Article - International Cooperation

Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD)




The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) is a multilateral organisation which observes and analyses economic policy trends and developments in its member states and around the world. The OECD aims to encourage policies which increase economic and social well-being on the basis of a democratic market economy. To this end, it produces independent analyses and forecasts, as well as country surveys and thematic reports on key economic policy issues. It focuses on the long-term challenges of economic policy. This makes it a central forum for the debate on structural challenges.

The leading OECD publications include working papers on economic policy, the World Economic Outlook, and policy recommendations on the basis of country surveys.

18 June 2018 – Report to the German Bundestag concerning the NCP’s work in 2017: The German National Contact Point (NCP) regularly reports to the German Bundestag, in accordance with the OECD’s expectations regarding the transparency of its work. The NCP has just sent its report for 2017 to the Bundestag. This report covers, inter alia, the re-structuring of the German NCP based at the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy, the examination of its work as part of a so-called Peer Review process as well as its promotional activities and the handling of specific instance procedures. You can find the report here (PDF, 722 KB).

The main economic policy body in the OECD which addresses structural issues is the Economic Policy Committee (EPC). Germany – represented by the Federal Ministry of Economic Affairs and Energy – is one of two vice-chairs of this committee. The Economics Ministry feeds experience and recommendations into the work of the committee, and thus helps to shape the international debate.

The EPC focuses on current macroeconomic and structural policy issues on a cross-border basis. Its work is supported by various thematic sub-groups, e.g. a working group on macroeconomic and structural policy analysis and a working group handling monetary and fiscal policy and balance of payment imbalances.

Also, the Economic Development and Reform Committee (EDRC) regularly produces country surveys on the various OECD member states together with the OECD Secretariat. These surveys are designed to analyse specific economic challenges individual countries are having to confront and set out policy recommendations as to how to address these challenges.

Both working groups maintain an intensive dialogue on current challenges and best practices in economic policy. The OECD and its working groups are engaged in close dialogue with international partners (e.g. the emerging economies) and the social partners.

The Tourism Committee, in which Germany is represented by the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy, is where members exchange information, opinions and best practices relating to their tourism policies. Findings from other OECD activities, such as research into climate change, green growth, sustainability, arts and culture, deregulation, safe traveling and infrastructure, are also fed into the work. The committee has made the link between transport and tourism and the sharing/collaborative economy a new focus of their work.

The most important tasks of the Tourism Committee include:

  • maximizing the positive effects of tourism on economic and social areas and on the environment;
  • promoting sustainable tourism development as the basis for economic growth, job creation and combating poverty;
  • enhancing infrastructure and the images of destinations in the interest of local populations, tourists and investors;
  • supporting OECD countries in creating better conditions for tourism.

Affiliated with the Tourism Committee, the OECD Working Party on Statistics has been doing trendsetting work for many years. The Working Party has worked with EUROSTAND and the World Tourism Organization and developed a method for creating a system of tourism satellite accounts (TSA), which is being used by countries across the world. This method can be used to establish the extent to which tourism – an industry that cuts across various different sectors – generates GDP and employment in a given country.

Digitisation is one of the areas where the OECD is acting as an important partner for the G20. The Committee on Digital Economy Policy (CDEP) and its working groups are mainly tasked with developing reports and studies on digital policy. The focus here is on digitisation in industry and society, broadband infrastructure, mobile communications, cyber security and confidence and trust in the digital economy, and on mapping and analysing the digital industry. At present, the OECD also coordinates a large horizontal OECD project on digitisation.

More information about digital policy within the OECD can be found here.

Market liberalisation, lower transaction costs and increasingly powerful communications networks have made it much easier for companies to invest in other countries. Many companies invest locally to secure orders and to be close to the markets they are developing. The German economy also benefits from this thanks to its traditional strength in exports and to the investments by German firms in other countries. At the same time, these investments are also to “contribute to economic, environmental and social progress with a view to achieving sustainable development”, especially in developing countries.

To this end, and in response to greater public interest in the matter over the past few decades, the OECD has systematically extended its work on Corporate Social Responsibility or responsible business conduct. In 1976, the OECD Member States adopted the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises. Since then, the Guidelines have been revised several times and their scope widened. They are aimed at any company that conducts business in a participating country and set out important recommendations on labour and environmental standards and on how to avoid any violations of human rights. A system of National Contact Points (NCPs) has been created to raise awareness of the Guidelines and to act as a forum for complaints about violations of the Guidelines. The German NCP is based in the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy (BMWi). More information about the NCPs and the Guidelines can be found here.

National Action Plan for Business and Human Rights

On 20 December 2016, the Federal Cabinet also adopted the National Action Plan for Business and Human Rights (NAP), which implements the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights at national level.
By 2020 at least 50% of all companies based in Germany with over 500 employees are to have integrated the elements of human rights due diligence described in the NAP into their business processes. They are to develop procedures designed to identify adverse effects of their international activities on human rights and to take measures to prevent them. The development of the NAP will be tracked by means of a monitoring exercise.

For more information on NAP, please click here (in German).

Further information