The Accession Process

 

Article 1 of the OECD Convention sets out three principle aims for the Organisation, one of which is "to contribute to sound economic expansion in member as well as non-member countries in the process of economic development".

While engagement with non-Members has always been important to the Organisation, since the early 1990s, its importance has increased in a number of ways: the accession of new Members, strengthened co-operation with "Key Partners" and closer involvement of non-Members in subsidiary bodies through various forms of partnerships.

Since 1994 eleven countries have joined the OECD: Mexico (1994), the Czech Republic (1995), Hungary (1996), Poland (1996), Korea (1996), the Slovak Republic (2000), Chile (2010), Israel (2010), Slovenia (2010), Estonia (2010) and Latvia (2016). 

Becoming a Member of the OECD is not a simple formality but is the result of a rigourous review process. The OECD governing body (the Council), which comprises all the Members of the Organisation, decides whether to open accession discussions with a country and fixes the terms, conditions and process for accession (see also section below on Framework for the Consideration of Prospective Members).

In 2007, accession discussions were opened with Chile, Estonia, Israel, the Russian Federation and Slovenia (Council Resolution on Enlargement and Enhanced Engagement). The terms, conditions and process for the accession were set out in Roadmaps for each country: Chile, Estonia, Israel, the Russian Federation and Slovenia. Four of these countries have now become Members of the Organisation: Chile, Estonia, Israel and Slovenia. Further to a meeting of the OECD Council on 12 March 2014, activities related to the accession process of the Russian Federation are postponed for the time being.

On 29 May 2013, the OECD Council Meeting at Ministerial Level decided to open accession discussions with Colombia and Latvia (Council Resolution on Strengthening the OECD's Global Reach). The terms, conditions and process for the accession were set out in Accession Roadmaps adopted by Council on 19 September 2013 for Colombia and on 15 October 2013 for Latvia. Latvia became a Member of the OECD on 1 July 2016.

On 9 April 2015, the Council decided to open accession discussions with Costa Rica and Lithuania. Accession Roadmaps for Costa Rica and Lithuania were adopted by Council on 8 July 2015.

Framework for the Consideration of Prospective Members 

At the Ministerial Council Meeting (MCM) 2016, Ministers called “for a strategic reflection by Members on the future size and membership of the Organisation and for a report to the 2017 MCM”. To fulfil this mandate, the OECD Council created in September 2016 the Working Group on the Future Size and Membership (WGM) of the Organisation. The WGM developed an evidence-based Framework for the Consideration of Prospective Members aimed at providing OECD Members with consistent information on which to base their decision, inter alia, on whether or not to open accession discussions with a country interested in OECD membership (“prospective Member”). This Framework, adopted by the OECD Council on 2 June 2017 and presented to the MCM 2017, will also help prospective Members to assess their position before signalling their interest in becoming a Member of the OECD.

The Framework is to be applied according to the following process:

1) Considerations to open an accession process can be made on the initiative of the Council or upon receipt of a written request by a prospective Member. Upon receipt of a formal request, the Secretary-General shares the request with the Council.

2) Using the Framework, the Secretary-General will provide Council with comprehensive information on a prospective Member covering the elements listed in Annex I of the Framework.

3) Based inter alia on this comprehensive information provided by the Secretary-General, and on Council’s judgement, the Council may decide whether or not to open accession discussions, or to engage with the prospective Member through other means, using one or more of the available OECD global relations tools.

4) The Secretary-General will communicate the Council’s decision to the prospective Member.

5) Should Council agree to open accession discussions with a prospective Member, the Secretary-General will proceed to prepare the Accession Roadmap (see section below) for adoption by the Council.

 

 

 

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