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. The 34 OECD Members approved on 19 September a Roadmap to accession for Colombia establishing the process and setting out the terms for Colombia’s future membership. This follows the political decision taken at the OECD Ministerial Meeting in Paris in May.
OECD Secretary-General Angel Gurría said: “Launching talks with Colombia underlines the Organisation’s commitment to broaden its reach and its position as a global standard setter. Our joint objective is to work together to bring Colombia’s policies closer to OECD best practices. This process, through which standards and best practices are adopted to improve the lives of Colombians, is as important as membership itself.”
Colombian officials will now begin to engage with OECD Committees composed of experts drawn from Member countries in areas such as: Investment, Bribery in International Business Transactions, Corporate Governance, Financial Markets, Insurance & Private Pensions, Competition, Tax, Environment, Chemicals, Public Governance, Regulatory Policy, Territorial Development, Statistics, Economics, Education, Employment, Labour & Social Affairs, Health, Trade, Export Credits, Agriculture, Fisheries, Science & Technology, IT & Communications and Consumer Policy.
The first step in the process will see Colombia submit an Initial Memorandum setting out its position on 250 OECD legal instruments (see www.oecd.org/acts). This will in turn lead to a series of technical reviews by OECD experts, who will collect further information from Colombia through questionnaires and fact-finding missions.
As part of the accession process, the OECD will evaluate Colombia’s implementation of the Organisation’s policies, practices and legal instruments. Its Committees may make recommendations for adjustments to legislation, policy or practice to bring Colombia closer to OECD instruments or best practices, serving as a catalyst for reform.
Once the Committees give their green light, a final decision must be taken by all OECD Member countries in the governing Council. Like all major decisions affecting the Organisation, decisions on membership are made on the basis of consensus.
“Joining the OECD is too important a process to rush”, Secretary-General Gurría said. “There is no deadline for completion. It will depend on Colombia’s capacity to adapt and adjust to meet the Organisation’s standards, for the benefit of Colombians”.
Created in 1961 as the successor to the Organisation for European Economic Co-operation, which administered the Marshall Plan at the end of WWII, OECD serves as an economic, environmental and social policy forum for its 34 member countries, as well as partners worldwide, on the world’s most important global challenges.
The OECD’s current members are: Austria, Australia, Belgium, Canada, Chile, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Korea, Luxembourg, Mexico, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovak Republic, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, the United Kingdom and the United States.
The last accession process dates to 2007, when OECD invited five nations to open talks on accession. Chile, Estonia, Israel and Slovenia became full members in 2010 and accession talks with the Russian Federation are on-going.