MELBOURNE, Thursday 4th March 2021 – Some of the country’s biggest humanitarian and environmental organisations have called on diplomats and leaders around the world to reject Mathias Cormann’s bid for Secretary-General of the OECD in a joint letter released today.The letter, signed by the heads of major Australian and international charities is addressed to the head of the search committee and ambassadors of OECD member countries, urging them to reject Cormann as one of the final two candidates for the top OECD role, citing his personal and political track record of blocking action on climate change. 

“Mathias Cormann has been a leading figure in a government that has repeatedly blocked climate action and promoted the increased use of fossil fuels, the leading driver of climate change,” said David Ritter, CEO of Greenpeace Australia Pacific.

“Like any job applicant, Mr Cormann deserves to be judged on his record. He has proven time and time again that he puts the profits of the coal and gas industry above people and planet, and his recent attempts to airbrush his record clean can’t change the fact that he has been active in blocking climate change action in Australia.”

Oxfam Australia CEO Lyn Morgain said, “Our global community currently faces the twin challenges of recovering from the coronavirus pandemic and tackling accelerating climate change. As communities experience the impacts of climate change, including here in Australia and across the Pacific, there is no time to waste.” 

“The leaders of our international institutions must act in concert with nations to avoid a climate catastrophe that will further entrench poverty and inequality. It is vital the next head of the OECD have a record that demonstrates a real commitment to taking action on climate change.”

Kelly O’Shanassy, CEO of the Australian Conservation Foundation, said “Climate change is the greatest challenge facing the world’s leaders, particularly those that need to lead the global transformation to zero emissions economies.”

“The next Secretary-General of the OECD will have a significant influence on how the world tackles climate change, so it is imperative that position is held by a person who has a strong track record on climate policy and action and is up to the challenge.”


For more information please contact Greenpeace Australia Pacific Head of Communications Nelli Stevenson on 0481 303 815 or email [email protected]



To access the letter click here.

Signatories of the letter include:

Catherine Abreu, Executive Director, Climate Action Network Canada 

Christoph Bals, Policy Director, Germanwatch e.V.

Matt Brennan, Chief Executive Officer, The Wilderness Society Australia 

Gidon Bromberg, Israeli co-Director, EcoPeace Middle East, Tel Aviv, Israel.

Suzie Brown, National Director, Australian Parents for Climate Action

Sharan Burrow, Secretary General, International Trade Union Confederation

Red Constantino, Executive Director, Institute for Climate and Sustainable Cities

Dave Copeman, Director, Queensland Conservation Council

Tasneem Essop, Executive Director, Climate Action Network International

Chris Gambian, Chief Executive Officer, Nature Conservation Council

Michelle Higelin, Executive Director, ActionAid Australia 

Dr Saleemul Huq, Director International Centre for Climate Change and Development Independent University Bangladesh

Rachel Kyte, Dean of The Fletcher School, Tufts University

Jonathan La Nauze, Chief Executive Officer, Environment Victoria

Nick Mabey, Chief Executive Officer, E3G

Bill McKibben, Schumann Distinguished Scholar at Middlebury College, co-founder and Senior Advisor of

Nathan Méténier, Advocacy Manager of Youth and Environment Europe

Shar Molloy, Co-Director, Environmental Centre NT 

Lyn Morgain, Chief Executive, Oxfam Australia

Jennifer Morgan, Executive Director, Greenpeace International

Thea Ormerod, President, Australian Religious Response to Climate Change

Kelly O’Shanassy, Chief Executive Officer, Australian Conservation Foundation

Julie-Anne Richards, Executive Director, Climate Action Network Australia

David Ritter, Chief Executive Officer, Greenpeace Australia Pacific

Manuel Rodríguez Becerra, President National Environmental Forum (Colombia), Emeritus Professor, Universidad de los Andes.

Julia Sanchez, Secretary-General, ActionAid International

Pascal Vollenweider,  Climate Director Avaaz

Craig Wilkins, Chief Executive, Conservation SA

Farhana Yamin, Adviser  & Deputy Chair of the Expert Advisory Group of the Climate Vulnerable Forum