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OECD well placed to steer global recovery says secretary general

The Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) is well placed to help steer recovery from the global economic crisis, but to be effective it must become more inclusive and ensure that policy dialogue between non-member countries is a genuine two-way street.

Global Policy logoSo writes OECD Secretary General Angel Gurria in the latest issue of Global Policy published today (Thursday 6 October) which marks the 50th anniversary of the OECD with three articles on the organisation. Angel Gurria examines the organisation, its achievements and the challenges it faces, and what the OECD must do to strengthen its legitimacy. 

"The recent financial and economic crisis has shown that, in a globalised economy, no single country has all the answers", writes Gurria. However, with countries facing complex challenges and different national political and economic conditions, there is a risk of divergence and conflict that should not be overlooked.

"It is essential that we 'reboot' our economies with a more intelligent type of growth" Gurria explains. "The crisis has reminded us that financial markets require more careful multilateral regulation. There are also other challenges that are likely to move to center stage as the recovery becomes self-sustaining: trade and investment, climate change, development and population ageing are some examples. The OECD is well equipped to provide a platform for such enhanced cooperation, take up new issues and assume the role of 'pilot fish' for members and non-member countries alike."

However, in order to maintain relevance, says Gurria, the OECD must become more inclusive and continue its work in improving dialogue between non-member countries.

"Progress is being made" he writes, "We are designing innovative arrangements to engage with non-member states. Some 100 non-member countries participate regularly as equals in the work of our committees, expert meetings and forums. The OECD is promoting convergence in policy action and finding common responses to global challenges by reinforcing its ties with key emerging economies. We also consult nongovernmental stakeholders, like business and trade unions. Last but not least we are stepping up our work on development so that our policy experience and expertise can reach more people. Thanks to these innovations we are a more open and pluralistic organisation." 

Global Policy features two further articles on the OECD. Judith Clifton and Daniel Diaz-Fuentes of the Universidad de Cantabria provide a critical analysis of the efforts by the OECD to reform. A third article by Jean-Marc Coicaud, director of the United Nations University in New York, and Jin Zhang, UNICEF, questions the legitimacy of the OECD as a global institution of the future through examining its work on economic and social data.

In other articles, Salil Shetty, secretary general of Amnesty International, which has also celebrated its 50th year in 2011, marks the anniversary with an examination on human rights and natural disasters. "Respect for human rights before natural disasters cannot prevent them but can mitigate the damage" he writes. "Human rights – like all good plans for sustainable remedy – are two parts prevention (respect and protect) and one part cure (access to justice)."

The latest issue of Global Policy can be viewed at http://www.globalpolicyjournal.com/