Israel & OECD

On September 7th 2010, Israel completed its accession process and became the 33rd member country of the organization. Like all members of the Organization, Israel is represented at the OECD by both a Permanent Delegation and visiting delegates. The Permanent Delegation is headed by an Ambassador who leads a team from 3 different Ministries.

The OECD, which was established in its current form in 1961, is an international organization that acts to facilitate reforms and where governments can compare policy experiences, seek answers to common problems, identify good practices, and coordinate domestic and international policies (Bayne, 1987). The mandate of the OECD is broad, ranging from economic and social to environmental issues (Woodward, 2007).  Initially, The OECD evolved from the Organization for European Economic Co-operation (OEEC), which was founded in 1948 to help administer the Marshall Plan for the reconstruction of Europe after World War II (Hahn, 1962). As the Marshall Plan faded, the OEEC focused solely on economic questions. In the 1950s, the OEEC provided the framework for negotiations aimed at determining the conditions for setting up a European Free Trade Area, to bring together the Common Market of the six and the other OEEC members on a multilateral basis.

Over the years to come, the organization has grown and expanded its activities dramatically. Global reach has been an integral part of OECD’s mission from the beginning. Article 1 of the OECD Convention states that members- “should contribute to sound economic expansion in a member as well as non-member countries in the process of economic development.” At that time OECD economies comprised a vast share of the world’s production and trade. But as more countries have embarked on integration into the global economy that share is steadily diminishing. In order to remain an influential voice in the world economy the OECD must strengthen its links with other countries through policy analysis, dialogue and rule-making.

Today, the OECD plays a key role in managing globalization – understanding it, explaining it, analyzing its effects, and making policy recommendations in order to maximize its benefits and to tackle its challenges. This is achieved by various means: peer reviews and surveillance, such as country studies; benchmarking, i.e. the students’ exam- PISA study; and by the negotiation of instruments, such as the Anti-Bribery Convention.

On 27 May 2010 the Ministerial Council of the OECD adopted a resolution to invite Israel to join the organization. This decision was the closing chapter after an intense three-year-long process of negotiations and policy reviews. The above mentioned review process began on 16 of May 2007, when the council approved to open discussions with Chile, Estonia, The Russian Federation, Slovenia and Israel on terms of entry to the organization. This research examines Israel’s accession and the obligations arising from such a review process in one particular case study of policy setting.

Following the Council’s resolution back in 2007, the Secretary-General had set out the terms, conditions and process for the accession of these countries to the OECD. Few days earlier, the Council set up a procedure for future accessions known as a “Roadmap”. According to the Roadmap, the initial requirement for OECD m embership is commitment of the countries to common values and standards, which serve as the foundation of the like-mindedness of OECD members and have been expressed in various OECD Ministerial Communiqués. Accepting these values, along with the established body of OECD legal instruments, standards and benchmarks, is a requirement for membership. Each acceding country was requested to position itself vis-à-vis all the legal substantive instruments adopted within the OECD prior to joining the organization.