Focus on an inclusive recovery

Addressing inequalities in education

Supporting people, jobs & small businesses

Young people and women hit hard by jobs crisis, August 2020

Closing the digital divide

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05/03/2021
COVID-19 has put renewed focus on the importance of addressing longstanding challenges that OECD governments face in delivering public services, especially in regions with people spread over a wider area where economies of scale are more difficult to achieve. The physical infrastructure needed to provide good quality education and health services can be more complex and expensive in rural and remote regions that also struggle to attract and retain education and health care professionals. Acute ageing trends in many rural regions and, in some cases, a shrinking population will require sustainable policy responses that will need to be coherent with pressure to drive efficiencies in public spending. This report examines the nuances specific to the delivery of education and health care to people everywhere, offering recommendations on how to better adapt provision to the realities of today and the emerging realities of tomorrow to face the challenges of distance, demographic change and fiscal belt-tightening. The report also examines digital connectivity issues in rural and remote regions, recognising the significant scope for digital delivery of services to mitigate challenges related to distance. Finally, the report looks at governance issues, including fiscal issues, through which the delivery of these critical services is administered and paid for.
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02/03/2021
Skills are central to the capacity of countries and people to thrive in a rapidly changing world. Recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic will require countries to co-ordinate interventions to help recent graduates find jobs, reactivate the skills of displaced workers and use skills effectively in workplaces. Megatrends such as globalisation, climate change, technological progress and demographic change will continue to reshape work and society. Countries should take action now to develop and use more effectively the skills required for the world of the future and at the same time make their skills systems more resilient and adaptable in the context of change and uncertainty.The OECD Skills Strategy provides countries with a strategic approach to assess their skills challenges and opportunities. The foundation of this approach is the OECD Skills Strategy framework allowing countries to explore how they can improve i) developing relevant skills, ii) using skills effectively, and iii) strengthening the governance of the skills system.This report applies the OECD Skills Strategy framework to Southeast Asia, providing an overview of the region’s skills challenges and opportunities in the context of COVID-19 and megatrends, and identifying good practices for improving skills outcomes. This report lays the foundation for a more fully elaborated Skills Strategy for Southeast Asia.
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18/02/2021
Firm entry has rebounded after the drop experienced during the first COVID-19 lockdowns of early 2020, yet the recovery in entry rates is highly heterogeneous across countries, with possible long-term implications for employment and output growth. Financial support to firms’ liquidity and temporary changes to insolvency procedures have been effective in reducing bankruptcies, on average, by more than 30% relative to the pre-pandemic period. Policy measures may have protected viable and productive firms and avoided the systemic risks posed by a wave of bankruptcies, but at the risk of potentially keeping non-viable (the so-called zombie) firms afloat. Governments should implement a balanced strategy to phase out emergency support policies and pursue a gradual approach focusing on restoring the equity of distressed firms, encouraging timely debt restructuring and improving the efficiency of liquidation procedures, with the aim of fostering resource reallocation.
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11/02/2021
The COVID-19 crisis has reiterated the importance of adult learning and career guidance services as many adults have lost their jobs and now require upskilling and reskilling opportunities in order to keep pace with the rapidly evolving world of work. Yet, in order to achieve its positive gains, adult training needs to be of high quality and ensure successful learning experiences for all participants. This report therefore aims at supporting public authorities to enhance quality in the field of non-formal adult learning. It provides an overview of quality assurance systems across Europe, highlighting their implementation features, governance structures and success factors. Based on this analysis, the report develops a Quality Assurance in Adult Learning Decision Tree to support the decision-making process of governments that are planning reforms of their quality assurance systems.
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04/02/2021
As the roll out of coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccines begins, this policy brief asks how to ensure vaccines for all. In doing so, it examines the case for multilateral approaches to access and delivery, maps key challenges, and identifies priority actions for policy makers. The absence of a comprehensive approach to ensure vaccine access in developing countries threatens to prolong the pandemic, escalating inequalities and delaying the global economic recovery. While new collaborative efforts such as ACT Accelerator and its COVAX initiative are helping to bridge current gaps, these are not enough in circumstances where demand far outstrips supply. Based on the current trajectory, mass immunisation efforts for poorer countries could be delayed until 2024 or beyond, prolonging human and economic suffering for all countries. Policy actions to support equitable vaccine access in developing countries include: (i) supporting multilateral frameworks for equitable allocation of vaccines and for crisis response, resilience and prevention; (ii) highlighting the role of development finance; and, (iii) promoting context-driven solutions.
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03/02/2021
Despite potentially tremendous benefits, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) lag in the digital transformation. Emerging technologies, as diverse as they are, offer a range of applications for them to improve performance and overcome the size-related limitations they face in doing business. However, SMEs must be better prepared, and stakes are high. SMEs make the most of the industrial fabric in many countries and regions, they create jobs (most jobs sometimes) and are the cement of inclusive and sustainable societies. The SME digital gap has increased inequalities among people, places and firms, and there are concerns that the benefits of the digital transformation could accrue to early adopters, further broadening these inequalities. Enabling SME digitalisation has become a top policy priority in OECD countries and beyond. The report looks at recent trends in SME digital uptake, including in the context of the COVID-19 crisis. It focuses on issues related to digital security, online platforms, blockchain ecosystems, and artificial intelligence. The report identifies opportunities, risks of not going digital, and barriers to adoption. It looks to concrete policy action taken worldwide to speed the SME transformation and raises a series of considerations to advance the SME digital policy agenda.
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28/01/2021
The policy brief details the critical challenges for the well-being of children in the context of the COVID-19 crisis and lays out the foundations of a Framework for Achieving the Well-Being of Children in the post-COVID-19 Decade to ensure that children are put at the centre of efforts to build back better. The Framework proposes five pillars of action, which includes developing a data framework for monitoring child well-being outcomes and policies and ensuring political leadership and commitment for child well-being. The brief also provides an overview summary of a webinar hosted by the OECD and the Institute for Inspiring Children’s Futures in October 2020. This webinar provided a platform for OECD member countries and child well-being experts to share examples of country or regional policies and initiatives aimed at promoting child well-being during the pandemic, and to start shaping a shared understanding of child well-being and the outcome objectives.
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26/01/2021
Career guidance is a fundamental policy lever to help adults successfully navigate a constantly evolving labour market through advice and information on job and training opportunities. The COVID-19 pandemic has underscored the importance of career guidance services. Many adults have lost their jobs and require assistance navigating their career options in a changing labour market, where firms are likely to accelerate the adoption of digital technologies in the name of pandemic-proofing. But compared to career guidance services for youth, services for adults receive relatively little policy attention, and little is known of how often existing services are used. This report scopes out initiatives in the area of career guidance for adults in OECD countries, drawing lessons on how to strengthen adult career guidance systems in terms of coverage and inclusiveness, provision and service delivery, quality and impact, and governance and funding. The findings of the report build on the information collected through the 2020 Survey of Career Guidance for Adults (SCGA), an online survey of adults’ experience with career guidance.
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19/01/2021
Africa’s Development Dynamics uses lessons learned in the continent’s five regions – Central, East, North, Southern and West Africa – to develop policy recommendations and share good practices. Drawing on the most recent statistics, this analysis of development dynamics attempts to help African leaders reach the targets of the African Union’s Agenda 2063 at all levels: continental, regional, national and local.The 2021 edition, now published at the beginning of the year, explores how digitalisation can create quality jobs and contribute to achieving Agenda 2063, thereby making African economies more resilient to the global recession triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic. The report targets four main policy areas for Africa’s digital transformation: bridging the digital divide; supporting local innovation; empowering own-account workers; and harmonising, implementing and monitoring digital strategies. This edition includes a new chapter examining how to finance Africa’s development despite the 2020 global economic crisis.Africa’s Development Dynamics feeds into a policy debate between the African Union’s governments, citizens, entrepreneurs and researchers. It aims to be part of a new collaboration between countries and regions, which focuses on mutual learning and the preservation of common goods. This report results from a partnership between the African Union Commission and the OECD Development Centre.
11/01/2021
Food systems around the world face a triple challenge: providing food security and nutrition for a growing global population; supporting livelihoods for those working along the food supply chain; and contributing to environmental sustainability. Better policies hold tremendous promise for making progress in these domains. This report focuses on three questions. What has been the performance of food systems to date, and what role did policies play? How can policy makers design coherent policies across the triple challenge? And how can policy makers deal with frictions related to facts, interests, and values, which often complicate the task of achieving better policies? Better policies will require breaking down silos between agriculture, health, and environmental policies, and overcoming knowledge gaps, resistance from interest groups, and differing values. Robust, inclusive, evidence-based processes are thus essential to making better policies for food systems.
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22/12/2020
The devastating impacts of coronavirus (COVID-19) on developing countries have tested the limits, ingenuity and flexibility of development co-operation while also uncovering best practices. This 58th edition of the Development Co-operation Report draws out early insights from leaders, OECD members, experts and civil society on the implications of coronavirus (COVID-19) for global solidarity and international co-operation for development in 2021 and beyond. The report suggests ways forward for the international development community as a whole for bold action and systemic reform to build resilient national and international systems capable of coping with global shocks, and providing and protecting global public goods while reinforcing the fundamental building blocks for sustainable development. The annual “development co-operation at a glance” infographics showcase the latest trends in development finance for over 80 providers of development co-operation, including members of the OECD, the Development Assistance Committee, other countries and philanthropic foundations.
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16/12/2020
The least developed countries (LDCs) are the furthest from achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). They are also likely to be hit the hardest by the COVID-19 crisis and badly need the additional private finance that blended finance can unlock. Yet evidence shows that too little private finance is mobilised for investment in LDCs. How can this be fixed?The Blended Finance in the Least Developed Countries 2020 report is the third edition and second joint UNCDF-OECD report. It builds on UNCDF research and transactional experience, OECD data and analysis on private finance mobilized by official development finance, and a series consultations with and contributions by blended finance experts, LDC governments, UN missions, donors, civil society and research institutions. The report provides an update on the deployment of blended finance in LDCs. It also analyses its potential role in helping those countries recover from the COVID-19 crisis, and provides an Action Agenda for unlocking capital for the achievement of the SDGs in LDCs, as called for in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Addis Ababa Action Agenda.
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16/12/2020
All OECD economies are undergoing rapid population ageing, leading to more age diversity in workplaces than ever before as people are not only living longer but working longer. Greater diversity of experience, generations and skills gives employers an important opportunity to harness the talent that different age groups bring to the workplace and improve productivity and profitability. What can employers do to maximise the benefits of a multigenerational workforce? This report presents a business case for embracing greater age diversity at the workplace and debunks several myths about generational differences in work performance, attitudes and motivations towards work. It points to key employer policies and offers practical examples in three key areas to support and promote an age-inclusive workforce. This includes designing and putting in place all-age and life-stage policies covering the full span of workers careers through best practice in recruitment, retention and retirement, as well as the promotion of life-long learning and good health at work.
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15/12/2020
The COVID-19 pandemic has shaken long-accepted beliefs about education, showing that learning can occur anywhere, at any time, and that education systems are not too heavy to move. When surveyed in May 2020, only around one-fifth of OECD education systems aimed to reinstate the status quo. Policy makers must therefore maintain the momentum of collective emergency action to drive education into a new and better normal. This Handbook provides practical guidance to support them to do just that. It presents the current state-of-play in over 40 education systems, and efforts to improve pedagogical practices in the midst of the pandemic. It proposes three key lessons and related policy pointers for the current academic term and beyond. Drawing on concrete examples of COVID-19 policy responses from primary to tertiary, as well as impactful pre-crisis policies, it addresses the policy areas of flexible learning, educator skills, and student equity. The Handbook has been prepared with evidence from the Education Policy Outlook series – the OECD’s analytical observatory of education policy. As such, it benefits from a decade of policy analysis, outcomes from the Education Policy Reform Dialogues 2020, and the development of an actionable Framework for Responsiveness and Resilience in education.
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14/12/2020
The outlook for the tourism sector remains highly uncertain. The coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic continues to hit hard, with international tourism expected to decrease by around 80% in 2020. Domestic tourism is helping to soften the blow, at least partially, and governments have taken impressive immediate action to restore and re-activate the sector, while protecting jobs and businesses. Many countries are also now developing measures to build a more resilient tourism economy post COVID-19. These include preparing plans to support the sustainable recovery of tourism, promoting the digital transition and move to a greener tourism system, and rethinking tourism for the future. Rebuilding tourism for the future.
11/12/2020
Transport connects people, places and cities. Investment in transport infrastructure therefore helps bridging economic and social divides. It promotes economic growth and catching up of regions by providing access to jobs for workers and markets for firms. This report summarises evidence on the benefits of transport investment for economic growth and job creation and thereby for catching up in OECD regions. Beyond economic divides, the report consider inequality in access to opportunities using the EC-ITF-OECD Urban Access Framework. It considers how transport can bridge social divides by taking a closer look at accessibility within OECD cities (functional urban areas). Cities differ greatly in their ability to provide inclusive access to opportunities across more affluent and poorer neighbourhoods. To bridge divides, the report highlights the need to go beyond transport infrastructure investment and consider wider urban planning, as well as complementary measures in regions.
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30/11/2020
Regions and Cities at a Glance 2020 provides a comprehensive assessment of how regions and cities across the OECD are progressing towards stronger, more sustainable and more resilient economies and societies. The publication provides a unique comparative picture in a number of aspects connected to economic development, health, well-being and net zero-carbon transition across regions and cities in OECD and selected non-OECD countries. In the light of the health crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the report analyses outcomes and drivers of social, economic and environmental resilience.This edition provides several new features. First, an extended set of health-related indicators, including excess mortality, morbidity rates, and air quality. Second, novel indicators on the potential of regions and cities to remote working, as well as on trade openness and access to digital infrastructure enrich the economic chapter. Third, the report offers a number of new climate-and environment-related indicators, including on sustainable electricity production and related carbon emissions. The report shows population trends in over nine thousands cities and metropolitan areas across the entire world. Finally, the last chapter presents new indicators on spending and revenues capacity of regional governments in OECD countries.
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27/11/2020
The OECD Digital Economy Outlook 2020 examines trends and analyses emerging opportunities and challenges in the digital economy. It highlights how OECD countries and partner economies are taking advantage of information and communication technologies (ICTs) and the Internet to meet their public policy objectives. Through comparative evidence, it informs policy makers of regulatory practices and policy options to help maximise the potential of the digital economy as a driver for innovation and inclusive growth.This third edition of the OECD Digital Economy Outlook provides a holistic overview of converging trends, policy developments and data on both the supply and demand sides of the digital economy. It illustrates how the digital transformation is affecting economies and societies. Finally, it provides a special focus on how the COVID-19 pandemic is amplifying opportunities and challenges from the digital transformation.
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23/11/2020
The impact of COVID-19 on local jobs and workers dwarfs those of the 2008 global financial crisis. The 2020 edition of Job Creation and Local Economic Development considers the short-term impacts on local labour markets as well as the longer-term implications for local development. Chapter 1 explores the immediate local employment impacts of the crisis, the divides within and across local labour markets even prior to the pandemic, and the likely diverging recovery patterns. Chapter 2 considers the underlying trends that COVID-19 will accelerate (digitalisation, the automation of jobs and polarisation of skill profiles; a transition to greener jobs) or slow down (reconfigured global supply chains, concentration of the high skilled in largest cities). Chapter 3 explores local action in the recovery. It highlights the strategies to strengthen local employment services and training providers to meet the increased demand for job placement and skills upgrading, particularly for the most disadvantaged workers (youth, low-skilled, women) or business development to serve the hardest hit firms and sectors (tourism, culture, hospitality). It also considers strategies and tools to “rebuild better” by rethinking local development futures, taking advantage of the changing geography of jobs due to remote working or other opportunities such as the social economy. Individual country profiles are available online.
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23/11/2020
The world is facing an unprecedented multidimensional crisis that demands coherent policy responses. The COVID-19 crisis has further highlighted the vulnerability of several of our basic systems, including healthcare, social protection, education, value chains, production networks, financial markets, mass transit systems and ecosystems. This makes the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) even more relevant today as they aim to transform the systemic conditions that perpetuate the vulnerabilities of our societies and economies. Yet, the human, social and economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic may reverse the progress made in achieving the SDGs. As such, sustainable recovery, aligned with the SDGs, requires cross-sectoral actions and mechanisms to manage unavoidable trade-offs between short and long-term priorities, and between economic, social and environmental policy goals. This brief presents a policy coherence roadmap to support governments in ensuring a sustainable recovery from the COVID-19 crisis that does not come at the expense of progress towards the SDGs.
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