Forging Ahead: On the OECD, Latvia and looking forward

Banner image: OECD / Victor Tonelli

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We mark the 60th anniversary of OECD at a very auspicious time. Objectivity, openness, integrity, audacity and a pioneering spirit: by adhering to these, our fundamental values, the OECD’s goal of “better policies for better lives” will be integral to rebuild after a devastating world pandemic. As the motto goes, through those better policies that would create better lives, the OECD still continues to be a laboratory and a launching pad for smart economic policies to facilitate peaceful co-operation and real human security.

Find out more about the OECD's 60th anniversary

The OECD is an incubator for best practices and standards for the world economy. Membership of the OECD was Latvia’s ambition for 20 years — but the membership itself was never the sole aim. Back then, our goal was to join a group of like-minded nations that were convinced that broader co-operation makes a vital contribution to peaceful and harmonious relations among the peoples of the world, as expressed in the OECD Convention. This remains the case today.

Sometimes called the “global think tank” — bringing together specialists not only on economics but also on development, social affairs, education and the environment — the OECD has made solid contributions to the international agendas of the day. But I would like to reiterate the significant role the OECD has played in the stable development of the world economy.

For 60 years, the OECD has been a forum in which governments work together, finding evidence-based solutions to the challenges of our time, sharing experiences and identifying best practices.

Since Latvia joined the OECD, we have actively participated in the discussions and activities of the Organisation, making the best use of the policy analyses and advice in the planning of our economic policies. Our membership has been the driving force behind the reform of governance of state-owned enterprises. It has also served as an additional stimulus to improve our capacity in the fight against bribery in international business transactions.  And this is only the beginning. We still have a lot of work ahead, and we hope to continue to benefit from the expertise of our friends as we are committed to participating in the OECD’s search for answers to global challenges.

As Latvia is about to enter its 5th year as an OECD Member state, we now hold ourselves and others to even higher standards. This has been a place where leaders and civil servants, business, labour and civil society can find common ground and produce tangible benefits for our citizens. But success was never a foregone conclusion. For 60 years, the OECD has been a forum in which governments work together, finding evidence-based solutions to the challenges of our time, sharing experiences and identifying best practices.

2nd June 2016 - Signature of the Accession Agreement with Latvia. From left (seated): Angel Gurria, Secretary-General of the OECD; Heraldo Muñoz, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Chile and Māris Kučinskis Prime Minister of Latvia. Photo: OECD/Hervé Cortinat

With each new member, the OECD will become different — and better. We will all benefit from their unique experiences, from the presence of a new voice and a new outlook as we move forward, setting new global standards on the issues that face us today and will confront us in the future. As we stop and mark this anniversary, we recognise the immense importance of the work now being done during a time of dramatic global changes. And we will forge ahead, continuing to champion international co-operation and multilateralism.

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Rihards Kols

Member, Latvian Parliament

Rihards Kols is a Member of the Parliament of the Saeima (the Parliament) of the Republic of Latvia since his re-election in 2018. R.Kols serves as the Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the Saeima and as the Representative of the Saeima to the OECD. He is also the Deputy Chairman of the political party ‘’National Alliance’’ and is a Millennium Fellow at Atlantic Council.