- The Organisation
- The Structure
- The objectives
- OECD Ministerial Counicil Meeting
- Italy’s financial participation and presence of Italian officials
The Convention establishing the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) was signed in Paris on December 14, 1960 and entered into force on September 30, 1961. It replaced the Organisation for European Economic Co-operation (OEEC) created in 1948 with a view to running the so-called "Marshall Plan" for the post-war reconstruction of the European economy.
The 60th anniversary of the Organisation was celebrated on December 14, 2020.
From the 20 initial founding States, which included Italy, the OECD now has 38 Member States (Austria, Australia, Belgium, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Korea, Costa Rica, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Japan, Greece, Ireland, Iceland, Israel, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Mexico, Norway, New Zealand, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, United Kingdom, Czech Republic, Slovak Republic, Slovenia, Spain, United States, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, Hungary). The latest country to join has been Costa Rica, which became the 38th member on May 25, 2021, after depositing its instrument of accession to the OECD founding Convention.
The possible start of membership talks with 6 other 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 fostering policy convergence and international consensus on best practices, the Paris-based Organisation has also strengthened relations with several emerging Countries (the so-called key partners) such as Brazil, China, India, Indonesia and South Africa. The OECD also maintains close contacts with over 70 non-member Countries – developing countries and economies in transition (which can participate in the Organisation’s Committee meetings or specific programmes as observers) – as well as with other International Organisations and Forums (G7, G20, APEC).
The Paris-based OECD is endowed with a Secretariat, which carries out its activity and is made up of Directorates and Divisions that have under their control over 300 Committees, Sub-Committees, Working Groups and Expert Groups in which delegates from the Member States’ administrations and agencies participate.
The Secretariat is led by the Secretary General who, as of June 1, 2021, is Mathias Cormann from Australia, who took over from Mexican Angel Gurria, who led the Organization for fifteen years
The Secretary General is assisted by the Deputy Secretaries General.
The OECD Council is the political decision-making body, tasked with setting the Organisation strategic orientation, on which the Permanent Representatives of the Member States and of the European Commission sit. It meets once a year at Ministerial level and. and, on that occasion, it is chaired by a Member State. The Council is vested with the power to adopt binding decisions or recommendations and to approve the agenda of sector-specific Committees. 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, the Paris-based Organisation rightfully plays a relevant political and scientific role in achieving the highest possible levels of sustainable economic and employment growth, market integration, investment and competitiveness while maintaining financial stability.
The OECD is a prestigious forum for collecting, disseminating and exchanging data and analyses, as well as for comparing and harmonizing best practices on public policies at national and international levels, and advising Member States’ governments on measures to support resilient, inclusive, green and sustainable growth.
The issues addressed by the Organisation refer to numerous sectors, ranging from the economic (entrepreneurship and SMEs, competition, agriculture, services, local development, trade and productivity) to the financial (financial markets, insurance, pensions, investment, taxes, as well as tax transparency and cooperation and international taxation), to the social sector (education, employment, health, migration and gender equality), governance (corporate and public sector reforms and fight against corruption), and from sustainable development (the environment, energy, fishing) to technological cooperation and innovation (digitalisation, biotechnologies, artificial intelligence, blockchain, sustainable infrastructure).
The OECD acknowledges the contribution provided by civil society to government decision and policy-making processes and therefore attaches great importance to the advisory role and the dialogue activities with civil society organisations.
In pursuing its objectives, the Organisation makes use of a broad set of instruments, such as: adopting common standards and principles, as well as recommendations and Conventions; publishing the biannual Economic Outlook, containing an update on the global macroeconomic scenario; drafting national and comparative studies; carrying out Country surveys conducted with a "peer review" method; defining guidelines and coordinating development cooperation policies through the Development Aid Committee (DAC).
Among the OECD’s initiatives, special mention should be made of its training activities. With reference to this realm of activities, Italy has cut itself a particularly high-profile role as the OECD’s relevant training hub thanks to the three 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 Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) – subsequently renewed, the last time in December 2020. It provides training on the subject of Small and Medium-sized Enterprises and local development. The OECD Trento Centre for Local Development is an integral part of the OECD Centre for Entrepreneurship, SMEs, Regions and Cities, which constitutes the Organisation’s platform for regional, local, urban and rural development, entrepreneurship, SMEs and tourism. The activities of the Centre are financed with the contribution of PAT and the Autonomous Region Trentino-Alto Adige/South Tyrol.
Moreover, in the framework of the OECD MENA Programme (Middle East and North Africa), the Centre of Caserta provides training to the Public Administrations of the Countries in the Middle East and North Africa. Operating since 2012 at the Reggia di Caserta, in the official premises of the Scuola Nazionale dell’Amministrazione (SNA), the Centre aims at promoting capacity building initiatives to enhance the efficiency and effectiveness of the public sector in the MENA region countries, thus contributing to strengthen 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 holds training and specialization 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 and comprehensive 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 constitutes the most important event in the Organisation’s annual activities, which usually brings together the Member States’ Economy, Trade and Foreign Affairs Ministers, in view of defining the future focus of its activity. It generally 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 by representatives of the political and institutional world and civil society at non inter-governmental level.
The 2021 OECD Ministerial Council Meeting – under the Presidency of the United States and the Vice-Presidency of Luxembourg and Korea - took place remotely from May 31 to June 1. It was dedicated to the topic "Shared values: building a green and inclusive future". A second meeting will be held in the autumn and will be dedicated to the celebration of the 60th anniversary of the entry into force of the Convention establishing the OECD and the adoption of the new Vision Statement for the next decade.
The OECD Budget ensures the Organisation’s functioning and activities and constitutes the basis on which to determine the mandatory contributions that Member States are obliged to provide.
The Organisation’s overall budget for 2020 amounts to over 391 million euros. Italy is the sixth-largest contributor, following the United States., Japan, Germany, the United Kingdom and France, with a 4% statutory share.
Another financial provision that has been assuming an increasingly important role over the years in the OECD Budget – to which also Italy contributes - 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.
Italy is one of the countries most represented in the OECD organisational chart. The share 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 latest statistics, the Italian officials account for approximately 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).
The main section of the OECD website is also available in Italian at the following link: https://www.oecd.org/apropositodi/.