PARIS – Countries of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) approved Friday the entry of Colombia as its 37th member, at the end of an application process that began five years ago.
The next step in the invitation to Colombia by ambassadors of the member states will be the signing on May 30 in Paris of an access agreement by Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos and OECD Secretary-General Angel Gurria of Mexico during the organization’s meeting of ministers.
Membership will take effect once Colombia complies with a series of internal steps, particularly the ratification by Congress of the OECD rules, as well as the presentation of the membership agreement before the French government, a spokesperson of the organization told EFE.
Since Colombia began the membership process in May 2013, it has undergone several in-depth evaluations by 23 committees of the OECD, which in a statement said that during all that time “it has carried out important reforms to align its legislation, policies and practices with the standards” of the organization.
The reforms have covered a wide range of sectors, such as labor, the judicial system, the management of state-run companies, corruption and trade.
Colombia has also passed new domestic policies regarding the handling of industrial chemical products and waste management.
“We are pleased to welcome Colombia as a member of the OECD,” Gurria said, and recalled that upon taking office, Santos had made this membership a priority, and congratulated him for the fact that “the process could be finalized during his term in office.”
In Bogota, Santos considered that “entering the organization is an extremely important step for modernizing our country – it’s like belonging to the big leagues: we’re comparing ourselves with the best so we can be the best,” he said in a statement to the press.
“This is like graduating from the best university but with the commitment to keep studying and continue getting the best grades for the rest of our lives,” the president said.
For that reason, he considered that joining the organization “opens immense opportunities to continue making progress in matters of education, healthcare, job creation, transparency, the fight against corruption and protecting the environment.
Colombia will be the third Latin American country to form part of the OECD, after Mexico (1994) and Chile (2010).