Latvia has undergone major economic and social change since the early 1990s. Despite an exceptionally deep recession following the global financial crisis, impressive economic growth over the past two decades has narrowed income and productivity gaps relative to comparator countries in the OECD. But Latvians report low degrees of life satisfaction, very large numbers of Latvians have left the country, and growth has not been inclusive. A volatile economy and very large income disparities create pressing needs for more effective social and labour-market policies. The government’s reform programme rightly acknowledges inequality as a key challenge. However, without sustained policy efforts and adequate resources, there is a risk that productivity and income growth could remain below potential and social cohesion could be further weakened by high or rising inequality.
Launch and first meeting of the Commission, Lyon, France. The meeting was chaired by H.E. Mr François Hollande, President of France and, H.E. Mr Jacob Zuma, President of South Africa.
The number of doctors and nurses has reached record levels in the OECD. Countries should now reform their training and employment strategies to better respond to people’s changing health needs and also reduce their reliance on foreign-trained health workers from developing countries, according to a new OECD report.
Urgent research is needed to assess the possible risks to human health and ecosystems from the ever-increasing amounts of engineered nanomaterials going into household waste and ending up in the environment, according to a new OECD report.
Price levels for private hospital services in South Africa are comparable to the levels observed across OECD countries. But they are higher than what could be expected given the country’s income, according to a new OECD working paper.
OECD countries are increasingly attempting to achieve savings through their public procurement systems, in particular in healthcare. In 2012, the State’s Employees’ Social Security and Social Services Institute in Mexico (ISSSTE) asked the OECD to review the effectiveness and integrity of its procurement system and to address bid-rigging. Many of the OECD’s recommendations led to enduring reforms at ISSSTE. In 2015 the OECD conducted a new review focusing on planning and coordination of procurement activities, market research and improvement of medical services. This report presents the findings of the review and notes the ISSSTE’s recent achievements. It also makes recommendations to support the alignment of the ISSSTE’s procurement practices with the 2015 OECD Recommendation of the Council on Public Procurement and includes action plans for priority activities.
Colombia has made major economic and social advances in recent years. The combination of strong economic growth and policies targeted at the most vulnerable groups improved considerably the living standards of the Colombian population. Today, the country enjoys higher employment and labour force participation rates than the average of OECD countries and unemployment is steadily declining. Nevertheless, despite these positive trends, deep structural problems remain. Labour informality is widespread, the rate of self-employment is high and many employees have non-regular contracts. Income inequality is higher than in any OECD country and redistribution through taxes and benefits is almost negligible. In addition, half a century of internal conflict and violence has displaced a significant part of the population, and many of them are living in extreme poverty. Despite considerable progress, violence continues to be a challenge and also affects trade union members and leaders. The Colombian Government has undertaken important reforms in recent years to address these labour market and social challenges, and the efforts are gradually paying off. However, further progress is needed to enhance the quality of jobs and well-being for all. The main trust of this report is to support the Colombian Government in tackling labour market duality, generate trust between the social partners, develop inclusive and active social policies, and get the most out of international migration.
In the ten years since the introduction of Seguro Popular, some 50 million Mexicans previously at risk of unaffordable health care bills now have access to health insurance. The OECD Review of Health Systems: Mexico 2016 finds that the share of the population exposed to unaffordable or impoverishing health care costs has fallen from 3.3% to 0.8% of the population in the past decade.
Colombia has significantly improved its health system over the past 20 years, leading to a rise in life expectancy and a fall in infant mortality. To maintain its ambition of universal, high-quality health care, Colombia should now focus on improving efficiency and strengthening financial sustainability, according to a new OECD report.
The recent mental health reform is an important step towards better services for people with mental ill-health, but Australia needs to do more to help people with mild to moderate mental health issues at and into work, according to a new OECD report.