©Osman Orsal/Reuters

For a complete list of speeches and statements, including those in French and other languages, go to www.oecd.org/about/secretary-general/publicationsdocuments/speeches

©Andrew Wheeler/OECD

“It is unacceptable to allow corruption to undermine the functioning of public authority.” So said Christiane Taubira, French minister for justice, in launching the first OECD Foreign Bribery Report at the organisation’s headquarters in Paris on 2 December. “To fight against international bribery, it is important that we have international standards. The OECD work on producing this comparable data is essential”, she said.

©Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images

“What an amazing week. … I’m doing my best to come back down to earth and get back to work.” And so it was, in less than 140 characters that Frenchman Jean Tirole (@JeanTirole) tweeted his excitement after learning that he had won the 2014 Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel.

©Rights reserved

New chief economist and two new deputy secretaries-general join the OECD.

©Osman Orsal/Reuters

For a complete list of speeches and statements, including those in French and other languages, go to www.oecd.org/about/secretary-general/publicationsdocuments/speeches

French President François Hollande met the Heads of five international economic organisations at the OECD on Friday 17 October to discuss the challenges facing the global economy. 

Wise questioning at the OECD Forum 2014 ©Julien Daniel/OECD

The great Gabriel García Márquez–our dear, recently departed Gabo, who is now surely in Macondo having a coffee with Colonel Aureliano Buendía–once wrote: “La sabiduría nos llega cuando ya no sirve para nada” (Wisdom arrives to us when it’s no longer useful). This OECD Forum is an attempt to challenge that warning. After six years of crisis, the world needs our wisdom, our inspiration, our new ideas, now. There are billions of people waiting for that new idea, and that new idea can be born here at the OECD.

Japan’s Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida and OECD Secretary-General Angel Gurría at the press conference closing the 2014 Ministerial Council Meeting, 7 May ©Herve Cortinat/OECD

2014 Ministerial Council Statement

1. On the occasion of the 2014 OECD Ministerial Council Meeting, we1 have assembled under the chairmanship of Japan, on the 50th anniversary of its accession to the OECD, and the vice-chairmanship of Slovenia and the United Kingdom.

The Slovak Republic has become the 27th member of the OECD Development Assistance Committee (DAC), a leading international forum for bilateral providers of development co-operation. 

Trade Minister of Costa Rica, Anabel González, and OECD Secretary-General, Angel Gurría. ©OECD/Herve Cortinat

Costa Rica became the 45th country to adhere to the OECD Declaration on International Investment and Multinational Enterprises, an OECD instrument designed to help the country attract more and better foreign investment and promote responsible business conduct.

Prime Minister of Latvia, Valdis Dombrovskis ©Reuters/Ints Kalnins

On 19 September the OECD set out a clear path for Colombia’s accession to the organisation, reinforcing its commitment to further extend its global membership to include more emerging economies. On 16 October the OECD issued an accession roadmap for Latvia too.

The OECD’s capacity for change, inspired more by professional pathfinding than by politics, has transformed it into a multi-disciplinary policy innovator that can continue to build signposts for the future.

John F Kennedy

50 years ago, on 22 November 1963, US President John F Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas, Texas. 

The shockwave of that tragedy rocked the world and still reverberates today. The OECD is a living tribute to his legacy, as this 1963 obituary by the OECD's first secretary-general, Thorkil Kristensen, shows. Read our Focus too

If you didn't make the OECD Week this week, watch this 4 minute summary posted below:

This year the parliaments of two OECD member countries passed legislation broadening the institution of marriage to include same sex couples. Such marriage is now legal in 14 countries worldwide, 11 of which are OECD members.

©REUTERS/Mike Segar

A major step forward towards putting the measurement of well-being at the heart of policymaking was taken at the OECD’s World Forum on Measuring Well-Being for Policymaking and Development, a four-day international conference held in New Delhi in October.

The Hotel Majestic, where the agreements to create the OECD were forged, was located near the Arc de Triomphe, on Avenue Kléber, a few kilometres across town from the OEEC (and now OECD headquarters) at La Muette. The Hotel Majestic was the venue of many historic events, including during the First and Second World Wars, and from May 1968 was the venue of much delayed peace talks between North Vietnam and the US on the Vietnam war, culminating in an agreement signed at the hotel on 27 January 1973. The hotel later became an international conference centre (our photo) when it again welcomed the OECD, this time to host the annual OECD Forum from 2003 to 2006. The magnificent building is currently being renovated as a hotel, this time under The Peninsula banner, due to open in 2013.

A new OECD Staff and Alumni Network has been launched and already boasts over 1,200 members. All former and current staff are welcome to join. “The organisation needs to retain knowledge that has grown out of the OECD and maintain that thread of continuity.

©REUTERS/Kyodo Kyodo

On 11 March one year ago, an earthquake of magnitude 9.0 struck eastern Japan. The earthquake was followed by a huge tsunami and a nuclear accident. All these incidents combined resulted in an unprecedented disaster leaving more than 19,000 people dead or missing and a very large material damage. 

“Education and skills” is the theme of the 2012 OECD youth video competition. It was launched on 14 December at the Youth Employment conference. Open to youth ages 18 to 25, the challenge is to produce a video of no more than three minutes on the theme of education and skills, and the prize is a trip to Paris to attend the OECD Forum on 22-24 May. 

Happy birthday, OECD Observer!

November marks the 50th anniversary of the OECD Observer, the award-winning public magazine of the OECD. The brainchild of Thorkil Kristensen, the first secretary general of the organisation, the OECD Observer was launched at the 2nd ministerial meeting 27-28 November 1962. He recruited a former war resistant and political journalist from his native Denmark, Anker Randsholt, to do the job. The audience? Busy policymakers who had no time “to read more than a fraction” of the OECD’s already considerable and somewhat technical work.

In those post-war decades divulging information to the public was a delicate exercise. Policy had inched forward in a Cold War atmosphere of confidentiality, not to mention paranoia. Today, information is currency, and as Kristensen wrote in the first editorial, by ensuring the OECD Observer was distributed at the 1962 ministerial meeting, “a step was taken towards a wider dissemination of this [organisation’s] knowledge.”

More...

The entire collection of OECD‘s country economic surveys has now been made accessible online at the OECD i-Library. Published regularly since the creation of the OECD in 1961, and to mark the Organisation’s 50th anniversary, this online archive offers a unique historical perspective of the economic changes OECD countries have undergone since 1961. It is an invaluable resource for anyone tracing their efforts to rebuild their economies after World War II, addressing the oil crisis in the 1970s, the dot.com revolution and bubble, and the economic, educational and environmental challenges of the 21st century.

“[…] On behalf of the OECD, I express our profound sorrow at the enormous loss of life and extend our condolences to all those who have been affected by this terrible tragedy. At the same time, we admire the courage and resolve of the Japanese people in face of adversity, and we are confident that Japan will emerge from this disaster stronger and better.

“The government’s top priority is reducing the nation’s deficit and returning Britain to strong and sustainable growth. That means the right economic policies at home and creating the right economic environment abroad.

It would be easy to think that the organisation created in 1961 was the inevitable next stage in the evolution of the OEEC, the European body originally set up to administer the Marshall Plan in 1947. But the OECD did not simply "replace" the OEEC. Nor was its creation inevitable or easy.

Strategic foresight is an essential tool in any government’s toolbox. It’s what enables policymakers to anticipate developments better, encouraging them to be more creative in reflecting on their options, and offering them more time to prepare and set in train their programmes. It is an area in which some governments excel, while others perform less well. It is also an area subject to much misunderstanding and confusion.

The UK government has prepared a map of the world showing how the effects of climate change would differ by region. The map, presented to OECD Secretary-General Angel Gurría by the British ambassador to the OECD, Dominic Martin, shows the likely impact on the planet of a 4 °C rise in the global average temperature.

Concerns for the world economy were already building when OECD governments met for the annual Ministerial Council Meeting (MCM) last June.

Lorents Lorentsen ©OECD

How to be green and competitive was the centre of attention when environment ministers of OECD countries met at the end of April for the first time in four years. How to fight climate change and maintain competitiveness is a question that concerns many countries outside the OECD too, and the governments of four candidate countries for OECD membership–Chile, Estonia, Israel and Slovenia–participated at the conference, as did Brazil, China, Indonesia and South Africa, four countries with whom the OECD is strengthening its relations in a programme of “enhanced engagement”.

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