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The OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development)

For more information see the English section of the OECD website

The Organisation

The Convention establishing the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) was signed in Paris on December 14, 1960 and came into force on September 30, 1961. The OECD replaced the Organization for European Economic Co-operation (OEEC), founded in 1948 to administer the “Marshall Plan” to rebuild the European economy after the Second World War.

From its initial 20 founding countries, which included Italy, the OECD now has 38 Member States. They are the following: Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Korea, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Mexico, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovak Republic, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, the United Kingdom and the United States of America.

At the OECD Ministerial Council Meeting held on June 9-10 June, 2022 – chaired by Italy – the accession process was launched for five new countries that have subscribed to the Organization’s values and objectives (Brazil, Bulgaria, Croatia, Peru, and Romania), while for Argentina, the sixth country to have applied to become an OECD member, contacts continue. In contrast, the accession process for the Russian Federation, which began in 2007 and was suspended in 2014, has been formally closed, following the aggression against Ukraine.

In its outreach activity to foster policy convergence, as well as promote standards and international consensus on best practices, the Paris-based Organization has strengthened its relations with some emerging countries (the so-called “key partners”) such as Brazil (now a candidate for accession), China, India, Indonesia and South Africa. It also maintains close contacts with many non-member countries, developing economies and transition countries (which can participate as observers in the works of the OECD’s Committees or in some of its programmes). It also has close links with other organizations and international fora (G7, G20, APEC – Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation), to which the OECD provides a fundamental contribution in terms of analyses, as was the case during Italy’s G20 Presidency in 2021).

Structure

The OECD, which is based in Paris, has a Secretariat that steers its activity. The Secretariat is made up of Directorates and Divisions, to which about 300 Committees, sub-Committees, working groups and expert groups report and which are attended by delegates from Member States’ administrations and agencies.

The Secretariat is led by the Secretary-General, a position held since June 1, 2021 by the Australian Mathias Cormann, who took over from Angel Gurria, a Mexican who led the organization for 15 years.

The Secretary-General is assisted by Deputy Secretaries-General.

The OECD Council, the organization’s decision-making body, is responsible for its strategic direction. It is composed of the Permanent Representatives of the Member States and the European Commission and is chaired by the Secretary-General. Once a year, the OECD Council meets for the Ministerial Council Meeting and, on that occasion, is chaired by a Member Country. The Council can adopt recommendations or binding decisions and approves the work agenda of the sector-specific Committees. Preparations for the Council’s activities are entrusted to the Executive Committee, the Budget Committee and the External Relations Committee.

Goals

The OECD’s mission is to foster policies to improve citizens’ economic and social wellbeing at global level.

Within the broad range of international organizations, the OECD rightfully plays an important political and scientific role in fostering the highest possible levels of economic growth and sustainable employment, market integration, investment, competitiveness and preservation of financial stability.

The OECD is a distinguished forum for the collection, dissemination and exchange of data and analyses. It is a forum for discussion and harmonization of best public policy practices at national and international levels, providing advisory services to its Member States’ governments on measures to support a resilient, inclusive, green and sustainable growth.

The OECD deals with issues covering numerous sectors, ranging from the economic sector (entrepreneurship and small and medium-sized enterprises, competition, agriculture, services, local development, trade and productivity) to the financial sector (financial markets, insurance, pensions, investment, taxation, fiscal transparency and cooperation, as well as international taxation), the social sector (education, employment, health, migration, policies for young people and gender equality), governance (at central and local levels, corporate and government reforms and fight against corruption), sustainable development (environment, energy, fisheries) and technological cooperation and innovation (digitalization, biotechnology, artificial intelligence, blockchain and sustainable infrastructure).

The OECD recognizes civil society’s contribution to government policy-shaping and decision-making processes. It therefore attaches great importance to consulting and engaging in dialogue with the organizations representing it. The Trade Union Advisory Committee (TUAC) is the OECD’s official interface with union organizations, while BIAC (Business at OECD) represents the business community.

In pursuing its goals, the Organization draws on a wide range of instruments such as: the adoption of common standards and principles, recommendations and agreements; reports and publications such as the Economic Outlook, which contains an up-to-date review of the global macro-economic picture; national and comparative studies; country studies conducted using peer review methods; guidelines and measures to coordinate development cooperation policies through the Development Assistance Committee (DAC).

Training is an important part of the OECD’s initiatives. Italy plays a high-profile role in this sector, acting as a training hub for the Organization through the three centres based in the country.

The Trento Centre for Local Development was the first to be established by the OECD in Italy in 2003, in partnership with the Italian Government and the Autonomous Province of Trento (PAT), on the basis of a five-year Memorandum of Understanding that was last renewed in December 2020. The Centre’s training activities focus on local development and SMEs. It is an integral part of the OECD Centre for Entrepreneurship, SMEs, Regions and Cities, that constitutes a platform for regional, local, urban and rural development, entrepreneurship, SMEs and tourism. The Centre’s activities are funded by a contribution from PAT and the Autonomous Region of Trentino-Alto Adige/South Tyrol.

As part of the OECD’s Middle East and North Africa (MENA) programme, the Centre of Caserta provides training to the Public Administrations in the countries of the MENA region. The Centre was set up in 2012 in the Reggia (Royal Palace) of Caserta, where the Italian National School of Administration (SNA) has its headquarters. Its aim is to promote capacity building initiatives to increase the public sector efficiency and effectiveness in the countries of the MENA region, thus contributing to strengthening stability in the countries on the Southern shore of the Mediterranean.

Lastly, the International Academy for Tax Crime Investigation operates from the Ostia-based Economic and Financial Police School of the Guardia di Finanza (the Inland Revenue Police), which offers specialty courses in combating tax evasion held by the Tax Police for OECD Member States and for several Developing Countries. The Academy’s activities are part of the initiatives promoted by the OECD within the framework of a global approach to tax evasion, money laundering and corruption.

OECD Ministerial Council Meeting

The OECD Ministerial Council Meeting constitutes the most important event of the Organization’s annual activities and is usually attended by the Member States’ Ministers of Economy, Trade and Foreign Affairs with the aim of outlining the priorities on its future agenda. It generally consists of a two-day debate on a leading subject, usually of an economic and social nature, which closes with the consensus-based adoption of a negotiated and concerted Declaration.

Italy chaired the Ministerial Council Meeting of 2022 dedicated to the theme “The future we want: better policies for the next generation and a sustainable transition”, which was held on June 9-10 June.

Italy’s financial participation and presence of Italian officials

The OECD Budget assures the Organization’s functioning and activities and constitutes the basis on which to determine the mandatory contributions that Member States are obliged to pay.

The Organization’s 2022 budget amounts to approximately 360 million euros. Italy is its sixth contributor, after the United States, Japan, Germany, the United Kingdom, and France with a statutory contribution of around 4%.

Another financial entry that has acquired growing importance in the OECD’s budget over the years and to which Italy participates is represented by voluntary contributions, which are allocated by States and Institutions to finance the Organization’s activities deemed to be of their interest.

Italy is also one of the Countries most represented both in the Organization’s staff chart and in the top management of the OECD Secretariat.

More in-depth information on the OECD is available on the website of the Paris-based Italian Permanent Representation to International Organizations (www.italiarapparigi.esteri.it) and on the OECD website (www.oecd.org).

The main section of the OECD website is also available in Italian at the following link: https://www.oecd.org/apropositodi/