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60th anniversary of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development

Message from Michelle Bachelet, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights

4 December 2020

Sixty years ago, with the lessons of recovery from global conflict still fresh in its mind, the OECD began its work of building "better policies for better lives".

From establishing benchmarks for school education to laying out governing princples for artificial intelligence; from its recommendations on improving the impact of development aid to its guidelines on the responsibilities of multinational companies; from gender equality to preventing conflict and promoting sound economic governance, the OECD has deployed evidence-based analysis and broad, multi-disciplinary and multi-stakeholder policy approaches.

My Office has been proud to work with the OECD Secretariat on a range of vital human rights issues.

Today, as we struggle with the COVID-19 pandemic, policy-makers across the world need to grapple with complex and deeply entrenched structural issues – such as discrimination and economic, social and political inequalities, both within and among countries. And they need to devise policies that are practical, feasible and effective.

To recover effectively from this crisis, and heighten our resilience to future shocks, we will need to advance sustainable and inclusive development, and the protection of our environment, with strong efforts of multilateral cooperation and solidarity. 

The UN Secretary-General has called for a New Social Contract in every country, with strong emphasis on ending all forms of discrimination, and promoting education, as a key equalizer.

As he has pointed out, we will also need to advance  a new generation of social protection measures – including measures related to fair labour markets – and a just and human rights-based transition to a green economy. 

I know that in these endeavours, we can count on the OECD's keen analysis and guidance, honed in 60 years of challenges.

And in this work to advance effective, principled solutions to complex issues, I assure you that you will be able to count on our UN Human Rights Office.

Happy 60th birthday, OECD.