Seema Malhotra and fellow Hounslow MP Ruth Cadbury at the meeting of the OECD
Seema Malhotra and fellow Hounslow MP Ruth Cadbury at the meeting of the OECD

I’ve just spent two days in Paris at the excellent meeting of the OECD Global Parliamentary Network with a cross party delegation from the UK. Policy and policy debate has to be underpinned by the very best of research and insight. Every nation should be interested in what it is doing well, and where it can learn from others.

There are so many areas where we can understand the problem but can’t solve them on our own. A good example has been global tax reform – domestic tax base erosion and profit shifting (BEPS) with the OECD project facilitating international cooperation to tackle large scale tax avoidance. We might want to know about how outcomes from our education system compare to other comparable nations and why – PISA is hugely insightful for this.

To bring forward the best of policy, you need to always be learning and open to challenge.

Discussions over the two days with Parliamentarians from other OECD nations have covered the global economic outlook, labour market developments and the new Inclusive Forum on Carbon Mitigation Approaches (IFCMA) which aims to facilitate data and information sharing and mutual learning to achieve a better coordinated approach to carbon mitigation efforts. The session on Joining Forces on Gender Equality looked ahead to a forthcoming flagship report on progress in Gender Equality in a range of areas. Other plenary sessions looked to combatting mis- and dis-information and promoting integrity in elections and politics.

There’s a wealth of insight that the OECD develops but we don’t always draw on it enough. This conference was a reminder about why for our politics, economy and for social progress, we would be wise to do so. That’s why a year ago we founded the cross party APPG on the OECD which I co-chair with Lord David Willetts so that Parliamentarians and those in related policy areas can better access the available research and contribute to the development of new projects coming forward.

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