OECD & Eurasia

In recent years, all 13 Eurasian countries (Afghanistan, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, the Republic of Moldova, Mongolia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Ukraine and Uzbekistan) have intensified their participation in OECD committees and working groups, peer reviews and studies. The region has increasingly contributed to statistical data collection and international benchmarking exercises such as the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) and Investment Policy Reviews and have adhered to international standards and norms developed by the OECD. The OECD Eurasia Competitiveness Programme aims to further deepen the Organisation's engagement with the region.

The co-operation between the OECD and Eurasia covers the following areas:

Agriculture

The OECD works with Eurasia countries to improve agricultural policies and practices in an effort to boost the sector’s productivity and competitiveness and the rural population’s incomes. Both Kazakhstan and Ukraine are included in the OECD’s annual Agricultural Policy Monitoring and Evaluation report, which estimates support to agriculture and evaluates the related impacts.

In addition, Kyrgyzstan, the Republic of Moldova and Ukraine are active members of the OECD Seed Schemes, which promote the use of agriculture seeds of consistently high quality.

Economic Development and Investment

Enhancing investment policy and international investment co-operation are central to the OECD’s effort to help Eurasia countries integrate into the global economy. Both Kazakhstan and Ukraine have undergone OECD Investment Policy Reviews.

Responsible Business Conduct is essential to improve the business climate and enhance the investment policy framework in Eurasia. The OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises aim to maximise the contribution that investment by multinational enterprises can make to sustainable development and enduring social progress. Kazakhstan and Ukraine have adhered to the Guidelines, while Georgia has been the subject of a Responsible Business Conduct Report.

The OECD helps countries in Eurasia formulate development strategies and support the policy reforms needed to achieve further sustainable and inclusive development through its Multi-dimensional Country Reviews, a horizontal initiative led by the OECD Development Centre. Kazakhstan joined the OECD Development Centre in January 2015 and has recently undergone a Multi-dimensional Country Review.

Education and Skills

The OECD supports Eurasia countries in setting measurable goals for improving education systems and enhancing learning outcomes for students. Georgia, the Republic of Moldova, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan currently participate in the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA). Azerbaijan (Baku City), Belarus and Ukraine will join PISA 2018.

In 2018, Kazakhstan and Georgia will participate in the Teaching and Learning International Survey (TALIS).

The OECD has also conducted country-specific reviews of education in Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Ukraine on issues such as higher education, vocational education and training, school resources, early childhood education and integrity.

In June 2017, the OECD-Russia Technical Assistance Project on Financial Education in the Commonwealth and Independent States (CIS) was launched to provide policy and practical support for strengthening the financial skills of citizens with a view to promoting their financial well-being. The six CIS countries participating in the project are Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan.

Entrepreneurship and Competition

The OECD assists the thirteen Eurasia countries in the design and implementation of policies to improve their business climates, drawing on the expertise, experience and instruments of the OECD and its members through its OECD Eurasia Competitiveness Programme. The Eurasia Competitiveness Roundtable provides a platform for peer review and knowledge sharing on the implementation of reforms to strengthen competitiveness in the Eurasia countries.

The OECD also attaches great importance to helping the Eurasia countries identify and address obstacles to entrepreneurship and SME development and to engaging in knowledge sharing and peer learning with each other in the field of SME reforms. The SME Policy Index: Eastern Partner Countries 2016, provides a benchmarking tool for the region to assess and monitor progress in SME policy implementation and convergence towards the Small Business Act. Financing SMEs and Entrepreneurs 2017 provides information on debt, equity, asset-based finance and framework conditions for SME and entrepreneurship finance, along with an overview of recent measures to support access to finance in 39 countries, including Georgia.

The OECD also supports a wide range of activities to advance competition law and policy reform in the region to stimulate productivity and innovation for the benefit of consumers. The OECD-GVH Regional Centre for Competition in Budapest (RCC), a joint initiative of the OECD and the Hungarian Competition Authority (GVH), works with Eurasia countries to disseminate best practices in competition law and policy, and to facilitate networking and international co-operation among the beneficiary countries.

The OECD Global Forum on Competition annually provides a forum for high-level competition authorities to discuss the benefits of well-designed competition law, effective enforcement and competition-based economic reform to promote growth and employment. OECD Reviews of Competition Law and Policy have been conducted for Kazakhstan and Ukraine.

Fiscal Policy

The OECD addresses fiscal policy through the Base Erosion and Profit Shifting (BEPS) Package, which aims to close gaps in international tax rules that allow multinational enterprises to shift profits to low or no-tax jurisdictions. Georgia, Kazakhstan and Ukraine have joined the BEPS Inclusive Framework for monitoring and supporting the implementation of the BEPS Project. Georgia is a member of the Inclusive Framework Steering Committee.

Through the Global Forum on Transparency and Exchange of Information for Tax Purposes, the OECD works to ensure the implementation of the internationally agreed standards of transparency and exchange of information on tax through in-depth peer reviews. To date, reviews have been conducted for AzerbaijanGeorgiaKazakhstan and Ukraine

Georgia participates in OECD Tax Inspectors without borders, an international programme designed to enhance countries’ ability to bolster domestic revenue collection through strengthening tax audit capacities.

Kazakhstan was recently included in the Revenue Statistics in Asian Countries 2017 report, which makes it possible to compare tax levels and tax structures on a consistent basis, both among Asian economies and between OECD and Asian economies.

Green Growth and Sustainable Development

For more than 20 years, the OECD has provided the Secretariat of an inter-governmental Environmental Action Programme Task Force for Eastern Europe, the Caucasus and Central Asia (EECCA). Renamed in 2016 as the GREEN Action Programme, it supports the EECCA countries in integrating environmental considerations into reform processes and strengthening institutional and human capacities for environmental management.

Both Georgia and Kazakhstan have adhered to the OECD Declaration on Green Growth.

Since 2002, the OECD has worked with a number of Eurasia countries to address water resource management (Kyrgyzstan), water supply and sanitation (ArmeniaKazakhstan and Republic of Moldova), and transboundary water co-operation through the framework of the EU Water Initiative, and the OECD Studies on Water series. 

The OECD also advises countries on how to make economic and environmental policies more compatible and how to make growth greener. Promoting Clean Urban Public Transportation and Green Investment in Kazakhstan (forthcoming) studies how to reduce air pollution from urban public transport in Kazakhstan and presents the analysis of how to design a green public investment programme in this sector.

Kazakhstan and Mongolia are both members of the OECD Policy Dialogue on Natural Resource-based Development, an intergovernmental platform for peer learning and knowledge sharing, where OECD and non-OECD countries, in consultation with extractive industries and civil societies, craft innovative and collaborative solutions for resource-based development. Together with Chile, Kazakhstan co-chairs the Dialogue’s work stream on Revenue Spending and Stabilisation Funds.

The International Energy Agency (IEA) works with many Eurasia countries in the areas of energy policy and statistics. In 2015, the Agency published the Energy Policies Beyond IEA Countries: Eastern Europe, Caucasus and Central Asia, a compendium of energy policy peer reviews for these countries, covering issues such as energy security, energy markets, sustainable development and investment attractiveness, and offering policy recommendations for each country.

Both Belarus and Kazakhstan have participated in IEA Partner Country Series clean energy technology assessments which work to develop appropriate policies and measures to support a well-functioning market for the development of local renewable sources and help governments reach energy security targets and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

The IEA also supports the EU’s EU4Energy Programme.

Innovation

OECD Innovation Policy Reviews offer a comprehensive assessment of the innovation systems of individual OECD member and partner countries, focusing on the role of government. They provide concrete recommendations on how to improve policies which affect innovation performance, including research and development policies. Kazakhstan has been the subject of two recent reviews on innovation: OECD Reviews of Innovation Policy: Kazakhstan 2017 and Boosting Kazakhstan's National Intellectual Property System for Innovation (2016).

Integrity

The OECD Anti-Corruption Network for Eastern Europe and Central Asia (ACN) provides a regional forum for 25 countries in Eastern Europe and Central Asia to prevent and combat corruption through peer reviews and peer learning. Business Integrity in Eastern Europe and Central Asia, 2016 explores what governments, business associations, NGOs and companies do to strengthen business integrity with a particular focus on anti-corruption measures in and for the private sector in countries in Eastern Europe and Central Asia.

The Istanbul Anti-Corruption Action Plan is a sub-regional peer review programme of the ACN that supports anti-corruption reforms through country reviews and continuous monitoring of implementation of recommendations. Participating countries include Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, Mongolia, Tajikistan, Ukraine and Uzbekistan.

Additionally, the ACN’s Anti-Corruption Law Enforcement Network provides a framework for investigators and prosecutors to learn about modern investigative techniques, improve their capacity to deal with corruption cases and strengthen enforcement of anti-corruption legislation.

Anti-corruption projects for Ukraine and Kyrgyzstan have been designed to support these two countries in their fight against corruption, with a view to strengthening their legal and institutional capacity to detect, investigate and prosecute high-profile and complex corruption.

OECD Integrity Scans help governments assess legal, administrative and economic frameworks regarding integrity and the fight against corruption. Kazakhstan is the first Eurasia country to conduct an Integrity Scan.

Public Governance

The SIGMA Programme, a joint initiative of the OECD and the European Union which has been active for 25 years, works with Eurasia countries to strengthen the foundations for improved public governance and build the capacities of the public sector. Further work includes support for measures to strengthen policy making, accountability, service delivery, public finance management and public procurement.

The OECD Recommendation on Public Procurement helps countries in Eurasia to improve public trust, enhance well-being, and build more prosperous and inclusive societies. Ukraine’s Prozorro system was developed in line with the Recommendation.

The OECD Regional Development Policy Committee works with countries to develop policy advice on regional development that is place-based, multi-level, multi-sectoral, evidence-based and innovative. Related publications on Eurasia include the Territorial Reviews of Kazakhstan and Ukraine, and OECD Urban Policy Reviews: Kazakhstan (2017).

Social Development

The OECD’s work on social policy covers a wide range of issues and continuously seeks to help countries adapt their policies to changing socio-economic and demographic conditions. Afghanistan, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Mongolia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan are covered by the OECD Society at a Glance: Asia/Pacific 2014, which offers an overview of issues such as demography and family characteristics, employment and unemployment, poverty and inequality.

Kyrgyzstan is one of ten countries participating in the EU Social Protection System Programme, co-financed by the OECD and the Government of Finland, which supports countries in building sustainable and inclusive social protection systems.

The OECD Review of Labour Policies in Kazakhstan (2017) focuses on promoting access to labour markets for youth, older workers and the protection of vulnerable groups. It supports the government’s preparations to revise the labour code and rationalise its benefit system.

The OECD also works with member and non-member countries to increase the efficiency and the effectiveness of their health systems, as well as on better tools for monitoring health system performance. Kazakhstan’s Health System Review (forthcoming 2017) focuses on hospital and primary care, and a review of health care national accounts is also being prepared in parallel.

The OECD is increasingly pre-occupied with youth-specific issues and works with partner countries to close the gap in youth well-being. The Republic of Moldova is one of ten countries participating in the EU-OECD Development Centre Protection Youth Inclusion Project, which compiles and collects data on youth, and helps facilitate national dialogue on youth inclusion that will contribute to the design of evidence-based policies and approaches.

Through the OECD Development Centre, the OECD works to help Eurasia countries to better understand migration trends and their economic impact and to improve policies towards migrants, particularly in the major sending countries. In Armenia and Georgia, the OECD Development Centre is working to enhance government capacity to incorporate migration into the design and implementation of the countries’ development strategies. While in the Republic of Moldova, the Centre is operationalising a dashboard of indicators for measuring policy and institutional coherence for migration and development in co-operation with the United Nations Development Programme.

The OECD’s Development Assistance Committee (DAC) is an international forum where bilateral providers of development co-operation and multilateral agencies work together to improve the quantity and quality of development assistance. The DAC has been expanding its engagement with Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan, two providers of development co-operation that are keen to learn from the experience of DAC members. Afghanistan is a primary aid receiver and as such DAC has been sharing and analysing data on international aid flows to the country. DAC has also evaluated donor experiences in Afghanistan in line with the OECD Principles for Good International Engagement in Fragile States.

Trade

International trade has been a key driver of Eurasia’s integration into global markets. The OECD helps Eurasia countries identify priorities for action in the areas of trade facilitation. Eleven Eurasia countries are covered by the OECD’s Trade Facilitation Indicators (TFIs), which help governments improve border procedures, reduce trade costs, boost trade flows, and ultimately reap greater benefits from international trade

Many Eurasia countries also provide data for the OECD Inventory of Export Restrictions on Raw Materials, which reports export taxes, prohibitions, licensing requirements and other measures by which governments regulate the export of industrial raw materials including minerals, metals and wood.

Several Eurasia countries have significant steel sectors, including Kazakhstan and Ukraine. The OECD Steel Committee provides a unique forum for governments to come together to address the evolving challenges facing the steel industry and identify political solutions to encourage open and transparent markets for steel.