The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) was established in 1961 to promote economic growth and world trade. Founded based on reforms of its predecessor, the Organisation for European Economic Co-operation and Development (OEEC), which was created in 1948, the OECD is made up of 36 member states that are committed to the market economy and democracy.
Most members are developed countries with high-income economies and rank highly on the Human Development Index (HDI). Collectively, OECD member states account for 62% of the world’s nominal gross domestic product (GDP) and about 43% of the global GDP at purchasing power parity (PPP). The OECD Council is responsible for overseeing the organization’s work, as defined in the Convention on the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development.
Following the launching of the European Economic Community (EEC), which occurred in 1957 through the signing of the Treaty of Rome, the OECD Convention was developed based on reforms of the OEEC. In December 1960, the Convention was signed, and the OECD officially superseded the OEEC in September 1961. Founding members of the OECD included the United States (US), Canada, and all European countries that founded the OEEC. In total, there were 20 founding members: Australia, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, France, West Germany, Greece, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, the United Kingdom, and the United States.
Over the next 12 years, a total of four countries were admitted as new OECD member states. Japan officially joined the organization in 1964, followed by Finland (1969), Australia (1971), and New Zealand (1973). Yugoslavia was an observer state of the OECD from the time of the organization's creation until the country was dissolved in 1992.
Admission of Central European Countries
After the Revolution of 1989 that ultimately ended communist rule in Eastern and Central Europe, the OECD began offering assistance to Central European countries help them introduce market economy reforms. In the following year, the organization launched a program named "Partners in Transition" to help Poland, Hungary, and Czechoslovakia. The program led to several countries becoming members of the OECD between 1994 and 2000, including Poland, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Slovakia, Mexico, and South Korea.
In the 1990s, several European Union (EU) member states expressed a desire to join the OECD. In 1996, Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia declared their interest to join the organization by signing a Joint Declaration. Slovenia also applied for admission the same year. In 2003, the organization formed a committee to manage enlargement strategies, which was headed by Seiichiro Noboru, who was Japan's Ambassador to the OECD. The group’s recommendation was presented to the Council on May 13 and 14, 2004, and resulted in the admission of Slovenia, Chile, Estonia, and Israel as members in 2010. Latvia obtained OECD membership in 2016, and Lithuania in 2018.
Becoming a Member of the OECD
To become a member of the OECD, a country must be willing to adhere to the values and mission of the organization, as well as be ready to take on the responsibilities of active members. A country is first required to open an accession process, after which an accession roadmap is developed. The country’s practices and policies are then evaluated and compared with OECD best practices. At this stage, a country is expected to implement a series of measures to align with the OECD. The country must also domestically ratify membership before becoming a member.