The recent economic, financial and social crisis has reinforced the need for enhanced international co-operation. The strong, effective and co-ordinated response, especially in the context of the G20, has prevented the recession from becoming more severe.
But the recovery remains fragile, unemployment is high, fiscal positions have deteriorated and we still face huge longer term challenges such as a population ageing and climate change. For emerging economies, the risk of overheating is real and high oil and food prices are increasing inflationary pressures. Our success in restoring growth and confidence will, once again, greatly depend on our willingness and ability to work together.
That is what we are doing at the OECD, exchanging views and agreeing on rules of the game to help governments design, adopt and implement better policies for better lives. We work in an increasingly inclusive manner, bringing in the perspectives and policy experience of countries around the world. We have welcomed Chile, Estonia, Israel and Slovenia as new members last year.
Strengthening our interaction with key emerging economies, in particular Brazil, China, India, Indonesia and South Africa is also a strategic priority for us. These accessions and enhanced partnerships open a new chapter in the history of the organisation. They are a clear sign of the OECD’s openness and of its global nature.
President Dimitri Medvedev and Angel Gurría during their meeting, 25 April 2011, Moscow, Russian Federation (Photo: Presidential Press and Information Office)
Russia has a special significance for us in this context. The OECD has accompanied Russia’s reform efforts since the early 1990s. It contributed its expertise to help Russia make the transition from a centrally planned to a market economy.
Since the early 1990s, we have deepened and broadened this co-operation. We have undertaken seven OECD Economic Surveys of Russia, and recent work include policy reviews in critical areas such as education, agriculture, investment, environment, innovation, social policy, science and technology, corporate governance and regulatory reform.
We are pleased that Russia is now advancing on the accession track to become a member of the OECD. OECD membership will bring Russia a unique opportunity to exchange policy views with a wide range of countries, promote its perspectives on economic policy and benefit from the disciplines that OECD standards can bring: a brighter future and create better policies for better lives.
Accession to the OECD is indeed a transformational process, serving countries as a catalyst for building stronger institutions. It can support reform’s efforts by underpinning and driving change. A strong case in point is my home country, Mexico. Within its accession process, it relied on the OECD to revamp its competition laws and institutions, which are now among the most advanced in the world.
Russia has the same kind of opportunities with the OECD. Let me give you an example. We reviewed Russia’s legislation on foreign bribery following its request to adhere to the OECD Anti-Bribery Convention. This was a requirement for accession, but also one of Russia’s own policy goals. The OECD’s recommendations were taken into account in the anti-corruption legislation adopted last week by the Federal Assembly. This should enable Russia to become party to the OECD Anti-Bribery Convention. And this is definitely a new milestone in the co-operation between Russia and the OECD.
Our co-operation can also extend to Russia’s strategy for Modernisation and Development until 2020, and to the Presidential Modernisation Commission, which will steer broad-based technological development and innovation.
We hope that our co-operation with Russia will gather speed this year. We are confident that the accession process will help maintain the momentum of Russia’s modernisation. This is in the interest of a stronger Russian economy and better lives for its citizens. Looking forward, we also believe that Russia will bring many new, diverse and valuable experiences and policy perspectives to the OECD.
It is by learning from each other, by exchanging experiences, by co-ordinating policies and putting our minds together to devise innovative policy solutions that we will earn ourselves a brighter future.