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A Study of Organisational Adaptation

Peter Carroll and Aynsley Kellow

The book reveals, for the first time, the origins, growth and complex role of the OECD as it celebrates its fiftieth anniversary, showing how it has adapted – for the most part successfully – to the changing needs of its members, both large and small.
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Chapter 11: The OECD and International Organisations

Peter Carroll and Aynsley Kellow


The international relations literature has tended, until relatively recently, to neglect the role and impact of the relations between IGOs (Carroll, 2008). The signatories to the OEEC Convention, signed in Paris in 1948, were well aware of the importance of relationships between the OEEC and other IGOs. Hence, as with most of the new international bodies established in the years after 1945, Article 13 of its Convention empowered the Organisation to enter into agreements with and make recommendations to international organisations. Article 20 went further, instructing it to ‘establish such formal or informal relationships with the United Nations, its principal organs and subsidiary bodies and with the Specialised Agencies, as may best facilitate collaboration in the achievement of their respective aims’. Unsurprisingly, then, over time a complex network of relationships developed between the various OECD directorates and other IGOs. In its first attempt to record the full range of the relationships, in 2007 the OECD identified 68 IGOs with which it had one or more actual or planned relationships (CCNM(2007)1). Twenty-one of these, excluding the specialised agencies, were in the UN family, nearly a quarter of the total. The Statistics Directorate, for example, had relationships with 12 IGOs, including seven UN bodies, three EU bodies and the WTO. Among the most frequent, persistent and regular of the linkages have been those with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the IMF, though the extent and nature of the relationships have varied over time. Those with the UN are...

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