OECD Observer
The Friday fish
A weekly catch from behind the headlines on oecd.org

No 12: Anti-bribery group seeks new chair; Global forum on competition; Unhealthy trends; Development aid flows; Toughening up farming; -and relieving trade constraints in developing countries; Governomics; Fossil fuel subsidies: billions up in smoke? 

Anti-bribery group seeks new chair

Deadline: 28 February. The OECD Working Group on Bribery in International Business Transactions (WGB) monitors implementation of the 1997 Convention on Combating Bribery of Foreign Public Officials in International Business Transactions. The Anti-Bribery Convention is the only legally binding instrument globally to focus solely on the supply of bribes to foreign public officials. The Working Group is now seeking a dynamic individual from one of its member countries to become its new chair and to lead the body in its week-long, quarterly meetings (March, June, October and December). Read on for more on this important role in the global fight against bribery.

Global forum on competition

The countdown is full on for the annual Global Forum on Competition, 28 February-1 March. By invitation only and restricted to government representatives or selected guests, some 90 competition authorities participate in the event. Regional and international organisations also attend, such as the World Bank, UNCTAD, and the WTO, as do business, labour and civil society groups. See the website for more information.

Unhealthy trends

As growth in health spending grinds to halt or falls in some countries, which sectors and countries have been most affected? This paper by David Morgan and Roberto Astolfi examines the main trends.

Development aid flows

This report maps out the geography, amount and type of aid flows to 150 countries.

Toughening up farming

Farmers are often given to complaining, but they have a point. From diseases affecting animals and crops to climate change and erosion, not to mention price swings, they face uncertainties, risks and shifts in circumstances that are not for the faint hearted. In developing countries the challenges are particularly grim. With pressures building to improve food security and stem a rural exodus, can global farming be made more resilient? Experts from the Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO) and the OECD gave their insights at a workshop in April 2012.

–and relieving trade constraints in developing countries

Uncertainty is not the only constraint poor farmers face. Frequently the only barrier between them and trade (as well as income) is transport. Agricultural exports from developing countries are highly responsive to the quality of transport and trade-related infrastructure, and trade could get a major boost by addressing these issues. This is just one of the aspects examined in this report on supply-side constraints to growth in agricultural trade in developing countries.


Government purchases of goods and services, from catering and computer providers to major healthcare or infrastructural building, forms a large part of economic activity: public procurement represents between 13% and 20% of GDP on average worldwide. These papers at an OECD workshop provide some insights. One major challenge is how to "green" procurement, particularly as most OECD countries see higher prices from environmental criteria as a barrier.

Fossil fuel subsidies: billions up in smoke?

Lack of information regarding the amount and type of support measures in place makes it difficult for governments from all countries to design and apply policies. This "Inventory of Estimated Budgetary Support and Tax Expenditures for Fossil Fuels 2013" will help shine a light.

The Friday fish #12 ©OECD Observer, 15 February 2013