The activities of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) in 2010-2011
| Doc. 12745
| 04 October 2011
- (Former) Committee on the Environment, Agriculture and Local and Regional Affairs
- Rapporteur :
- Mr Dimitrios PAPADIMOULIS,
- Reference to committee: Standing
mandate. Reporting committee: Committee on Economic Affairs and Development.
See Doc. 12683.
Contribution approved by the committee on 4 October 2011. 2011 - Fourth part-session
1 The Committee on the Environment, Agriculture and
Local and Regional Affairs congratulates the Organisation for Economic
Co-operation and Development (OECD) on its 50th anniversary and
welcomes the new strategies developed by this organisation for building
stable long-term growth in the world.
2 The committee fully supports the report prepared by the Committee
on Economic Affairs and Development and congratulates the rapporteur,
Ms Birutė Vėsaitė, on her excellent work. In particular, the committee
welcomes the emphasis in the report on environmentally sustainable
and socially balanced growth and the “Green Growth Strategy” launched
by the OECD in May 2011.
3 The committee also wishes to highlight and support the achievements
of the OECD in other areas related to its work, such as agriculture,
water governance, regional innovation and nanotechnologies.
2 Explanatory memorandum by Mr Papadimoulis,
rapporteur for opinion
4 The rapporteur has rightly underlined, in part IV
of the report, new initiatives by the OECD that will enable more
environmentally sustainable and socially balanced growth.
2.1 Green Growth
5 The Green Growth Strategy was delivered at the Ministerial
Council Meeting in May 2011 and launched a long-term process of
mainstreaming the OECD’s green growth analytical work to enrich
guidance on a number of country, sector and specific issues. This
Strategy will help member states to expand economic growth and encourage
job creation through sustainable use of natural resources, efficiencies
in energy use and the valuation of ecosystem services.
6 The Green Growth Strategy is an excellent tool for achieving
sustainable development. It should create the necessary conditions
for developing new technologies and attracting more investment to
new sources of economic growth, which will be ecologically friendly.
The Strategy provides both political recommendations to make economic
growth “greener”, and a set of indicators to monitor progress towards
7 The OECD’s document “Towards green growth: A summary for policy
makers” (May 2011), which synthesises the key elements and messages
of main green growth reports, is a very good aid for politicians
on how to streamline the principles of green growth in national
policies. The committee encourages all members of the Assembly to
familiarise themselves with this important publication.
8 The development of a Green Growth Strategy will require investment
in infrastructure networks, especially in areas such as energy,
water, transport and communication. It could improve economic growth
and bring social and health benefits. The committee strongly supports
the priorities given by the OECD to the sector-specific studies
on the implications of green growth for such areas as food and agriculture,
the energy sector, water and biodiversity.
9 A high degree of co-ordination at local, ministerial, governmental
and international levels is vital for the identification of necessary
policies for the implementation of green growth. A very important
aspect of the green growth agenda would be to find ways of measuring
progress, which is vital for analysing policies and developing political
10 The committee considers that the Council of Europe should
also join the new global knowledge platform for fostering green
growth, which aims to bring together proponents of sustainable development
to promote and implement green growth policies by exchanging knowledge,
information and experience. The rapporteur is convinced that respect
for human rights should be at the centre of the development of these
2.2 Agriculture and fisheries
11 The OECD publication, “A Green Growth Strategy for
Food and Agriculture”, pointed out that farming and fisheries are
particularly vulnerable to climate change and will need to adapt
to shifting temperature and rainfall patterns, rising sea levels
and extreme weather conditions. Farming policy is facing major challenges with
the rise of the world’s population by a third by 2050. Governments
should take measures to increase productivity in a sustainable way,
using resources more efficiently and phasing out environmentally
harmful subsidies. It is also important to establish well-defined
property rights on marine resources, land and forests.
12 These conclusions are reinforced in the OECD-FAO Agricultural
Outlook 2011-2020, issued in June 2011. To prevent food shortages
in developing countries, actions are needed to increase investments
and productivity in agriculture and to place more emphasis on improving
productivity growth and ensuring sustainable resource management.
13 In this context, the OECD highlights the need for further
work on the role of agricultural policies in developing countries,
including the management of risk and uncertainty, the need for ensuring
environmental and resource sustainability, infrastructural needs,
and ways of targeting policies to benefit poor populations.
14 Extensive work has been done by the OECD in the framework
of the Horizontal Programme on Water to improve water management.
The OECD focuses its efforts on policy and institutional responses,
pricing, financing, infrastructure and sustainable management of
water resources. In 2010, it released three major publications on
water: “Pricing Water Resources and Water and Sanitation Services”,
“Sustainable Management of Water Resources in Agriculture” and “Innovative
Financing Mechanisms for the Water Sector”. These publications give
guidelines for governments on innovative mechanisms of water management.
The OECD also considers the important link between water and climate
change adaptation, including the role of agriculture. In 2011, the
work of the OECD in this area is focussing on the development of
guidelines for sustainable water governance mechanisms and aims
to provide for an institutional mapping of roles and responsibilities
in water policymaking at national, regional and local levels.
15 The committee also welcomes the partnership established with
the OECD in the framework of the preparation of the 6th World Water
Forum (Marseilles, March 2012), in particular active participation
by the OECD representatives in the Preparatory Conference of the
Parliamentary Process at the 6th World Water Forum, which was held
in the Council of Europe in Strasbourg, on 10 June 2011 and encourages
both organisations to continue co-operation in this field.
16 The OECD is playing a co-ordinating role in international
efforts on the development and use of nanotechnology. It has established
two working parties to look at specific aspects of nanotechnologies.
The Working Party on Manufactured Nanomaterials (WPMN), established
in September 2006, is tasked to explore the implications for the
safety of human health and the environment of the use of nanomaterials.
Its work will lead towards internationally agreed standards for
testing nanomaterials and methods for addressing risk assessment.
17 The OECD’s Working Party on Nanotechnology (WPN), was established
in March 2007 to advise on emerging policy issues regarding science,
technology and innovation related to the responsible development of
nanotechnologies. The WPN aims to develop a better shared understanding
of the potential challenges and opportunities of nanotechnologies
to support their responsible development.
18 The OECD and the US Environmental Protection Agency are undertaking
work in developing standard protocols for toxicology testing of
nanoparticles. This work should be built on, along with the guidelines
for particle toxicology that already exist.
19 The committee will acknowledge the work done by the OECD on
nanotechnologies in a future report on “Nanotechnologies, a new
danger to the environment”, which is under preparation by a member
of the committee, Mr Valeriy Sudarenkov.
2.5 Regional, rural and urban development
20 The financial crisis posed new challenges to regions
and to regional development policies. It has strongly affected rural
areas and regions in Europe, where more people lost jobs than in
cities and their well- being decreased significantly. To help governments
to take advantage of the economic potential of all regions, the OECD
issued “Regions at a Glance”, a publication which provides regionally
and nationally comparative statistics on factors which affect the
economy and people’s quality of life. The committee welcomes the complementary
nature of the work and exchanges between the OECD Network and the
Council of Europe intergovernmental work on local and regional democracy.
21 The activities of the OECD LEED Trento Centre for Local Development
contribute greatly to capacity building for local development. More
than 7 000 policymakers and practitioners have benefited from different seminars,
workshops and conferences organised by this centre using peer-to-peer
learning methods. The broad research community is involved in studies
undertaken by the Trento Centre to promote knowledge of and comparison
for local development and employment policies and strategies.
22 Finally, in the framework of Green Growth Strategy, the OECD
has launched a programme on Green Cities to assess how urban green
growth and sustainability policies can contribute to improving the
economic performance and environmental quality of metropolitan areas.
This programme will include the elaboration of case studies of cities
and indicators of economic performance and environmental quality,
and will produce a comparative report that identifies best practices
to help make cities dynamic engines of green growth in local and
23 Acknowledging the long-lasting and mutually beneficial
working relationship established between the Committee on the Environment,
Agriculture and Local and Regional Affairs and the OECD, the committee wishes
the Assembly to continue supporting the initiatives of the OECD
in areas related to the committee’s work, paying special attention
to the new Green Growth Strategy and contributing to its promotion
at the parliamentary level in the Council of Europe member states.
24 The committee also invites the OECD to continue co-operation
in the preparations for the 6th World Water Forum and encourages
the organisation to take part in the transversal conference on climate
change and human rights which will be organised in the Council of
Europe in autumn 2012 on the initiative of the committee.
This conference will aim to advance the parliamentary proposal
to draft an additional protocol to the European Convention on Human
Rights (ETS No. 5) concerning the right to a healthy and viable
environment (Assembly Recommendation
), as part of a global process to advance
this issue within the United Nations system by the Office of the
High Commissioner for Human Rights and the Human Rights Council.
In more general terms, it will help to set a global change towards
a low carbon society and eco-friendly lifestyles, by drawing attention
to necessary changes in societal values and raising awareness about
the protection of the environment, protection of human health; social
cohesion, welfare and equity; educational needs, especially of young
generations; cultural and natural heritage.
26 The enlarged Assembly welcomes the long lasting co-operation
between the Council of Europe and the OECD including most recently
in researching and addressing the challenges posed by the financial
crisis to local and regional governments as well as to development
The Parliamentary Assembly notes with satisfaction that the
OECD Secretary General, Mr Angel Gurría, is invited to take an active
part in the 17th session of the Council of Europe Conference of
European Ministers for Local and Regional Governments, which will
be organised in Kiev, Ukraine, on 3 and 4 November 2011. This conference
will aim to present the financial and economic developments as well
as policy responses by member states to the impact of the economic
crisis on local government, in light of the Utrecht Declaration
and guidelines adopted by the Ministerial Conference in 2009. It
will address the urgent need for robust improvements in governance
and in the management of public expenditure, for increasing efficiency
across the whole of the public sector and for greater collaboration
between all stakeholders, in compliance with the European Charter
of Local Self-Government (ETS No. 122). The ministers will highlight
the importance of sound local finance systems in the context of
the economic downturn, adopting and committing themselves to an
updated set of guidelines for their national policies, complementing
the two recommendations of the Committee of Ministers in the field
of local finance, namely Recommendations Rec(2004)1Note
4 Contribution to the draft resolution proposed
by the committee
28 The enlarged Assembly welcomes the co-operation between
its Committee on the Environment, Agriculture and Local and Regional
Affairs and the OECD in the preparation of the 6th World Water Forum
and looks forward to the OECD’s participation in the transversal
conference on climate change and human rights, which will be organised
in the Council of Europe in autumn 2012.
29 The enlarged Assembly welcomes the long lasting co-operation
between the Council of Europe and the OECD including in research
and on addressing the challenges posed by the financial crisis to
local and regional governments. It notes with satisfaction that
the OECD Secretary General, Mr Angel Gurría, is invited to take
an active part in the 17th session of the Council of Europe Conference
of European Ministers for Local and Regional Governments, which
will be organised in Kiev, Ukraine, on 3 and 4 November 2011.