Regulatory reform

International Regulatory Co-operation

The Role of International Organisations in Fostering Better Rules of Globalisation

Published on November 02, 2016

Borders are becoming increasingly porous, with growing flows of goods, services, people and capital. Governments, more than ever, need to co-ordinate their efforts to develop global standards to address climate change, as well as crises related to finance, health, environment and migration; secure peace; and ensure sustainable economic prosperity and social inclusion. International organisations play a key role in fostering multilateral action and addressing the fragmentation that may undermine effective domestic action. To shed greater light on international standard setting, this unique report collects, compares and assesses the practices of 50 international organisations on their governance arrangements, operational modalities, use of quality management disciplines and co-operation efforts. It analyses different types of organisations – inter-governmental, supra-national, trans-governmental and private – and identifies avenues for making their action more effective, inclusive and relevant. 


Foreword and acknowledgements
Acronyms of participating international organisations
Acronyms and abbreviations
Executive summary
The survey exercise, structure and respondents
The contours of international regulatory co-operation within international organisations
The governance and operational modalitiesof international organisations
Implementation and impacts of the instruments of international organisations
How do international organisations ensure the quality of their rule-making process?
The institutional landscape in which international organisations operate
Assessing the success of international regulatory co-operation as provided by international organisations
Classifications of IOs
Profiles of international organisations50 chapters available
Asian Harmonization Working Party (AHWP)
Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC)
ASTM International
Secretariats of the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions (BRS Conventions)
Caribbean Community (CARICOM)
Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD)
Secretariat of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES)
Common Market for East/Southern Africa (COMESA)
European Commission (EC)
UN Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA)
Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO)
International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)
International Accreditation Forum (IAF)
International Association of Insurance Supervisors (IAIS)
International Air Transport Association (IATA)
International Competition Network (ICN)
International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC)
International Federation of Accountants (IFAC)
International Laboratory Accreditation Cooperation (ILAC)
International Medical Device Regulators Forum (IMDRF)
International Monetary Fund (IMF)
International Maritime Organization (IMO)
International Organization of Securities Commissions (IOSCO)
International Organization for Standardization (ISO)
International Telecommunication Union (ITU)
North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO)
Organization of American States (OAS)
Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD)
World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE)
International Organisation of La Francophonie (OIF)
International Organization of Legal Metrology (OIML)
International Organisation of Vine and Wine (OIV)
Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW)
Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE)
Intergovernmental Organisation for International Carriage by Rail (OTIF)
Secretariat for the Vienna Convention and its Montreal Protocol – Ozone Layer (OZONE)
Pharmaceutical Inspection Co-operation Scheme (PIC/S)
Strategic Approach to International Chemicals Management (SAICM)
United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)
United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE)
United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP)
United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO)
United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC)
World Tourism Organization (UNWTO)
Universal Postal Union (UPU)
World Customs Organization (WCO)
World Health Organization (WHO)
World Intellectual Property Rights Organization (WIPO)
World Meteorological Organization (WMO)
World Trade Organization (WTO/OMC)
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  • There is a wide diversity of international organisations involved in global standard-setting, including inter-governmental, trans-governmental and private. They all have specific mandates, expertise and strengths, and are organised in very diverse ways. Beyond these differences, IOs share strong common features.
  • IOs are actively involved in the upstream activities of the rule-making process, i.e. exchange of information, data collection and development of norms, standards and best practices. By contrast, they are much less involved in the downstream activities of the rule-making process, i.e. enforcement, dispute settlement and crisis management.
  • To achieve their goals, IOs develop a broad range of instruments from legally binding treaties and decisions to softer tools such as guidance, recommendations, declarations and standards. IOs primarily rely on non-legally binding tools, in particular policy instruments, guidance and standards. There is no single and widely accepted definition for instruments adopted by IOs.
  • IOs have a key role to ensure confidence in the quality of international norms and in their capacity to help countries achieve their public policy objectives by strengthening their culture of excellence in the development of their instruments.
  • For example, the report provides striking evidence that international organisations have become more transparent and open to a variety of stakeholders.
  • IOs face the critical challenge to maintain the relevance and impact of their instruments over time. Strengthening the use of evaluation tools in cooperation with members and domestic authorities who have access to information would help to provide the evidence needed to identify their continued timeliness.
  • Co-ordination efforts across IOs are real and have increased notably in the last few years. This is an area where better understanding of the regulatory landscape and early and more systematic exchange of information among IOs early on in the rule-making process could help them build on their respective field of excellence, while recognising the specificity of each IO and the value in some cases of various views on similar issues.





For further information, please contact Céline Kauffmann, Regulatory Policy Division, OECD.