I. The development of a typology of IRC mechanisms
The OECD is working with countries on identifying and examining different approaches to co-operation and the institutional arrangements attached to them.
Strategies of international co-operation can run at various degrees of formality and intensity, from the most constraining formal option – the legally binding agreements such as provided by EU – to the least constraining ones – as provided by informal dialogues.
In the absence of existing classifications, the OECD has identified 11 different categories of IRC mechanisms.
II. Assessing the benefits and costs of alternative mechanisms of IRC
In some areas, the success of cooperation has been obvious. But by large, cases of successful co-operation have tended to develop as bottom up movements evolving along “paths of least resistance”, without following general principles of good regulation or governance. Scant quantitative evidence, unstable language and anecdotal evidence generate uncertainty on the benefits and costs of regulatory co-operation and prevent systematic and rational decision making or even proper monitoring of IRC outcomes.
Did you know that control of chemicals is one of the few areas where there have been systematic efforts to assess the benefits and costs of governments working together to harmonise regulatory instruments. Annual net savings accruing to governments and industry from mutual recognition agreement on chemical safety and burden sharing was estimated by the OECD at EUR 153 million (annually).
The OECD is working with countries to deepen the understanding of the benefits, costs and success factors of regulatory co-operation and provide governments with evidence-based tools to better understand when and how to seek strengthened international regulatory co-operation.