This site uses cookies to provide a better experience. Continuing navigation accept the use of cookies by us OK




The OECD was established with the Convention on the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, signed in Paris on 14 December 1960. It replaced the Organization for European Economic Cooperation (OEEC), which was established in 1948 to administer the US-financed Marshall Plan for reconstructing European economic systems after World War II. The OECD was officially born on 30 September 1961, when the Convention entered into force.

The OECD aims at promoting policies for:

  • attaining the highest sustainable economic growth and employment rates for its Member Countries, while fostering investment and competitiveness and ensuring financial stability;
  • contributing to the development of non-member Countries;
  • fostering the expansion of global trade on a non-discriminatory base, in line with international commitments.

The OECD is based in Paris and counts 37 Member countries who share the principles of democracy and free market (Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Japan, Greece, Ireland, Iceland, Israel, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Mexico, Norway, New Zealand, The Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, the Czech Republic, the Republic of Korea, the Republic of Slovakia, the United Kingdom, Slovenia, Spain, the United States, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, Hungary). The Organization maintains relations with a number of non-member countries and International Organizations.

The OECD is financed mainly by the Member States, through the payment of assessed contributions to the budget. These contributions include a base fee, equal to 30% of the total budget, equally shared among Members, as well as a principal contribution based on a scale reflecting the relative size of the Member country’s economy (GNP). In 2020, the United States, with 20.6% of the compulsory contributions, was the main contributing country, followed by Japan with 9.4%; Italy is sixth with 4%. The budgetary resources of the Organisation are supplemented by voluntary contributions, provided by both Member countries and non Members (public as well as non public institutions).

Organisational structure

The General Secretary manages the Organization and the budget and represents the Organization. He is the head of the Secretariat, appoints and directs the staff of the Organization. Since June 1, 2006, this post has been held by the Mexican Angel Gurría, who started his third five-year term in 2016. The General Secretary is assisted by the Deputy General Secretaries.

The decision-making body of the OECD is the Council, which has the task of defining the Organization's activities, discussing and deciding on the main policy issues, adopting binding decisions and recommendations. Chaired by the Secretary General, the Council is composed of Permanent Representatives of the Member States and the European Commission and generally meets once a month. Once a year it is convened at ministerial level and, on that occasion, is chaired by a Member State. Italy was chair in 2010 and vice-chair in 2009. In 2019 the Slovak Republic has served as chair, with Canada and Korea as vice chairs. The Council takes decisions by consensus.

In addition to the Council, the organizational structure includes:

  • three Standing Committees: the Executive Committee (composed of the Permanent Deputy Representatives), the External Relations Committee and the Budget Committee;
  • three Special Bodies established by the Council: Evaluation Committee, Audit Committee and Pension Budget and Reserve Fund Management Board;
  • over 300 committees, i.e. first level bodies, and second level bodies (working groups, expert groups, task forces and forums).
  • the Departments, that work with policy makers and shapers in each country, providing insights and expertise to help guide policy making based on evidence in close coordination with committees and subsidiary bodies.

Special Bodies are the Development Center, the International Energy Agency (IEA), the Nuclear Energy Agency (NEA) and the International Transport Forum (ITF) about which more detailed information can be found on the appropriate sections of this website.

Special Entities
There are some Entities whose Secretariat is hosted by the OECD, which conduct activities independently from / or together with the OECD: the International Financial Action Group (FATF), the Sahel and Africa Club Western, the Partnership in Statistics for Development in the 21st Century (PARIS 21), and the Multilateral Organization Performance Assessment Network (MOPAN).

Entities outside the headquarters of Paris
The OECD is represented outside of Paris by Centres in Berlin, Mexico City, Tokyo, and Washington. The Centres serve as regional contacts for the full range of OECD activities, from the sales of publications, to inquiries from the media, to liaison with governments, parliaments, business, labour and civil society. They help disseminate information regarding OECD activities, and serve to communicate priorities from member countries' capitals to OECD headquarters. Additionally, local offices have been established in Beijing, Moscow and Jakarta to facilitate the collaboration of the respective countries with the Organization. Other entities were created outside of Paris on the basis of bilateral or multilateral agreements to fulfill specific purposes, for example to undertake technical co-operation or training as it is the case of the OECD LEED Center (Local Economic and Employment Development) in Trento (Italy).

Engagement with civil society
The OECD recognizes the valuable contribution of civil society to public life and its views are brought in as part of OECD conferences, consultations and committee discussions. For this purpose there are two consultative bodies, the BIAC (Business at OECD), which represents the business community, and the TUAC (Trade Union Advisory Committee) which is composed of labour representatives.