The OECD is not a supranational organisation, but rather a forum for discussion where governments express their points of view, share their experiences and search for common ground. If Member countries consider it appropriate, an accord can be embodied in a formal OECD Council Act, which is agreed at the highest level of OECD, the Council.
In general, there are two types of Council Act. A Council Decision, which is legally binding on OECD Member countries, and a Council Recommendation, which is a strong expression of political will. In the area of chemicals, for example, there is a Council Act relating to the Mutual Acceptance of Data (MAD).
The testing of chemicals is labour-intensive and expensive. Often the same chemical is being tested and assessed in several countries. Because of the need to relieve some of this burden, the OECD Council adopted a Decision in 1981 stating that data generated in a Member country in accordance with OECD Test Guidelines and Principles of Good Laboratory Practice (GLP) shall be accepted in other Member countries for assessment purposes and other uses relating to the protection of human health and the environment.
The 1981 Council Decision sets the policy context agreed by all OECD Member countries which established that safety data developed in one Member country will be accepted for use by the relevant registration authorities in assessing the chemical or product in another OECD country i.e. the data does not have to be generated a second time for the purposes of safety assessment.
A further Council Act was adopted in 1989 to provide safeguards for assurance that the data is indeed developed in compliance with the Principles of GLP. This Council Decision-Recommendation on Compliance with GLP establishes procedures for monitoring GLP compliance through government inspections and study audits as well as a framework for international liaison among monitoring and data-receiving authorities. A 1997 Council Decision on the Adherence of Non-Member countries to the Council Acts related to the Mutual Acceptance of Data in the Assessment of Chemicals sets out a step-wise procedure for non-OECD countries with a significant chemical industry input to take part as full members in this system.
OECD Insights - India joins MAD.