The OECD's origins date back to 1960, when 18 European countries plus the United States and Canada joined forces to create an organisation dedicated to economic development.
Today, our 36 Member countries span the globe, from North and South America to Europe and Asia-Pacific. They include many of the world’s most advanced countries but also emerging countries like Mexico, Chile and Turkey.
We also work closely with emerging economies like the People's Republic of China, India and Brazil and developing economies in Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean. Together, our goal continues to be to build a stronger, cleaner and fairer world.
In the Supplementary Protocol No. 1 to the Convention on the OECD of 14 December 1960, the signatories to the Convention agreed that the European Commission shall take part in the work of the OECD.
European Commission representatives participate alongside Members in discussions on the OECD’s work programme, and are involved in the work of the entire Organisation and its different bodies.
While the European Commission’s participation goes well beyond that of an observer, it does not have the right to vote and does not officially take part in the adoption of legal instruments submitted to the Council for adoption.
In May 2013, the OECD Council decided to launch accession discussions with Colombia and Latvia; in April 2015, it invited Costa Rica and Lithuania to open formal OECD accession talks. Latvia became a member in 2016 and Lithuania joined the OECD in July 2018.
In a previous accession round in 2007, the OECD Council decided to open accession discussions with Chile, Estonia, Israel, the Russian Federation and Slovenia. In 2010, Chile, Estonia, Israel and Slovenia became Members. Following its meeting on 12 March 2014, the OECD Council postponed activities related to the OECD accession process for the Russian Federation for the time being.
In May 2007, the Council, meeting at ministerial level, invited the Secretariat to strengthen OECD cooperation with Brazil, India, Indonesia, the People's Republic of China and South Africa through "Enhanced Engagement" programmes. These Key Partners contribute to the OECD's work in a sustained and comprehensive manner.
A central element of this cooperation is the promotion of direct and active participation of the Key Partners in the work of substantive bodies of the Organisation.
Over time, OECD’s focus has broadened to include extensive contacts with non-Members and it now maintains co-operative relations with a large number of them.
The Global Relations Secretariat (GRS) develops and oversees the strategic orientations of OECD’s global relations with non-Members. More than 15 Global Fora have been established to address trans-boundary issues where the relevance of OECD work is dependent on policy dialogue with non-Members.
Regional initiatives cover Europe, the Caucasus and Central Asia; Asia; Latin America; the Middle East and North Africa (MENA). The Sahel and West Africa Club creates, promotes and facilitates links between OECD Members and West Africa.
Helping improve public governance and management in European Union Candidate Countries, Potential Candidates, and European Neighbourhood Policy partners is the mission of a joint OECD-EU initiative, the Support for Improvement in Governance and Management (SIGMA) programme.
The OECD has multiple relations with other international organisations and institutions, such as the International Labour Organization, Food and Agriculture Organization, International Monetary Fund, World Bank, International Atomic Energy Agency, and many United Nations bodies. In addition, the OECD is an active partner of the G20.
The OECD also co-operates with civil society on a number of levels. The OECD’s core relationship with civil society is through the Business and Industry (BIAC) and the Trade Union (TUAC) Advisory Committees to the OECD. These advisory bodies contribute to most areas of OECD work through policy dialogue and consultations.
This co-operation has been complemented over the years by activities with other representatives of civil society, e.g. non-governmental organisations, think tanks, and academia.
The OECD also maintains close relationship with parliamentarians, notably through its Global Parliamentary Network and long-standing links with the Council of Europe and NATO Parliamentary Assemblies.
The annual OECD Forum is a global platform for exchange of ideas, sharing knowledge and building networks. It brings together all stakeholders including government ministers, representatives of international organisations, and leaders of business, trade unions and civil society.
The OECD Forum is held in conjunction with the annual ministerial meeting and enables all stakeholders to discuss key issues on the ministerial agenda with government ministers and senior officials of international organisations.