Vision and purpose of the OECD’s Global Relations

Engagement with partner countries, regions and organisations is essential to fulfil the OECD’s aim to make its standards and policy recommendations count on a global scale, foster economic growth and well-being, and level the global playing field. It is guided by the principles of openness, impact and commitment.

OECD Members form a like-minded community of democracies, with shared values regarding the rule of law and the respect for human rights, individual liberty, transparency, and gender equality. By engaging beyond its membership, the OECD aims to ensure its standards and recommendations have a global impact and serve as reference points in many areas of economic, environmental, and public governance.

The main purpose of the OECD’s Global Relations is to integrate partner countries and economies into the Organisation’s knowledge base and to provide a platform for policy dialogue and peer learning with a view to meet global challenges, and to level the global playing field. As emerging and developing countries represent a growing share of the world’s economy, OECD engagement contributes to addressing megatrends, including climate change and environmental degradation, digitalisation, migration, global and regional value chains, mobility of capital and labour, informality, and rising inequality.

Effective and practical international co-operation and engagement with partner countries is essential to:

  • Promote, disseminate, and implement high standards of government and business responsibility;
  • Meet critical challenges;
  • Achieve resilient, inclusive, sustainable and green economic growth; and
  • Contribute to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals.

OECD engagement with partner countries is underpinned by the Organisation’s working methods of evidence-based policy-making, peer reviews, and adherence to standards. OECD Members welcome partner countries’ broadest possible adherence and implementation of OECD legal instruments, as well as their participation in OECD bodies, while maintaining the highest standards of public policy.

OECD Global Relations tools

The OECD Global Relations strategy relies on a set of flexible and inter-related tools tailored to the specificities of various partner countries, economies and regions:

Future membership and accession to the OECD

Given its transformative character, accession to the OECD remains a key tool to promote and disseminate the OECD’s norms and standards globally. The 2017 Framework for the Consideration of Prospective Members structures and guides the process.

Engagement with Key Partners

Since 2007, the OECD has aimed to enhance its co-operation with Brazil, China, India, Indonesia and South Africa, later designated as Key Partners. The OECD continues to engage with Key Partners in a flexible manner on the basis of shared Members’ interests and mutual benefits. Strategic, country-specific frameworks for co-operation facilitate a tailored approach to engagement with the Key Partners.

Regional approaches

Regional approaches facilitate the participation of countries as a group in selected OECD activities. They highlight progress made by some countries and encourage others to follow suit, thereby fostering regional co-operation and integration, while also facilitating co-ordination and monitoring of OECD work across regions. The OECD undertakes Comprehensive Regional Programmes with Southeast Asia, Eurasia, Latin America and the Caribbean, the Middle East and North Africa, and South East Europe. A new partnership approach to OECD co-operation with Africa is under development, based on shared Members’ interests and African ownership and demand.

Country-specific approaches

The OECD’s country-specific approaches provide a useful platform for co-operation with some countries across a range of policy fields. OECD Country Programmes have a successful track record in enabling selected countries to anchor their policy reforms in OECD standards and best practices. These are guided by a framework that provides a structured and strategic form of engagement with countries willing and able to meet OECD standards that could act as trailblazers in their own regions.

Co-operation with international organisations, global fora and other stakeholders

The OECD contributes data, analysis, and expertise to global fora such as the G20 and G7, as well as the United Nations and specific regional fora such as APEC, ASEAN, the Pacific Alliance, the African Union, and the Union for the Mediterranean. The OECD also co-operates with the World Trade Organization, International Labour Organization, international financial institutions, including the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank, and multilateral and regional development banks. Our contributions to these organisations are based on our comparative advantages and in line with Members’ priorities and guidance.

Co-operation in the area of development

OECD work on development and its contributions to achieve internationally agreed objectives, such as those of the Paris Agreement and the Sustainable Development Goals are a horizontal effort in essence. Many of the Organisation’s bodies work with partner countries in addressing major development challenges, such as taxation and domestic resource mobilisation, financing for development, climate change and digitalisation.

Partners’ participation in OECD bodies

Participation in meetings of OECD bodies – such as OECD committees, working parties and Global Forums – is the backbone of the OECD’s engagement with partner countries and economies, allowing them to take part in OECD work, share best practices and identify issues of common interest. It is governed by the Revised Resolution of the Council on Partnerships in OECD Bodies. For more information on partnerships in OECD bodies, click here.


Global Relations have been an integral part of the OECD since its establishment in 1961. The Organisation’s global nature was expressed in Article 1(b) of the original OECD Convention, which states that Members “should contribute to sound economic expansion in member as well as non-member countries in the process of economic development.”

The OECD Global Relations Strategy, adopted by Members in 2021, guides the Organisation’s efforts for engagement with partner countries, international organisations, and other fora, and aims to strengthen the coherence, impact, and relevance of the OECD’s Global Relations.