The OECD - a pathfinder and a partner for “Better Policies for Better Lives”
The OECD was created over 50 years ago “to promote policies designed to achieve the highest sustainable economic growth and employment and a rising standard of living in Member countries, while maintaining financial stability, and thus to contribute to the development of the world economy; and to contribute to sound economic expansion in Member as well as non-member countries in the process of economic development […].” (OECD Convention 1961)
When the OECD turned 50, we translated this mandate into an actionable directive fit for the 21st century: “Better policies for better lives”. We are focussing on helping governments in five main areas, not confined to our member countries, and tackling them will require reinforcing global governance and co-operation, notably through the G20:
- First, governments need to restore confidence in markets and the institutions and companies that make them function. That will require a focus on the needs of our citizens, improved regulation and more effective governance at all levels.
- Second, governments must re-establish healthy public finances with a long-term and growth-friendly strategy. At the same time, governments must “go structural” and reap the benefits of structural reforms on product and labour markets as well as in education systems.
- In parallel, we are looking for ways to foster new sources of growth through innovation, environmentally friendly ‘green growth” strategies and the development of new skills for new jobs.
- To underpin innovation and growth, we need to ensure that people of all ages can develop the skills to work productively and satisfyingly in the jobs of tomorrow. We also need to “go social” to protect to most vulnerable and to give people a perspective.
- Finally, we need to promote inclusive growth and sustainable development in emerging and developing countries for a future in which no country will depend on aid. The D in OECD stands for “Development” and we will continue to share our knowledge with emerging economies and developing countries.
The OECD is an active contributor to the G20 process
Since the very beginning, G20 leaders have called on the OECD for our analysis and policy expertise on a wide range of issues. We are one of the institutions that participate regularly in the G20 meetings, starting with the Summits. Secretary General Gurría represents the OECD in meetings of Finance Ministers and Leaders. And since President Obama invited Angel Gurría to attend the Pittsburgh Summit, the OECD appointed a Sherpa, Ms. Gabriela Ramos, and a Deputy Finance representative, Mr. Pier Carlo Padoan, to represent the Organisation at these respective levels. We are also active in most of the G20 Working Groups.
The OECD has worked and will continue to work closely with the G20, carrying out tasks mandated by the members and in close co-operation with the Presidencies of the G20. We assist G20 countries in identifying the relevant issues and in developing strategies and policy options to address them.
Our contributions to the G20 are frequently carried out in collaboration with other international organisations, such as the IMF, World Bank, FAO and the ILO. This is the case, for example, with our work on commodity price volatility and food security, on the Framework for Strong, Sustainable and Balanced Growth, on employment and on fossil fuel subsidies. By working together, we foster a real cross-fertilization of ideas that helps us to provide relevant and pragmatic contributions to the G20 process.
The OECD has supported the successive presidencies of the G20.
The OECD has supported the work of the G20 on a wide range of issues, reflecting the diversity of the OECD’s expertise in public policy. Highlights and deliverables from this work include:
- Restoring growth and jobs has been at the centre of OECD support to the G20. We work with international organisations on the Framework for strong, sustainable and balanced growth, bringing to the G20 policy debate the lessons learned from its ongoing surveillance of structural policies in G20 countries through our regular Economic Surveys and our Going for Growth exercise. We have shown that well-designed and well-implemented reforms yield a triple dividend – they lift output and employment, strengthen public budgets and rebalance global demand. We are currently assisting the G20 in the genuine implementation of the Los Cabos Action Plan on Growth and Jobs.
- Assisting G20 countries in sharpening their social response to the crisis. The OECD contributed extensively to the preparations of the G20 Labour Ministerial held in Washington in April 2010 and in Paris in September 2011. Five reports, background documents or notes were prepared with or in close collaboration with the ILO. These included a policy note on “Giving youth a better start”. The OECD will be consulted by the newly established intergovernmental task force on employment and will support the latter.
- Reform of the international monetary system. In a report on countries’ experience with sequencing liberalisation and capital controls under the OECD Code of Liberalisation, the OECD inputted analytical work that examines how structural reforms can promote financial integration, reduce global imbalances and limit capital flows volatility.
- Pursuing the agenda on financial regulation. The OECD was asked to take the lead in the development of high-level principles on consumer protection. These will be endorsed at the Cannes Summit. Next steps include the development of guidance on the implementation of the FCP principles. Our Organisation is also supporting the G20 agenda in the realm of financial inclusion and SMEs financing.
- Taxation is one area, where thanks to the combination of G20 leadership and OECD work, the world has achieved important breakthroughs in combating tax evasion. We have launched the most ambitious peer review process that includes over 110 countries ready to measure compliance based on OECD standards. By the time of the Cannes summit some 60 reviews will have been completed and we expect most G20 countries to have signed the joint OECD/Council of Europe Convention on Mutual Administrative Assistance in Tax Matters which provides for automatic exchange of tax information.
- Anticorruption: The OECD is actively engaged in the G20 Anticorruption Working Group in the areas of foreign bribery, whistleblower protection, public sector integrity and enhanced dialogue with business. With the G20 French Presidency, the OECD co-organised a high-level conference in April 2011 entitled, “Joining forces against corruption: G20 business and government”.
- Reinvesting in agriculture, combating price volatility and promoting food security. The OECD coordinated with FAO the policy report on “price volatility in food and agricultural markets: policy responses” which provided the basis on which G20 Agriculture Ministers developed their Action Plan. The OECD is involved in the follow up and has already assigned staff to the AMIS initiative (Agricultural Market Information System). The OECD, with its partner organisations will continue to make specific recommendations to G20 members in the realm of agricultural productivity and the enabling environment conducive to private investment in agriculture.
- The phase out of fossil fuel subsidies that encourage wasteful consumption. The OECD has focused on supporting countries in implementing their commitments to the G20 fossil fuel subsidy initiative and released the first-ever Inventory of Estimated Budgetary Support and Tax Expenditures for Fossil Fuels in October 2011. Results from the Inventory together with IEA estimates of consumer subsidies are accessible through a dedicated web-page: www.oecd.org/iea-oecd-ffss. The OECD is one of the 4 international organisations that contributed to the joint report to Leaders in Toronto and Seoul and coordinated the IO report for Cannes.
- Implementing the Seoul consensus on development. The OECD worked closely on six of the nine pillars of the Multiyear Action Plan – domestic resource mobilisation; human resource development; food security; trade; investment and job creation and knowledge sharing – and is actively contributing to their implementation. The OECD also provided relevant inputs to the other pillars – infrastructure, growth with resilience/social protection and financial inclusion – to the G20 countries and International Organisations that are leading their implementation.
Building on our expertise, and relying on the specific G20 “know-how” that our Organisation has accumulated in working closely with the successive presidencies, the OECD stands ready to provide support to the Mexican Presidency, in practically all strands of G20 work.
Read more about current work produced by the OECD for the G20