- The Organisation
- The Structure
- The objectives
- Ministerial Counicil Meeting
- Italy’s financial participation and presence of Italian representatives
The OECD was established pursuant to the Convention on the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, signed on 14 December 1960 and put into force on 30 September 1961, to replace the Organisation for European Economic Co-operation (OEEC), or the so-called "Marshall Plan", which was created in 1948 for the post-war reconstruction of the European economy.
From the 20 initial member States, which included Italy as a founding State, the OECD now has 36 member States (Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Chile, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Japan, Great Britain, Greece, Ireland, Iceland, Israel, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Mexico, Norway, New Zealand, The Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Czech Republic, Republic of Korea, Slovak Republic, Slovenia, Spain, United States, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, Hungary). Lithuania became the 36th member of the Organisation on 5 July 2018, after ratifying the membership agreement at the OECD Ministerial Meeting of 30 and 31 May 2018. Colombia too signed its membership agreement on the same occasion even if, in order to become a full member of the OECD, it must still finalise the required ratification process at domestic level. Costa Rica instead has still not finalised its membership talks with the Organization.
The possible start of membership talks with 6 more candidate Countries (Argentina, Brazil, Bulgaria, Croatia, Peru and Romania) is currently being discussed. The membership talks with the Russian Federation started in 2007 but were suspended in 2014 following the Ukraine crisis.
In its outreach activities aimed at facilitating policy convergence and reaching international consensus over best practices, the Paris-based Organisation also strengthens relations with several emerging Countries such as India, China, South Africa and Indonesia. The OECD also maintains close contacts with 70 more non-member Countries – developing counties and economies in transition (which can participate in the Organisation’s Committee meetings or specific programmes) – as well as with other International Organisations.
The Paris-based OECD is endowed with a Secretariat, which is in turn structured into Directorates General, that have under their control more than 200 Committees, Sub-Committees, Working Groups and Expert Groups which include delegates of the administrations and agencies of the member States.
As of 1 June 2006, the Secretary General is Mexico’s Angel Gurria, who was confirmed into his third five-year term (2016-2021). Secretary General Gurria is assisted by four Deputy Secretaries General and by a Chief of Staff and Sherpa to the G20.
The OECD Council is the political decision-making body tasked with setting the Organisation’s strategic orientation and, in the performance of its mandate, is assisted by the Executive and Budget Committees. The Council is vested with the power to adopt binding decisions or recommendations and to approve the agenda of sector-specific Committees. On the Council sit the Permanent Representatives of Member States. The Council’s activities are prepared by the Executive Committee, the Budget Committee and the External Relations Committee.
The mission of the OECD is to promote policies to improve the economic and social wellbeing of citizens worldwide.
Within a vast realm of international organisations and faced with the urgency to outline a sustainable economic scenario, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development continues to rightfully play an eminent political and scientific role in fostering market integration and the achievement of the highest possible levels of sustainable economic and employment growth, by favouring investments and competitiveness while, at the same time, maintaining financial stability.
The Paris-based Organisation engages the different Government Administrations of member States and their research centres and public policy makers and shapers, thus constituting a prestigious forum for the debate, exchange and harmonisation of the best available experiences and of national and international policies.
The issues addressed by the Organisation refer to numerous sectors, ranging from the economic (competition, agriculture, business, services, local development and trade) to the financial (financial markets, insurance, pensions, investments, taxes, as well as tax transparency and cooperation), to the social sector (education, jobs, health and migration), governance (corporate and public sector reforms and combating corruption), and from sustainable development (the environment, energy, fishing and sustainable development) to technological cooperation and innovation (digital, biotechnologies, ICTs).
The OECD acknowledges the contribution made by civil society to government decision and policy-making processes and also attributes great importance to the advisory role and the dialogue activities with civil society organisations.
In pursuing the Organisation’s objectives, it makes use of a broad set of tools, such as: adopting common principles, drafting and adopting binding agreements and Conventions; publishing the biannual Economic Outlook, containing an update on the global macroeconomic scenario; performing national and comparative studies; carrying out Country surveys conducted with a "peer review" method; outlining coordination guidelines for development cooperation policies through the Development Aid Committee (DAC).
Among the OECD’s initiatives, special mention should be made of its training and Capacity Building activities. With reference to this realm of activities, Italy has cut itself a particularly high-profile role as the OECD’s training hub thanks to the three training centres that are located in our Country.
Among these, the “oldest” is the Trento Centre for Local Development, which was established in 2003 by the OECD in partnership with the Italian Government and the Autonomous Region of Trento (PAT) through a five-year MoU – subsequently renewed, the last time in December 2015 – to provide training on the subject of Small and Medium-sized Enterprises and local development. The MoU’s latest renewal introduced several important innovations, including opening an Office in Venice and expanding the constituency to other public Agencies and Stakeholders. The OECD Trento Centre for Local Development forms integral part of the OECD Centre for Entrepreneurship, SMEs, Regions and Cities (CFE), which was recently reorganised and expanded in order to constitute the Organisation’s platform for regional, local, urban and rural development, entrepreneurship, SMEs and tourism.
Moreover, the MENA-OECD Governance Programme Centre of Caserta offers training to the Public Administrations of the Countries in the MENA area (Middle East and North Africa). Operating since 2012 at the Reggia di Caserta, in the official premises of the Scuola Nazionale dell’Amministrazione (SNA), it aims to promote capacity building initiatives to enhance the efficiency and effectiveness of the public sector of Arab Countries in transition, thus contributing to consolidate stability in the Countries on the southern shore of the Mediterranean.
Lastly, the Ostia-based School of the Guardia di Finanza hosts the International Academy for Tax Crime Investigation, which investigates tax crimes and holds intensive training courses by the Tax Police on combating tax evasion for OECD member States and a number of developing countries. The Centre’s activities are part of the OECD-promoted activities in favour of a global approach to tax evasion, money laundering and corruption, as agreed by the participants in the first Forum on Tax and Crime, held in Oslo in 2011.
The OECD Ministerial Council Meeting (the OECD Council Meeting at Ministerial level) constitutes the high point in the Organisation’s annual activities. It consists of a two-day session on a main theme, traditionally of an economic and social nature, and closes with the adoption by consensus of a negotiated Declaration. The Meeting is customarily preceded by a Forum open to the public, in which the same issues are debated among representatives of the political and institutional world and civil society organisations (universities, media, enterprises and NGOs) at non inter-governmental level.
The OECD Ministerial Council Meeting 2019 – chaired by the Slovak Republic – was held in Paris on 22 and 23 May and was dedicated to addressing the structural changes caused by digitalisation in a large number of economic and social sectors and to analysing the ensuing opportunities and challenges. The debate focused on singling out shared solutions to best harness the potential of digitalisation with a view to achieving sustainable economic development, assuring the highest possible levels of wellbeing to citizens and avoiding the possible risks deriving from a non-homogeneous distribution of the benefits of digitalisation.
The OECD Budget assures the Organisation’s functioning and activities and constitutes the basis on which to determine the assessed contributions that member States are obliged to provide.
In 2018, the Organisation’s overall budget amounted to approximately 370 million euros. Italy is the sixth-largest contributor, following the U.S., Japan, Germany, United Kingdom and France, with a statutory share of 4.1%.
Another financial provision that has been assuming an increasingly important role over the years is represented by the “voluntary contributions” that are offered by States and Institutions to finance the Organisation’s activities deemed to be of particular interest.
The percentage of Italian representatives to the OECD Secretariat has constantly grown over the last few years and Italy leads the OECD top executive list. According to the Organisation’s statistics at 31/12/2018, the Italian representatives were 168, accounting for 9% of its organisational chart.
Further information on the OECD is available on the Website of the Permanent Delegation of Italy to the International Organisations in Paris (www.italiarapparigi.esteri.it) and on the OECD website (www.oecd.org).