Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development and the environment

The Organisation for Economic Co-Operation and Development (OECD) is an international economic organization composed of 35 member countries committed to democratic government and the market economy. The OECD seeks to support long term economic growth and sustainable development, and to raise living standards, through high employment, financial stability and growth of international trade. It also provides a unique forum where governments work together with a long-term view on many public policy issues, compare and exchange experiences and best practices and seek answers to common problems through enhanced global cooperation.

The OECD’s environment work focuses on climate change, biodiversity protection, chemicals management, materials and waste management, resource productivity, environmental indicators, and ways the environment can benefit from trade policies and development cooperation.

Canada sees numerous positive environmental results and benefits from its participation in OECD activities. For example, the OECD work on chemicals management reduces costs for government and industry by harmonizing chemical safety tools and policies across jurisdictions. Other work by the OECD has served to facilitate the control of transboundary movements of wastes destined for recovery. Canada has also translated into its own laws and regulations some of the environmental principles which came to life at the OECD, a key one being the polluter pays principle. Finally, by supporting the liberalization of trade in environmental goods and services, the OECD contributes to the creation of new markets for Canadian clean technology products.

Environmental performance reports

The OECD also provides high quality data and analytical research to help develop effective environmental policies and programs at least cost. One example of this is their environmental performance review (EPR) program. Through this program, the OECD analyzes the environmental performance of individual member countries in implementing domestic policies and achieving international commitments. They also provide targeted recommendations to support progress on a range of environmental issues. Reviews are typically conducted every ten years.

Reviews of Canada’s environmental performance were conducted in 1995, 2004 and 2017. See Canada’s 3rd Environmental Performance Report for the 2017 report.

Visit the OECD website to learn more.

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