NATO Parliamentarians Discuss Global Economic Risks and Structural Reform at OECD Global Parliamentary Network Conference

28 February 2020

Brussels/Paris, 28 February 2020 - Coping with uncertainty, climate change, and paradigm-changing technological revolutions pose radical challenges to national policy makers, regulators, and legislators. These challenges are ever more transnational in nature, and countries acting alone cannot respond in any meaningful way. Indeed, trans-national cooperation and coordination across a range of inter-related policy areas is essential, and national legislators will need to be at the very heart of this process.

These were central themes of a conference engaging 28 NATO parliamentarians from 11 Allied countries who participated in the annual meeting of the OECD’s Global Parliamentary network in Paris from 24 to 26 February.  

The NATO Parliamentary Assembly’s delegation consisted of members of the Economics and Security Committee (ESC), led by Ivan Klementjevs (Latvia), the ESC Chairperson, and the Political Committee, led by Ahmet Berat Conkar (Turkey), Vice-Chair of the Sub-Committee on NATO Partnerships.

Among the senior leaders and economists who addressed the parliamentarians were OECD Secretary General Angel Gurria, OECD Chief Economist Laurence Boone, OECD Director for Education and Skills Andreas Schleicher, and the Executive Director of the International Energy Agency Fatih Birol.

Global growth is currently slowing more than the OECD had foreseen, and there is mounting concern that rising protectionism has begun to have real negative impacts on global growth and expectations.  The coronavirus outbreak has injected even greater uncertainty into the marketplace. Coping with climate change, hastening the transition to renewable energy, and conserving significantly higher levels of energy, while preserving economic dynamism, will also be essential.  But how investment can best be galvanised for these purposes represents a serious policy conundrum for OECD governments and private sector actors alike.

Although technology, including artificial intelligence, will play a central role in the coming transition, speakers and legislators at the conference continually referred to the need for multilateral policy coordination to ensure that countries are not working at cross purposes or engaging in beggar thy neighbour policies that undermine global solidarity on these critical challenges.  

Parliamentarians meeting in Paris also explored the controversial but vital question of digital taxation and tax base erosion—a set of challenges that must also be addressed globally if they are to be effectively met. Members learned that the OECD is working with the G20 to develop an inclusive tax and information sharing framework so that governments can effectively address critical tax challenges posed by an ever more digital and globally integrated economy. 

Finally, education systems will also have to change, and new approaches to life-long training will be increasingly important to ensure that skills taught in schools better match labour market requirements.  The recently released OECD-PISA comparative study on international education standards has demonstrated that many national education programmes are failing to teach relevant skills to a broad swathe of students who will, as a result, suffer disadvantages in the rapidly changing global economy.

The OECD has worked to develop a range of pro-growth policy frameworks and structural reforms that governments can deploy to facilitate  economic transition in ways that are environmentally sustainable and inclusive and that therefore address ever-widening wealth gaps both in OECD countries and the international community more broadly.

The OECD’s Global Parliamentary Network conference engaged 165 Parliamentarians from 45 countries as well as parliamentary staffers.  

Photos of the meeting are public, courtesy of the OECD, and can be found on Flickr