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Solar present

“We are not in the future. The rest of the world is in the past.” Swiss innovator Bertrand Piccard whose round-the-world flight in a solar-powered plane absorbed the world’s attention and imagination in 2015-16, does not mince words. Piccard proved that solar-powered transport is technically possible. What is needed now are investors and policymakers to help make it happen, not least by providing legal frameworks and cutting back on bureaucracy, he told a packed audience at the Big IdEAs distinguished speaker series, organised by the International Energy Agency and hosted by the OECD in September 2017.

Evidence, persuasion and power: Diplomats in international organisations

Did you know that each of the OECD’s 35 member countries is represented by a mission with full diplomatic status? The size of these OECD delegations varies by country size, but each one has a permanent representative at ambassadorial level, including this author. Together we make up the OECD Council that oversees the work programme set by member countries for the organisation. But our role goes beyond mere representation.  

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OECD wins international publishing award

OECD Publishing, which is the publishing brand and agency of the OECD, has won the 2017 Academic and Professional Publisher Award at the London Book Fair, held at the Olympia in London on 14 March. The award, which is organised in partnership with the Publishers Association, was presented under the International Excellence Awards, with the support of Research Information, a print and online magazine from Europa Science Ltd.

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Trento Centre continues forward

Since 1982 the OECD Programme on Local Economic and Employment Development (LEED) has advised governments and local authorities on how to respond to economic challenges in a fast-changing world. One key initiative in this regard came in 2003 when it set up the Trento Centre for Local Development, with the Italian government and the Autonomous Province of Trento in Italy, with a mission to help build capacity and inform policy actions. So far the Trento Centre has issued more than 127 reviews, studies, guides and manuals; over 21,000 local development policy makers and practitioners have also benefited from Trento Centre capacity development seminars and activities.

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Shimon Peres

Shimon Peres paid a memorable visit to the OECD on 8 March 2013.

A bright mind and an outstanding policymaker: A tribute to José Mariano Gago

With José Mariano Gago, the world has lost a brilliant scientist and an outstanding policymaker. He did not just decisively shape the policy landscape in Portugal; his intellectual rigour, charisma and generosity profoundly influenced the search for better policies in many countries. That is why we were so saddened when we learned that Mariano Gago had passed away on 17 April 2015.

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon rallies OECD support

“2015 is the most crucial year for humanity”. This is how UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon emphasised the need for the UN and the OECD to push for concrete results during the decisive upcoming conferences on development finance, sustainable development goals and climate change. In a keynote speech at the OECD headquarters on 28 April 2015, Ban Ki-moon’s urged the organisation to continue in its endeavour in favour of economic and social stability which bolsters the UN’s mission of achieving worldwide peace. 

Philip Whyte

"On 5 April 2015 we lost our dear friend and colleague, Philip Whyte, 18 months after he was diagnosed with incurable cancer", Simon Tilford of the Centre for European Reform writes. "Born in London on 20 February 1966, Philip spent most of his childhood in France and Britain. After leaving Marlborough College, he attended the Institut d'Etudes Politiques de Paris (Sciences Po), before returning to Britain where he completed undergraduate and postgraduate degrees at the London School of Economics and Political Science. Europe was the focus of his working and personal life. Philip joined the Bank of England in 1990, where he worked on legislation to complete the EU's single market. In 1996, he moved to the Economist Intelligence Unit, where he wrote about the political economy of Western Europe. In 2007, he joined the Centre for European Reform." More...

New appointments

New chief economist and two new deputy secretaries-general join the OECD.

Half a century of OECD membership

Japan gained OECD membership in 1964, the same year it hosted the summer Olympic Games in Tokyo. Its entry into the organisation is significant in three main ways. The first is historical: Japan’s joining the OECD, which followed the signing of the San Francisco Peace Treaty in 1954 and entering GATT in 1955, signalled its successful transformation into a fully industrialised economy. 

Visit by German Chancellor Angela Merkel to the OECD

German Federal Chancellor Angela Merkel visited the OECD on 19 February as part of the Organisation’s Leaders’ Programme. Chancellor Merkel had a bilateral meeting with Secretary-General Angel Gurría to discuss the collaboration between the German Government and the OECD. 

Read Chancellor Merkel's full speech and watch the webcast of the event here

OECD saddened by the passing of Nelson Mandela

It was with a heavy heart and a debt of gratitude that the world was bidding farewell to Nelson Mandela, OECD Secretary-General Angel Gurría said in a statement today. 

“Mr Mandela was a beacon of hope and wisdom in a world where countries all too often are inclined to close in on themselves in times of crisis,” said Mr. Gurria. “Beyond his legacy as a statesman, his role in promoting areas such as education for all was proof of his commitment to inclusiveness among men, women and children across the globe. He set a high bar for integrity and equality and will be sorely missed.”



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John F Kennedy

50 years ago, on 22 November 1963, US President John F Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas, Texas. 

The shockwave of that tragedy rocked the world and still reverberates today. The OECD is a living tribute to his legacy, as this 1963 obituary by the OECD's first secretary-general, Thorkil Kristensen, shows. Read our Focus too

Trading in facts

Getting information and communications “right” has always been a necessary condition for delivering sound policy advice; today, there are many more possibilities to generate and to share evidence-based policy insights, but there are also many more competing messages and messengers. Here are two examples.

President Obama's victory

OECD Secretary-General Angel Gurría has congratulated Barack Obama on his re-election as US president. Mr Gurría said the OECD was proud to have worked with President Obama and his team over the past four years, both on the home front and in international fora such as the G8 and G20 (our photo).

Israel reports progress

Two years after Israel joined the OECD, Sharon Kedmi, Director General at the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Labor, is leading a delegation to an important OECD Employment Labour and Social Affairs Committee meeting on 26 October. He spoke with the OECD Observer.

Japan honours former OECD director

Permanent Representative of Japan to the OECD, Ambassador Motohide Yoshikawa, conferred honours on Roger Charles Harmel, former director of Council and the Executive Committee secretariat at the OECD, at a special ceremony held at the ambassador’s residence on 7 December 2011.

Thomas Bata

Thomas Bata, owner of the global shoe corporation that bears his name, died in Toronto on 1 September, aged 93. A founding father of the Business and Industry Advisory Committee to the OECD (BIAC) in 1962, Mr Bata served as BIAC chairman from 1968-1970, and remained active in the organisation, chairing BIAC’s non-member committee at the time of his death.

Globalisation’s first King

Alex King, a much-admired director of the OECD, passed away on 28 February 2007. He was 98. Now that the OECD has gone “global”, it is worth remembering that Alex King was also the founder, in cooperation with Aurelio Peccei, of the Club of Rome, which first put the spotlight on the crisis of globalisation (notably in a report published in 1972 entitled The Limits to Growth*).

Globalisation focus

“A beacon for globalisation” is how Secretary-General Angel Gurría described the role of the OECD in his address to the Foreign Relations Commission in Rome on 22 February. In this, his first official visit to Italy since becoming secretary-general in 2006, Mr Gurría met with President Giorgio Napolitano and Prime Minister Romano Prodi (on the right in photo), as well as other officials in Rome and Milan. He addressed the Foreign Relations Commission and spoke at a dinner hosted by the Italian minister of foreign affairs. With globalisation and the necessity for reforms as the focus of his talks, Mr Gurría emphasised that “globalisation has not been an inclusive process. We have to produce the instruments to make it so”.