Regulatory policy

Inter-governmental organisations




Membership in international organisations (established by treaty) promoting regulatory co-operation.




More and more technocratic international governmental organisations are engaging in regulatory cooperation activity. Based on the answers to an OECD survey, countries are members of a great variety of international organisations more or less promoting regulatory cooperation – generally countries belong to 50 or more international organisations. The horizontal forums mentioned repeatedly by countries include the World Trade Organisation (WTO), the OECD, and various UN bodies. Regional forums of cross-sectoral nature include notably APEC and the UN Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE). Sector or area specific forums include various organisations that may have a universal coverage or a regional one (the International Commission on Civil Status, the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe).


Table A. Selected IGO and regulatory cooperation

  Mandate in relation to regulatory cooperation
OECD Intergovernmental forum in which governments share experiences in various policy areas and develop consensus based policy recommendations (soft law) supported by peer-review mechanisms.

Intergovernmental forum to negotiate trade agreements, operate the system of trade rules and settle trade disputes. It operates through various councils and committees, including two that deal directly with the impact of regulation on trade: the SPS (Sanitary and Phytosanitary measures) Committee and the TBT (Technical Barriers to Trade) Committee. The World Trade Report 2012 devotes a full Chapter to “International cooperation on non-tariff measures in a globalized world”.

IMO The International Maritime Organization is the UN specialized agency with responsibility for the safety and security of shipping and the prevention of marine pollution by ships.
ITU The International Telecommunications Union is the UN specialized agency for information and communication technologies:
ILO The International Labour Organisation is the international organization responsible for drawing up and overseeing international labour standards. It is the only 'tripartite' UN agency that brings together representatives of governments, employers and workers to jointly shape policies.
UNECE The UN Economic Commission for Europe is one of the 5 regional Commissions of the UN. UNECE's major aim is to promote pan-European economic integration through policy dialogue, negotiation of international legal instruments, development of regulations and norms and exchange and application of best practices. UNECE Working Party on Regulatory Cooperation and Standardization Policies (WP.6) provides a forum for regulators and policy makers to discuss issues such as technical regulations, standardization, conformity assessment, metrology, market surveillance and risk management.  
FAO The Food and Agriculture Organisation is an intergovernmental organisation aimed at promoting food security through a collaborative platform.
ICAO The International Civil Aviation Organization is a UN intergovernmental agency that promotes the safe and orderly development of international civil aviation. It sets standards and regulations necessary for aviation safety, security, efficiency and regularity, as well as for aviation environmental protection.
IAEA The International Atomic Energy Agency is a UN intergovernmental agency dealing with cooperation in the nuclear field. The Statute of the agency outlines three pillars of its work: nuclear verification and security, safety and technology transfer.
APEC Launched in 2010 the ARCAM (APEC Regulatory Cooperation Advancement Mechanism) on Trade-Related Standards and Technical Regulations is a process through which trade officials, relevant regulators and other stakeholders conduct work on emerging regulatory issues that have relevance to APEC’s agenda to strengthen regional economic integration. The purpose of this work is to develop a shared understanding of relevant issues, increase transparency and promote better alignment of technical requirements and standards. APEC’s regulatory cooperation covers areas such as harmonizing standards for the digital economy, common standards for life sciences research and standardized safety testing of electronic equipment and toys.




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