The OECD’s Structure
How is the OECD structured and managed? The organisation consists of essentially three poles: its governing Council, committees of specialists, and the Secretariat.
The Council is the highest body of the OECD, entrusted by the Convention to be the body from which all acts of the organisation derive. It provides oversight and strategic direction. The Council is made up of one representative from each member country and the European Commission. It is chaired by the OECD Secretary-General, currently Ángel Gurría of Mexico. The Council mandates the OECD’s work and has final decision-making power. Its meetings usually take place in Room C of the OECD Château de la Muette every month.
The Meeting of the OECD Council at the Ministerial Level (MCM) takes place once a year, around late May or early June. The OECD Forum is held in conjunction with the MCM, comprising part of OECD Week, the biggest OECD event of the year. (photo on the left) The MCM is chaired by one of the member countries, assisted by two or three vice-chair countries. In 2019 Korea is a vice-chair along with Canada, supporting Slovakia as chair.
The OECD bodies are composed of the Council and subsidiary bodies. The latter are categorized into three divisions: standing committees, special bodies, and substantive committees. In the case of substantive committees, the OECD has 36 Level 1 committees. Many of these have sub-committees, designated Level 2, Level 3, or even level 4. The number of committees totals more than 250.
The Council is chaired by the Secretary-General, as mandated by Convention Article 10.2. It is supported mainly by three standing committees: the Executive Committee (Ex Co), the Budget Committee (BC), and the External Relations Committee (ERC). The OECD Secretariat carries out work in response to the Council's mandates. It measures global performance, analyzes data, compares policies, and issues recommendations. The Secretary-General plays a key role in the decision-making process. Mr. Gurría is the fifth Secretary-General of the OECD. He manages the organisation, leads the Secretariat, manages the budget, assists all bodies, and represents the organisation.
The third pole is the committees. More than 250 committees made up of more than 40,000 international experts from around the world exchange information and ideas, and monitor progress in their policy areas.