The OECD is a group of 30 member countries that provides governments a setting in which to discuss, develop and perfect economic and social policy. They compare experiences, seek answers to common problems and work to co-ordinate domestic and international policies that increasingly in today's globalised world must form a web of even practice across nations. Their exchanges may lead to agreements to act in a formal way - for example, by establishing legally-binding codes for free flow of capital and services, agreements to crack down on bribery or to end subsidies for shipbuilding. But more often, their discussion makes for better informed work within their own governments on the spectrum of public policy and clarifies the impact of national policies on the international community. And it offers a chance to reflect and exchange perspectives with other countries similar to their own.

OECD countries produce two thirds of the world's goods and services, but it is not an exclusive club. Essentially, membership is limited only by a country's commitment to a market economy and a pluralistic democracy. The core of original members has expanded from Europe and North America to include Japan, Australia, New Zealand, Finland, Mexico, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Korea. And there are many more contacts with the rest of the world through programmes with countries in the former Soviet bloc, Asia, Latin America - contacts which, in some cases, may lead to membership.

The OECD Environmental Outlook Report
To prevent irreversible damage to our environment over the next 20 years, governments need urgently to take action to change their policies in a number of clearly identifiable areas. This is the key message of OECD's Environmental Outlook, a pioneering 20-year projection of OECD environmental problems that identifies realistic priorities for addressing the main challenges. Using an economy-based vision of developments to 2020, the Outlook identifies the drivers of environmental change (the economy, population, globalisation, etc.), the specific sectors that put the greatest pressure on the environment, and the resulting environmental impacts.

The stated "red light" pressures on the environment in the report are: