OECD: A 50 year journey…
The Beginning — 1947
The Organisation for European Economic Cooperation (OEEC) was established to run the US-financed Marshall Plan for reconstruction of Europe after the ravages of World War II.
The OEEC Charter, signed in 1948, established the OECD. Photo courtesy of the OECD.
Encouraged by the original Charter's success and the prospect of carrying its work forward on a global stage, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) was officially born on 30 September 1961.
Twenty countries signed the Convention on the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, at Salon de l'Horloge, Quai d'Orsay, Paris, on 14 December 1960. The convention entered force in September 1961 — the birth of the OECD. Photo courtesy of the OECD.
Australia joins the OECD Development Assistance Committee (DAC). Comprising the world's main donors, the DAC seeks to promote poverty reduction and a future in which no country will depend on aid.
Australia's Ted Whitelaw, a senior Treasury official, set Australia on the path to OECD membership commenting that Australia needed "to hear and be heard" in international economic debate. Today, Australia — through both public and private institutions — continues to contribute significantly to the work of the OECD.
John Douglas Anthony (left), Deputy Prime Minister, Minister for Trade and Industry and William P. Rogers, Secretary of State, USA, Chair of the Ministerial Council, in Paris. Photo courtesy of the OECD.
Australia joins the OECD.
Australia's Treasurer B.M. Sneddon and Emile van Lennep, OECD Secretary General, at Australia's second Ministerial Council Meeting in 1972. Photo courtesy of the OECD.
The OECD enacted the Polluter Pays Principle in 1972. In environmental law, the 'polluter pays principle' means the party responsible for producing pollution must also compensate for the damage done to the natural environment. This concept is mentioned in Principle 16 of the Rio Declaration on Environment and Development.
The 1977 OECD Ministerial Council Meeting was chaired by Australia.
(From left): Andrew Peacock, Minister for Foreign Affairs, and Phillip Lynch, Treasurer, with Emile van Lennep, OECD Secretary-General. Photo courtesy of the OECD.
Trade and Agriculture.
One of Australia’s main contributions to the OECD's work on agriculture was the concept of the producer support estimate, or “PSE”. This concept, which was introduced in 1982, improved the way the OECD measures countries’ trade-distorting support for their agricultural producers.
A level-playing field in global agricultural trade is an OECD priority.
OECD Secretary General Jean-Claude Paye (left) during his official visit to Australia with Paul Keating, Australian Treasurer in 1985. Photo courtesy of the OECD.
From the start, Australian thinking has influenced the structural policy work of the OECD. Its first major report in 1987, "Structural Policy and Economic Growth", largely reflected Australian views.
Founding the FATF. Australia was a founding member of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), an inter-governmental body whose purpose is the development and promotion of policies to combat money laundering and terrorist financing.
Australia has taken an active part in FATF's policy formulation. Australia also played a supportive role in the creation of one of the FATF-style regional bodies, the Asia-Pacific Group on Money Laundering (APG). The Secretariat of this regional body is located in Australia.
In 1992, Australia played a leading role in the development of the "Canberra Manual", designed to measure the resources devoted to scientific and technological activities.
Also in 1992, Australia's interest in issues surrounding small and medium-size enterprises (SMEs) led to a proposal to form the OECD Working Party on SMEs. The Working Party officially came into existence in 1993, and in 2002, it was renamed the ‘Working Party on SMEs and Entrepreneurship’.
This body guides the development of policy through its “Bologna Process”.
The annual Ministerial Council of the OECD met on 2 and 3 June 1993. The meeting was chaired by John Dawkins, Treasurer of Australia. At the meeting, members invited the Organisation to deepen work with Mexico and Korea with a view to early membership.
(left to right) — Peter Cook, Australian Trade Minister, Lloyd Bentson, US Secretary of the Treasury, John S. Dawkins, Australian Treasurer, Ronald Brown, US Secretary of Commerce. Photo courtesy of the OECD.
Australia has always taken a strong interest in urban economic, social and environmental problems.
In 1994, Melbourne hosted the OECD-Australia conference on cities and the new global economy. Then Prime Minister Keating spoke to an audience of 750, including two dozen mayors and ministers from OECD and non-member countries alike, in one of the world's largest gatherings on urban policy.
OECD Competition Toolkit. The OECD's "Competition Assessment Toolkit" was inspired by Australia's experience with wide-ranging pro-competitive reforms under its National Competition Policy in the 1990s.
Australia’s 1995 National Competition Policy contributed to a ‘J-curve’ in national wealth. The effort to revise hundreds of competition-restraining laws and regulations had a dramatic effect on Australia's rate of economic growth.
OECD Education Ministers in 1996 (from left): Mrs Marianne Tidick, German Minister for Science, Research and Education Gebard Ziller, German State Secretary, Federal Ministry of Education, Science, Research & Technology and Simon Crean, Australian, Minister of Employment, Education and Training who chaired the meeting. Photo courtesy of the OECD.
Members adopt the OECD Anti-Bribery Convention establishing legally binding standards to criminalise bribery of foreign public officials in international business transactions. It is the first and only international anti-corruption instrument focused on the ‘supply side’ of the bribery transaction.
Also in 1997, Australia held the Pathways to the Future: Indigenous Economic Development Conference.
OECD provides analysis for the UN Millennium Development Goals.
Australian Treasurer, Peter at the OECD Ministerial Council Meeting in 2000. Photo courtesy of the OECD.
International Energy Agency (IEA). In 2006, as Chair of the IEA Governing Board, Australia hosted the first Governing Board meeting in the Asia-Pacific region and a seminar with key Asian senior officials on Asia-Pacific regional issues affecting global energy markets. These meetings were crucial in advancing the IEA’s engagement with China, India, Indonesia and others in the region.
Also in 2006, in partnership with Mission Australia, Macquarie Bank and the Australian Government Department of Family and the Community, the OECD organised an international conference on "Social Innovation in the 21st century", which was held in the Hunter Valley, New South Wales.
'Social innovation' is a key driver for sustainable, smart growth and for social inclusion. Social innovation is about conceptual process or product changes aimed at improving the quality of life of disadvantaged people and communities.
The Internet Economy. On 17-18 June 2008, the OECD Ministerial Meeting on The Future of the Internet Economy took place in recognition of the growing role of the internet in economies and society. The Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy, Stephen Conroy, attended this meeting and signed the Seoul Declaration for the Internet Economy.
Simon Crean, Australian Minister for Trade and OECD Secretary General, Angel Gurría (left) at the 2008 Ministerial Council Meeting. Photo courtesy of the OECD.
OECD 2010 Forum and Ministerial Meeting on Health. Nicola Roxon, Australian Minister for Health and Ageing chaired the Forum session on Quality Care. (Left) John Martin, OECD Director for Employment, Labour & Social Affairs. Photo courtesy of the OECD.
Australian Minister for Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs, Jenny Macklin (left) Vice-Chaired the Social Policy Ministers' Meeting in May 2011. Photo courtesy of the OECD.
OECD 50th Anniversary
Meeting of the OECD Council at Ministerial Level 2011. Photo credit: Jean-Pierre Pouteau/OECD.
A Message from the Prime Minister of Australia, Julia Gillard:
‘I offer my sincere congratulations to the OECD for 50 years of contributing to global growth, cooperation and stability. The OECD has played a key role in promoting values such as economic best practice, trade liberalisation and sustainable development that are vital to the world’s economic future. I wish the OECD continuing success in the years and decades ahead.’
The Honourable Julia Gillard MP
Prime Minister of Australia
What's next for the OECD?
Australia supports the OECD's strengthening cooperation with key emerging and developing countries and with other international economic organisations as part of improving global policy-making.
Australia continues to support the OECD's Enhanced Engagement process, which has developed important links with countries such as China, India, Indonesia, Brazil and South Africa.
In June 2011, the Minister for Broadband Communications and the Digital Economy, Stephen Conroy, briefed a high-level OECD meeting on the Internet Economy on Australia’s National Broadband Network, and Digital Economy Strategy.
This meeting was part of an OECD process aimed at fostering the development of the Internet economy and reaching a consensus on adopting shared principles for an open Internet economy, through the exchange of best practices in the areas of supply, demand, measurement and principles of the open internet.
We know that innovation is a major driver of productivity, but what is the relationship between demand and innovation? How should governments best stimulate demand to encourage innovation?
Over the last few years, Australia chaired a process involving 13 countries which sought to provide a comprehensive overview and mapping of policies that foster demand for innovation.
In May 2011, the OECD released "Demand side Innovation Policies", which provides a thorough analysis of the dynamics between demand and innovation with insight into the rationale and scope for public policies to foster demand for innovation.
E-Government harnesses the power of the internet to improve governance, simplify services, and increase transparency. Australia is a leader in this field.
Ms Ann Steward, Australian Government Chief Information Officer, is Chair of the Network of Senior E-Government Officials in the OECD, which reports to the Public Governance Committee on E-Government.
Australia is also a member of the OECD Virtual Task Force on E-Government Indicators. It most recently contributed to the 2010 OECD Value for Money Survey as well as the 2011 Government at a Glance, in which topical E-Government issues such as Gov2.0 and Mobile Government were highlighted.
The OECD has been working on major issues such as environmental sustainability and economic growth. The OECD's new report "Towards Green Growth" provides recommendations to help governments move towards greener growth, focusing on issues such as green jobs, taxes and regulatory approaches, industrial restructuring and renewal, and green technologies.