What is OECD?
The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) is an inter-governmental organization that gathers 34 countries that are committed to the market economies and the democratic politic systems that, together, represent 80% of the world’s GDP.
The OECD is an organization where countries compare, interchange experiences of public policies, identify better practices, promote decisions and recommendations, and, through those and other legal instruments, come to an agreement and commit to reach standards of high technical level and advanced political will. To do so, the dialogue, consensus, evaluations and reviews among the countries shape the core of the OECD work, which constitutes one of the largest and most trustworthy sources globally in the area of social and economic information and statistics.
The OECD’s mission is to support the economic growth, increase employment, improve the quality of life, maintain the financial stability, help other countries in their economic development, and contribute to the world’s economic trade. However, not only the member countries participate in the Organization. Business associations advise OECD through the Business and Industry Advisory Committee (BIAC) and the Trade Union Advisory Council (TUAC).
The work of the OECD extends beyond its members through the Center for Cooperation with Non-Members (CCNM), the Development Center and a series of regional initiatives present in East Europe, the Caucasus and Central Asia, Asia, Latin America and the Middle East.
For a long time, this organization was formed by only first world countries and so called the “Rich Club”. However, it has reached a regional balance by inviting other countries of lower income to be member and/or participate in its activities. Among these countries we find BRICS countries, Argentina and others.
Goals and Functions:
- To support sustainable economic growth
- To promote employment
- To improve life standards
- To maintain financial stability
- To collaborate with economic growth of other countries
- To contribute world’s commercial growth
For more information visit OECD website: www.oecd.org and OECD Center for Latin America
As the following chart shows, the scope of topics the Organization covers is incredibly wide. In reality, the only important political areas not covered constantly by OECD are: defense politics, sports and culture.
During its five decades of existence, the organizations’ accomplishments have been especially relevant due to its presence in different areas; the following are just a few:
Since the mid 90’s, the work in the OECD, and especially in the strategic report “Shaping the 21st Century”, has been pioneer in the design of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). The OECD actively participates in the measurement of the progress accomplished in each one of the eight goals and it was one of the agents that developed the indicator that measures them.
The Program for International Student Assessment (PISA) constitutes the main world reference to evaluate knowledge and skills of high school students. There are also other initiatives that include other segments of the population (not only students).
The OECD has been one of the first organizations to study the economic implications in the actions to revert the emissions of greenhouse gasses, providing pioneering and feasible formulas to take effective decisions and build a post-Kioto scene. The organization has been a fundamental agent in the negotiations rounds of climate change.
The OECD has over 75 legal instruments to fight against corruption, and the transparent and good governance promotion. OECD has had a fundamental role against tax evasion. Instruments such as the Convention on Combating Bribery of Foreign Public Officials in International Business Transactions and the OECD’s Principles for the Integrity in Public Acquisitions are contributing to generate a cleaner and more transparent global economy.Go up
OECD Member Countries
The 34 countries member of OECD are: Germany, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Czech Republic, Chile, Korea, Denmark, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, United States, Finland, France, Greece, The Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, United Kingdom, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, Estonia and Israel. Russia in the process of becoming a member, and Colombia and Latvia are invited to start the process and have to send the first memos. In 2015, Costa Rica and Lithuania will assess the possibility of joining the organization and the start the respective process.
Besides, the OECD collaborates with key countries like Brazil, China, India, Indonesia, South Africa and other 60 nations.
The institutional structure of the OECD is the following:
Council (formed by an Ambassador of each country):
The Council – permanent representatives of each member country – attends regular meetings and the decisions are reached by consensus. These meetings are presided over by the General OECD Secretariat. The Ministerial Council meets once a year to discuss key topics and establish priorities for the institutions work. The work entrusted by the Council is performed by the OECD Secretariat.
Directives, Committees and Work Groups
Representatives of all 34 member countries and observer countries gather in specialized commissions to review, discuss, propose and agree on ways to move forward in specific areas such as economy, commerce, science, employment, education, or financial markets. The OECD has over 250 committees, work groups, expert groups.
Ángel Gurría leads the General Secretary of the OECD. There are three or four Adjunct General Secretaries that assist him, and he was re-elected as GS in 2011 for a second five-year period.
The Secretariat is located in Paris and is formed by 2000 people the support the committees activities, and collaborate with around 700 economists, lawyers, scientists, and other professionals, assisting member countries in achieving the priorities set in the OECD Council.
Chile and the OECD
In May 2007, and after over a decade of observer-status participation in Committees and Work Groups of the OECD, the Ministry Council of the OECD invited Chile to start the process of integration together with 4 other countries.
The expansion of OECD reflects the challenges the globalization presents and, specifically, strives to achieve the goal the Organization established in Article 1 of the Convention: global coverage. Such article points out that the OECD must contribute to an effective economic expansion both in member countries as well as in non-members in the economic development. And, while the OECD countries represent an important part of the world production and commerce, as new countries incorporate in the globalized economy the participation of OECD countries has decreased.
The OECD integration was a gradual process that required a convergence evaluation of Chilean laws and practices with the OECD standards in a wide range of political areas, where almost all the Ministries, Superintendencies and autonomous institutions were involved. The process was carried out with an initial posture, visits to Chile, questionnaires, and tests in front of OECD committees.
The process proved to be a encouraging tool to promote the improvement of public politics of a developing country like Chile, towards the parameters of developed countries such as the ones part of the OECD.
Meeting the specific parameters of all the countries invited in May 2007 (Chile, Israel, Russia, Slovenia and Estonia), the OECD designed the so called “Roadmap” for the integration process of each country. These described the membership stages, including a list of the areas to be evaluated according to a set of OECD instruments, OECD Acquis, comprised of binding legal instruments (decisions) and non-binding (recommendations, statements, etc).
The Chilean OECD test was performed through 24 committees and subgroups, and ended successfully on November 2009 with the “Final Declaration”, pointing out the legislative effort to pass in the congress 4 key projects: corporate governance of private companies, corporate governance of public companies, criminal liability of legal bodies in cases of bribery of civil servants (together with money-laundering and financing of terrorism), and bank information exchange between authorities for tax purposes.
On Tuesday, January 11th 2010, the “Agreement on the Terms of Accession of the Republic of Chile to the Convention on the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development” was signed. This Agreement gathers the Final Declaration (statement that mentions the terms and condition Chile adhered to in the OCD), Annexes, and the OECD Council Decision to invite Chile to the OECD Convention (December 15th, 2009).
Finally, on May 7th, 2010, the Undersecretary of Foreign Affairs and Treasury deposited the instrument of accession with the Government of France (deposited the OECD Convention), so finalizing the formal accession process.
The main important facts during 2010-2013 are:
-Creation of the Chile Mission before OECD in 2011. Its main goals are to:
- Consolidate the relation between Chile and the Organization.
- Work in the continuity of the Chilean presence in the Committees and Work Groups identified as priority.
- Present the vision and priorities of Chile before the Governance Bodies of the OECD (Council, Executive, Budget and Foreign Relations Committees).
- Timely communicate about meetings where the presence of Government experts is needed.
- Represent Government experts when they can travel to OECD.
- Periodically inform to DIRECON about publications, questionnaires, visits, or relevant events of the OECD that could have impact nationally.
-Two presidential visits to the OECD. The first was a Council special session in 2010, and the second was the Global Forum prior to the Ministerial Council Meeting in 2011.
-Two official visits of the OECD General Secretary, Angel Gurría, to Chile. The first visit took place under the Organization’s 50 year Anniversary event in 2011, and the second in the meeting of Government Centers and the Economic Survey launch in Chile in 2013.
-Chile served as vice-chair in the most important OECD meeting: the Ministerial Council Meeting in 2012 held by the Treasury Minister.
-Chile was the host of OECD’s High-Level Meeting for Parliamentarians in 2012. This activity was also an important event for the OECD because it was the first time the meeting was held outside Paris.
-Arrange the 32nd Network of Senior Officials from Centers of Government in OECD meeting in October 2013. High Rank officers form OECD and non OECD countries attended the meeting, and it was presided over by the General Secretariat Ministry of Chile.
DIRECON and the OECD
In order to boost Chile’s participation and to use our membership in OECD to the fullest, the DIRECON’s OECD Department is the one in charge of coordinating the ministries’ work and Chile’s government agencies with the Chile Mission before the OECD and/or directly with the Organization, of encouraging the professional cooperation on those projects involving more than one public service and support Chile in some areas of the Organization. Within this context 4 main areas of work can be identified:
The first working area is to coordinate the work of different Chilean agencies, and set the general policy guidelines that Chile must follow in this Organization. This coordination has been carried out through an OECD Network that meets periodically, and through an Informal Committee. It is worth mentioning that Chile, through 35 governmental ministries/agencies (Health, Education, FNE, Environment, among others), covers an important number of Committees and Work Teams.
The second working area is the coordination with the Chilean Mission in OECD in Paris to ensure that the Chilean participation in the organization be coherent and consistent.
The third responsibility is to set/implement policies in Committees/Work Groups that covered directly by the OECD Department, and that are related to the topics connected to DIRECON. These are: Commerce Committee, Trade Working Group, Investment Committee, Work Group on Responsible Business Practice, and National Contact Point (NCP) for the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises.
The forth working area covered in the OECD Department is its responsibility as National Contact Point (NCP) for the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises.
- Bilateral Relations
- Forums and Multilateral Organizations
- Information Center