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close this bookA Comparison of Self-Evaluating State Reporting Systems (International Committee of the Red Cross , 1995, 63 p.)
View the document(introduction...)
View the document3.1 Organization of the OECD
View the document3.2 Reporting mechanisms
View the document3.3 Conclusion

3.1 Organization of the OECD

The main body of the OECD is the Council, assisted by the Executive Committee. In 150 specialized committees, expert groups and working parties, the major pan of the Organization’s work is carried out. There are, moreover, 5 semi-autonomous bodies within the framework of the OECD. These bodies are, as a rule, composed of representatives either from the capitals or from the permanent delegations to the OECD. All these bodies are serviced by the international Secretariat, headed by the Secretary-General of the OECD. This Secretariat forms the major part of the OECD.

Member countries meet every 2 weeks at ambassador level in the Council. Each member country maintains a permanent diplomatic delegation headed by an ambassador. The ambassadors are appointed especially to the OECD; delegations vary in size from 5 diplomats (UK) to more than 60 (Japan).

The Council meets once a year on ministerial level with the Ministers of Economic Affairs and of Foreign Affairs. Once a year there is also a high-level25 meeting on development. Every 2 years there is a high-level meeting on a subject to which a Committee wants to focus the attention of the member States. The Council, which operates on the principle of consensus, produces Decisions (legally binding on member countries) and Recommendations (expressions of political will). Member countries implement the Decisions and Recommendations in their national policies.

25 High-level, because not every country has a separate ministry for development.

There are committees on Economic Policy, on Economic and Development Review, on Development Assistance, on Trade, Capital Movements and Invisible Transactions, and on 20 other subjects.

The delegates to the committees, working parties and expert groups all require statistical and other background papers. The OECD therefore gathers these data and policy information and standardizes them. It makes them available to member countries and to the public in an internationally comparable form. On the basis of these data, suggestions are made for policies in a member country. After a certain period the member country will make an assessment report on the results of the applied policy. Committees do not have official rules of procedure, they have only unofficial working methods, which have developed over the years; their unofficial nature makes the committees very flexible.

Of the semi-autonomous bodies, the Development Centre is the most interesting for the ICRC, since last year it included in its research some observations on landmines, which they had conducted with the help of the ICRC.

The staff of the Secretariat, which uses 2 official languages, French and English, is drawn from all member countries. Traditionally, the upper echelons of the OECD are geographically distributed, but lower down in the organization this is not the case. The Secretariat disseminates and analyses reports. It organizes 4,000 meetings a year to discuss the reports. The Secretariat, based in Paris, consists of 1491 people (829 at the professional level) and has an annual budget of FFR 1,453,006,097 (1992). The Secretariat is divided into ten specialized Directorates, corresponding broadly to the principal committees, which themselves mirror the main departments of national governments.26

26 From the leaflet, OECD in Brief. Further information was obtained from interviews with Mrs. Ballivet, of the Geneva office of the OECD, and from The Annual Report of the OECD 1992.