made by the governments," Gurria argued that "going collective … is the only way."

Gurria also struck an exasperated tone over protectionist trade policies being implemented across the globe, saying that he had repeated his message "again and again and again."

"Since 2008, there have been about 1,400 different acts that can be interpreted as protectionist on trade," he said.

While U.S. President Donald Trump said in a speech in Warsaw, Poland, Thursday that his country was focused on reciprocal trade deals, Gurria argued that the Trump's approach was not unique, but instead symptomatic of a wider trend.

When questioned on a potential elephant in the room at the G-20, Trump's decision to withdraw his country – the world's second biggest polluter – from the Paris climate accord, Gurria said that "question is not what a particular country is doing but what is happening in the world about this issue."

He called for a united front in tackling climate change, saying that the "even with all the commitments by every single country in the Paris agreement we were still not at 2 degrees warming, we are above."

Gurria said that the OECD had recently delivered a report to German Chancellor Angela Merkel stressing that tackling climate change was "good for business, for jobs, for growth – if you do it right."

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Watch: Five things to look for at the G-20