By Nicole Banks Barrantes – International Relations Student
Despite being formally invited to begin the progress of joining the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), Costa Rica has maintained the review and adjustment of public policies for five years. The country has already succeeded in the evaluations of 22 committees and is awaiting a formal invitation to become a full member of the organization. This process began in 2012 at the initiative of the then Minister of Foreign Trade, Anabel González, during the 2010-2014 government of the president, Laura Chinchilla. The organization is open in nature, and allows for third countries to partake in working groups and forums. The participation is thoroughly managed and has three categories which include guests, participants, and associates. The categories are according to the degree from least to greatest involvement.
In May 2020, Costa Rica received the invitation to be part of the OECD, after the Council formally agreed to extend the invitation to the country to become the 38th member of the organization. As a member country, Costa Rica is committed to continuing to improve in several areas, therefore the organization will specifically follow up on the conclusion of action plans and the execution of reforms. Likewise, the country should persist to undergo periodic reviews, as the other members of the OECD. A great perk is that the country will be able to participate in more than 300 committees and working groups of the organization. It will be taken into account to decide under equal conditions, the development of innovative solutions for common challenges, for instance the emergency against COVID-19, or issues as climate change, global chains, transnational bribery and the fourth industrial revolution.
The OECD seeks to highlight a series of benefits for the member countries, which cover receiving said benefits during the integration process as well as once the membership is acquired. Guidance for the adoption of best international practices in areas as economic and social development is emphasized. The organization is a forum that seeks to bring together experts from all member countries to exchange best practice for economic policies that end up helping other countries to progress. This promotes access for countries members to a valuable knowledge platform.
By being a part of the OECD, Costa Rica is now perceived as a leader and a developed country in several areas, rather than being one who still needs support and finance in order to achieve progress. The organization has been perceived as one for “rich” countries only, and this has not had the best understanding by some sectors of the Costa Rican society who have questioned why the country wants and needs to enter a forum like this. Although the world continues to look for ways to increase integrations with different countries, studies should have been carried out beforehand to seek more opportunities for producers and exporters, as well as improving areas the country still needs to look after. Even though Costa Rica did have to improve several areas before being formally invited to the organization, it still has areas to improve.
The country must simplify procedures, as well as improve education in order to access better-paid jobs, even though Costa Rica did have to improve the educational sector before being considered, it still needs work. The country must implement fair wage policies, and increase employment. A crucial factor to take into account is the unstableness of the social security and the pension system. In this challenging perspective, Costa Rica must manage to develop capacities that rescue integration. Though there are operational deficiencies that require attention, Costa Rica would have improved competition, work and environmental issues, as well as other topics that will be invested by other countries, in which Costa Rica could improve, along with the evaluation every two years.