As part of its ongoing drive to strengthen corporate governance practices worldwide, the OECD today in Paris hosted a meeting of senior officials of key international organisations and representatives of business and labour unions. An OECD release indicated that also invited to the meeting were other experts on “ongoing national and international initiatives to ensure market integrity.” Participants included, for example, Sir Adrian Cadbury, who headed an influential U.K. review of corporate governance in the early 1990s; Andrew Crockett, general manager of the Bank for International Settlements and chairman of the Financial Stability Forum; and Veronique Ingram, an Australian Treasury official who chairs the OECD Steering Group on Corporate Governance.
The meeting discussed the OECD’s Principles of Corporate Governance and other OECD Instruments relevant to market integrity, including the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises and the Anti-Bribery Convention.
At their Annual Meeting earlier this year, OECD Ministers mandated a review of the Corporate Governance Principles, first adopted in 1999. They provide an international benchmark for best practice in corporate governance and have become a global reference for shaping public policy through regional roundtables organised by the OECD and the World Bank in emerging and transition economies. The Guidelines are used as one of the criteria in country assessments by the World Bank.
The OECD advises that the forthcoming review of the Principles will evaluate weaknesses in present systems of corporate oversight and identify areas for improvement. According to the organisation, the challenge facing policymakers is to strike a balance between government oversight of markets and corporations and increased monitoring by market participants themselves.
Participants in the review process will seek a consensus on concrete steps to take, in consultations with the business community, labour, civil society and representatives of non-OECD countries. They will do so drawing upon the results of a survey of recent developments, proposed to be carried out in the coming months. Ministers are expected to receive the completed review in 2004.
**Global Corporate Governance Forum**
The OECD and the World Bank agreed to co-operate in promoting better corporate governance globally in 1999.
This co-operation includes the establishment of the Global Corporate Governance Forum. The forum is a donor-driven effort to support corporate governance reform at global, regional and local levels.