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What Is the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development?

  • Charles Thomas

This article is a sidebar to "Know Who You're Doing Business With."

The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) is a forum where the governments of 34 democracies with market economies work together, as well as with more than 70 nonmember economies, in order to promote economic growth, prosperity and sustainable development. The member countries account for 63 percent of world GDP, three-quarters of all trade and 18 percent of global population.

The OECD provides a setting where governments can compare policy experiences, seek answers to common problems, identify good practices, and coordinate domestic and international policies. Members share their experiences in order to discover solutions to common problems, such as how to

• restore confidence in markets and institutions to help organizations function

• establish healthy public finances as a basis for future sustainable economic growth

• foster and support new sources of growth through innovation, environmentally friendly strategies and the development of emerging economies

• ensure that people of all ages can gain the skills to work productively in the jobs of tomorrow.

In addition, the OECD aims to understand what drives economic, social and environmental change; measure productivity and global flows of trade and investment; and analyze and compare data to predict future trends. This information is used to set international standards on a wide range of issues, from agriculture to the safety of chemicals. The common thread of the work done is a shared commitment to market economies backed by democratic institutions and a focus on the well-being of all people. For more than 50 years, the OECD has been a source of policy analysis and internationally comparable statistical, economic and social data.

Together with its sister agencies, the International Energy Agency and the Nuclear Energy Agency, the OECD helps both members and nonmembers confront the challenges of a global economy by promoting sound energy policies that further economic growth; energy security; free markets; and safe, clean and efficient use of resources. The intention is to reduce worldwide environmental impact and foster innovation.

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