OECD and Enlargement
Accession to the OECD Convention remains the most effective way to secure countries’ comprehensive commitment to OECD standards and to fulfil the Organisation’s mission to level the global playing field towards better policies for better lives.
Since 2006, the OECD has made significant efforts to strengthen its global impact and ensure its relevance for Member and Partner countries. Over the past decade, the Organisation has opened up to eight new Members, and has received membership requests from six prospective Members (Argentina, Brazil, Bulgaria, Croatia, Peru and Romania).
All pending accession processes have been completed, with Colombia joining on 28 April 2020 and Costa Rica on 25 May 2021. A possible decision to open new accession discussions with the six aforementioned prospective Members remains under consideration by the Council.
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”.
An evidence-based Framework for the Consideration of Prospective Members was subsequently developed, which aims to provide OECD Members with consistent information on which to base their decision regarding [CJS1] whether or not to open accession discussions with a country interested in OECD membership.
This Framework, adopted by the OECD Council on 2 June 2017 and presented to the 2017 MCM, also helps prospective Members to assess their position before signalling their interest in becoming a Member of the OECD.
How is the Framework applied?
The process for applying the Framework is as follows:
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 an Accession Roadmap (see section below) for adoption by the Council.
What is an Accession Roadmap and how does the accession process work?
An Accession Roadmap is developed to detail the terms, conditions and process of each accession discussion. The roadmap lists the reviews to be undertaken by Committees in order to assess the country’s position with respect to the relevant OECD instruments, and to evaluate its policies and practices as compared to those of the OECD in relevant areas. At the end of their technical reviews, each Committee provides a “formal opinion” to the OECD Council.
Each country follows its own process and is assessed independently. The timeline for the accession process depends on the pace at which the candidate country provides information to Committees and responds to recommendations for changes to the relevant legislation, policies and practices.
On the basis of the formal opinions and other relevant information, the Council takes a final and unanimous decision on whether to extend an invitation to the country to become a Member. An Accession Agreement is then signed and the candidate country takes the necessary domestic steps to eventually deposit an instrument of accession to the OECD Convention with the depositary, i.e. the French government.
On the date of deposit, the country formally becomes a Member of the OECD.