Big news. Last week, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) – the so-called “rich man’s club” of developed countries – adopted a new Development Strategy (pdf) for partnering with developing countries. The multilateral organization, founded as part of the post-World War II Marshall Plan, took this significant step in fulfillment of a commitment made a year ago under Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s chairmanship of the OECD 50th anniversary Ministerial. Last year, OECD members adopted a new vision statement committing the organization to look outward and engage with the developing world.
After a good deal of heavy lifting, the new strategy advances the Obama Administration’s policy on global development and will increase the efficiency of U.S. aid funding.
We’re particularly excited because the Strategy will leverage for developing countries the OECD’s knowledge, resources and storehouse of economic policy best practices in areas such as tax, investment, economic growth, anti-corruption, and good governance. Non-members such as Ghana and Malawi will be partners in the effort working with the OECD’s Development Assistance Committee and Development Centre.
In this era of shrinking foreign aid budgets, the U.S. supports the new Development Strategy as a means of working smarter through better, more strategic collaboration, both across the OECD and with outside partners. Development assistance, no longer the major flow of resources to the developing world, is increasingly catalyzing other forms of finance and technology. In this way, the Strategy is building on the achievements of Busan High Level Forum and the New Global Partnership for Effective Development Cooperation, emphasizing a more diverse range of partners and a more targeted focus on transparency, results and accountability.
Of course, there is still much to be done. Pilot projects will test the organization’s ability to work across expert areas in a useful partnership, set ambitious targets and metrics, and track progress through rigorous evaluation. It is certainly a big step in re-orienting the OECD’s business practices to improve the challenges and opportunities of today’s economic development.