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Reply to the report on the activities of OECD in 1987

Resolution 907 (1988)

Parliamentary Assembly
Assembly debate D 5 October 1988 (12th Sitting) (see Doc. 5923, report of OECD ; Doc. 5942, report of the Committee on Economic Affairs and Development, Rapporteur : Mr Blenk ; Doc. 5947Doc. 5947, opinion of the Committee on Science and Technology, Rapporteur : Mrs Fischer ; Doc. 5955, opinion of the Committee on the Environment, Regional Planning and Local Authorities, Rapporteur : Mr Thompson ; Doc. 5941, opinion of the Committee on Migration, Refugees and Demography, Rapporteur :Mr Grussenmeyer ; and Doc. 5928, opinion of the Committee on Agriculture, Rapporteur : Dame Peggy Fenner). Text adopted by the Assembly on 5 October 1988 (12th Sitting).

The Assembly,

1. Having regard to the report on the activities of OECD in 1987 (Doc. 5923) and the reply thereto presented by its Committee on Economic Affairs and Development (Doc. 5942) and the opinions of its Committee on Science and Technology (Doc. 5947), its Committee on the Environment, Regional Planning and Local Authorities (Doc. 5955), its Committee on Migration, Refugees and Demography(Doc. 5941) and its Committee on Agriculture(Doc. 5928) ;
A. Economic policies and co-operation in related fields
2. Stressing the important role of OECD in providing its members with conceptual frameworks for their economic policies, in particular with regard to the shaping of structural adjustment policies necessary to generate greater potential for economic growth and employment ;
3. Reiterating its concern at the continuing strong imbalances in the current accounts of the major OECD countries and the inherent threats of monetary instability and resurgent protectionism ;
4. Noting with interest recent progress towards the conclusion of the Canada-United States free trade agreement and the completion of a European single market, as well as the strengthening of co-operation between the European Community and EFTA, and stressing that these developments should in no way lead to discriminatory policies with regard to third parties, both within and outside the OECD area, and impede a further liberalisation of trade in goods and services at global level, notably within the framework of the Uruguay Round of multilateral trade negotiations ;
5. Reaffirming its strong political commitment to a genuine liberalisation of the multilateral trading system in all areas ;
6. Reiterating its concern at the persisting and unacceptable high levels of unemployment in most OECD countries, especially in Europe, and their apparent incapability to significantly reduce these levels in the short term, and stressing the need for additional short-term measures to integrate the unemployed -especially the long-term unemployed -in the labour market by the adoption of special programmes in the field of training and education, and any other measures designed to facilitate such integration ;
7. Welcoming in this connection OECD's policy recommendations on structural adjustment, the maintenance of an open, multilateral trading system, and the liberalisation of the international movement of capital and invisible transactions, the implementation of which will contribute to better overall economic performance and, hence, employment creation,
8. Calls on OECD member countries :
8.1 in particular those countries with a positive balance of payments, notably the countries of the European Community whose economic performance exceeds their domestic needs, to achieve a higher growth rate than at present in the interests of reducing unemployment, though one compatible with the protection of the environment ;
8.2 to adopt policies to improve the difficult conditions in which a growing number of workers are now living, and to return to an incomes policy aimed not only at reducing working hours, in order to curb inflation, but also at increasing the number of jobs ;
8.3 to adopt structural policies to improve the efficiency of the public sector and to direct productiontowards the development of energy-saving technology and non-renewable raw materials ;
8.4 to resist protectionist pressures, to dismantle unilateral measures or bilateral agreements of a protectionist or discriminatory nature, and to further promote an open, international trading system by adopting constructive attitudes in the current multilateral trade negotiations and, especially at mid-term at the GATT Ministerial meeting in Montreal in December 1988, to strive to achieve tangible progress in the negotiations, including agreements for early implementation ;
8.5 to take account of the Madrid Appeal on North-South interdependence and solidarity in the shaping of their development co-operation policies, in particular by ensuring open markets for the exports of these countries, extending to them technological co-operation, increasing aid levels to the United Nations' target of 0,7% within an agreed time period and helping to reduce considerably the debt burden of the poorest and most heavily indebted countries ;
8.6 to work for greater monetary stability by reducing sharp imbalances in their current accounts and by strengthening trade and monetary co-operation within the appropriate forums ;
8.7 to take steps to protect their economies from a resurgence of inflation ;
9. Invites OECD :
9.1 to further strengthen its role in international co-operation with respect to macro-economic policies and the implementation of its new ministerial mandate for surveillance of structural policies ;
9.2 to continue providing and deepen the necessary analysis and guidance in the required future structure of its members' social security systems, so as to enable governments to anticipate the impact on these systems of future changes in population structures ;
9.3 contribute to the success of the current multilateral trade negotiations (Uruguay Round) by fostering consensus among its members on the need to liberalise trade in manufactures, agricultural products and services, while paying special attention to the needs of developing countries ;
9.4 to play a more important role in co-ordinating and improving the development assistance of its members, and in promoting the adoption of more constructive policies by its members vis-à-vis developing countries, taking into account the Madrid Appeal on North-South interdependence and solidarity ;
9.5 to provide leadership in co-ordinating policies in its member countries that will help reduce or arrest the environmental damage being done to their economies through the greenhouse effect, the deterioration of the ozone layer and the careless disposal of toxic wastes, and to increase awareness of the inextricable link between the environment, the economy and human health ;
9.6 to continue in particular investigating the environmental impact of development aid programmes, and also ensure that this investigation is followed up when such projects are carried out, so as to help restore, protect and improve the ecological basis necessary for sustainable development ;
B. Agriculture
10. Regretting the continuing tensions among OECD countries over food trade ;
11. Recognising that the current situation of improved commodity prices and reduced stock levels, essentially resulting from the drought in North America, may be of a cyclical nature, and that it should not deter OECD member countries from continuing, as a matter of priority, with the process of agricultural reform ;
12. Considering that frictions in this area -although directly provoked by accusations of protectionism, subsidised exports or ‘‘dumping'' -almost invariably have their roots in domestic policies that stimulate excessive production ;
13. Welcoming the renewed recommendation by the Ministerial Council of OECD that ‘‘(agricultural) policy reform efforts be strengthened by all member states as a matter of urgency'', based on the detailed provisions agreed upon in 1987 ;
14. Recognising the widely differing standpoints among OECD countries as regards the level and type of protection considered appropriate for their respective agricultural sectors, and the difficulties many rural communities would face if subjected to the full onslaught of world market forces ;
15. Believing that the inclusion of agriculture in the current Uruguay Round of GATT negotiations is a unique first opportunity for the world community to tackle jointly the problems in agricultural trade,
16. Urges the governments of the member countries of OECD to observe the following principles when approaching the final stages of the Uruguay Round :
16.1 to avoid -even in instances where they wish to provide a certain protection of their agriculture -policies which lead to over-production and, subsequently, subsidised exports or dumping on world markets, seeing the friction that such policies cause within the OECD area and the harm they may do to the efforts of Third World countries to develop their own domestic agriculture ;
16.2 to move away from excessive reliance on price support and similar measures stimulating production, to increase market access progressively and to move towards a greater role for income support to farmers, for instance in recognition of the latter's vital role as guardians of the environment ;
16.3 to engage in the closest possible co-operation within GATT and OECD when undertaking reform, so as to avoid a temptation for some to undercut the efforts of others ;
16.4 to encourage, for the purposes of reducing food production, less intensive farming methods using, for instance, less fertiliser and pesticides, and to consider the transformation of certain land into woods, hedges, ponds, etc., which can serve as habitats for flora and fauna, and as areas for tourism and leisure activities ;
16.5 to realise as a matter of urgency agriculture's considerable alternative potential to supply the chemical, textile, packaging, pharmaceutical and other industries with raw materials, and to produce energy not only for its own needs but also, in part, to help cover those of society as a whole ;
16.6 always to allow agriculture to be capable of increasing its food production if so required, for instance to counter world population growth and current environmental dangers such as soil erosion, the spread of deserts and the destruction of tropical forests ;
16.7 to intensify efforts to liberalise trade also in fish and fish products, thus benefiting not only consumers, by offering them a wider choice at affordable prices, but also the large majority of fishermen, who gain access to a larger market ;
17. Invites OECD to identify viable alternative activities in the area of rural development, in order to lessen dependence on traditional forms of agriculture ;
C. Culture and education
18. . Welcoming OECD's favourable reception to its Resolution 884 (1987) and, in particular, to the invitation to co-operate with the Assembly Committee on Culture and Education and the Standing Conference on University Problems in a joint university-financing exercise,
19. 19. Invites OECD :
19.1 to consider the possibility of co-operation between its Centre for Educational Research and Innovation (CERI) and the Council for Cultural Co-operation (CDCC) in the context of their respective activities on ‘‘Education and cultural and linguistic pluralism'' (CERI Project No. 6) and ‘‘The education and cultural development of migrants'' (follow-up to the CDCC project completed in 1987) ;
19.2 to consider setting up, together with other international organisations concerned, such as Unesco, the Nordic Council, the European Community and the Council of Europe, a data bank on the organisations' work in the fields of culture and education ;
D. Migration
20. Welcoming the interest taken by OECD in migration and particularly in the problems associated with undeclared migration, the demographic aspects of migration and the integration of specific migrant groups, and in multilateral and bilateral co-operation between European host countries and European countries of origin ;
21. Commending the work performed by the Continuous Reporting System on Migration (SOPEMI), whose annual reports are a vital aid to those in charge of national immigration policies, and underlining the necessity to standardise the scientific methods of the national correspondents and to increase registration and publication of relevant data ;
22. Noting with satisfaction the interest taken in multicultural education by the OECD Centre for Educational Research and Innovation ;
23. Realising the complementary nature of OECD and Council of Europe activities on migration,
24. Invites OECD :
24.1 to foster co-operation and exchange of information between its Working Party on Migration and the European Committee on Migration (CDMG) of the Council of Europe ;
24.2 to develop the information available to parliamentarians and local and regional representatives concerning its activities on migration ;
24.3 to investigate further the correlation between school-leaving conditions and integration into working life where young migrants are concerned ;
25. Invites OECD member countries to take full account of the organisation's work when framing their immigration policies ;
E. Environment
26. Referring to the recommendations already made in Resolution 884 (1987) on the grave problem of soil pollution, reiterates its wish that the OECD authorities should be actively involved in the study of these issues and, in particular, examine the various effects of pollution caused by industry and intensive agriculture ;
27. Invites OECD to pay special attention to methods for the reduction of industrial and domestic waste, and especially to highlight means of limiting at source the production of these wastes ;
28. Being alarmed both by the scale and by the dangers of international transport of hazardous wastes, believes that the OECD authorities should give very high priority to the examination of this complex problem ;
29. Wishes in particular to see work on the strict regulation and control of such transfrontier and intercontinental movements of hazardous wastes through an international convention speeded up and, as appropriate, carried out in two stages : first, a European convention and, secondly, a world convention, thus making it possible to associate world organisations such as the United Nations Environment Programme as well as the developing countries in the effort to control and limit such transport ;
30. Being also concerned by the constant increase in noise pollution and its damaging effects on human health, invites OECD to examine in greater depth practical ways of reducing noise, especially that caused by road vehicles, aircraft and construction equipment ;
31. Finally, wishes OECD to continue and intensify its thinking on the relationship between agriculture and the environment, and on the basis for a new type of agriculture more in harmony with its surroundings, able to act as the guardian and promoter of the rural world and to bring about integrated rural development as advocated by the OECD Council at ministerial level as long ago as 1987.