International Regulatory Co-operation

International Regulatory Co-operation

The Role of International Organisations in Fostering Better Rules of Globalisation You do not have access to this content

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02 Nov 2016
9789264244047 (PDF) ;9789264266254(print)

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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.


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  • Preface

    The greatest challenges countries face today transcend national borders. The threats posed by climate change, health epidemics, terrorism, tax evasion, illicit financial flows, as well as social and economic crises all have global causes and effects. A multilateral approach is essential in delivering a sustainable world economy.

  • Foreword and acknowledgements

    This report examines the contribution of international organisations (IOs) to establishing global rules and standards, building on information collected from 50 IOs. Together with case studies and discussions among IOs held by the OECD in 2014-16, it aims to help policy makers, IO management and stakeholders understand the contribution of IOs to establishing global rules and standards and opportunities for improvement.

  • Acronyms of participating international organisations
  • Acronyms and abbreviations
  • Executive summary

    A wide variety of international organisations (IOs) are involved in promoting international regulatory co-operation (IRC) through their standard-setting and rule-making activities. The United Nations is very active in this area: UN bodies make up half of the IOs surveyed for this study. But new forms of organisation have also flourished alongside the traditional model of inter-governmental organisations (IGOs), with different legal standing and memberships. Private standard-setting organisations and trans-governmental networks of regulators (TGNs) are for instance playing an increasing role.

  • The survey exercise, structure and respondents

    In order to strengthen the information base on the contribution of international organisations to international regulatory co-operation, the OECD undertook a survey in 2015 to examine the governance, operational modalities, rule-making practices and approaches to assessing implementation and impacts of a wide range of international organisations. This chapter describes the 2015 OECD Survey of International Organisations and the wide variety of respondents that contribute to international standard-setting and rule-making.

  • The contours of international regulatory co-operation within international organisations

    International organisations contribute to regulatory co-operation among their members through various ways. They facilitate the development of common language and the comparability of approaches and practices across jurisdictions. They provide the institutional framework and technical expertise to help countries develop international legal and policy instruments and standards, align their regulatory approaches, and build capacity. Sometimes they contribute to dispute resolution among members, and facilitate crisis management. They do so by providing platforms for continuous discussions across members and by engaging with various stakeholders. This chapter analyses the answers to the 2015 OECD Survey of International Organisations on the activities of international organisations in support of regulatory co-operation, the actors involved and the objectives pursued.

  • The governance and operational modalitiesof international organisations

    International organisations are organised in different ways to deliver on their normative activities and, more generally, on their contribution to regulatory co-operation. There are differences in their governance arrangements and in their operational modalities. Past decades have seen the emergence of new forms of international platforms - such as the trans-governmental networks of regulators. This chapter analyses the variety in the governance and operational modalities of international organisations based on the answers to the 2015 OECD Survey of International Organisations. It provides an overview of membership, governance structure, decision making processes, legal and policy instruments and budget and staff of international organisations.

  • Implementation and impacts of the instruments of international organisations

    There is generally limited structured evidence on the impact of the activities and instruments developed by international organisations in support of global rules and co-ordinated regulatory approaches. The difficulty is amplified by the fact that implementation of global standards relies strongly on national levels and its monitoring may be outside the scope of the responsibility of international organisations. This chapter analyses how international organisations support and track implementation and impacts of their instruments based on the answers to the 2015 OECD Survey of International Organisations.

  • How do international organisations ensure the quality of their rule-making process?

    International organisations have, over the years, developed processes and practices to support the quality of their rule-making. However, systematic evidence on the use of different regulatory quality disciplines in international rule-making is lacking. In order to fill this information gap, the 2015 OECD Survey of International Organisations has collected information on the stakeholder engagement and evaluation practices of international organisations. This chapter provides an overview of the extent to which surveyed international organisations engage stakeholders and carry some forms of ex ante or ex post evaluation of the norms and standards that they develop.

  • The institutional landscape in which international organisations operate

    International organisations do not operate in a vacuum. Most of them evolve in very dynamic areas, involving the presence of many other organisations and initiatives (international and regional, public and private). This chapter provides an overview of the institutional landscape in which international organisations operate and of their co-ordination based on the answers to the 2015 OECD Survey of International Organisations.

  • Assessing the success of international regulatory co-operation as provided by international organisations

    There is limited systematic analysis and research on the successes and failures of international organisations in promoting international regulatory co-operation. This chapter provides an overview of the answers provided by international organisations to the 2015 OECD Survey of International Organisations on their perceived factors of success, challenges and lessons learnt in facilitating co-operation across members.

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  • Expand / Collapse Hide / Show all Abstracts Profiles of international organisations

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    • Asian Harmonization Working Party (AHWP)

      AHWP was founded in 1996-97 by a group of committed regulatory affairs professionals in Asia Pacific and from the growing interest of regulators in working towards greater harmonisation in medical device regulation in Asia. After the 1998 AHWP meeting in Sydney, Australia, the AHWP member economies began to latch into the Global Harmonization Task Force on Medical Devices (GHTF) principles on harmonisation and co-operation. In September 2000, the AHWP established a technical committee in Ottawa, Canada.

    • Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC)

      APEC is the premier Asia-Pacific economic forum. Its primary goal is to support sustainable economic growth and prosperity in the Asia- Pacific region. APEC is united in its drive to build a dynamic and harmonious Asia-Pacific community by championing free and open trade and investment, promoting and accelerating regional economic integration, encouraging economic and technical co-operation, enhancing human security, and facilitating a favourable and sustainable business environment. Its initiatives turn policy goals into concrete results and agreements into tangible benefits.

    • ASTM International

      Committed to serving global societal needs, ASTM International positively impacts public health and safety, consumer confidence and overall quality of life. ASTM International integrates consensus standards, developed with its international membership of volunteer technical experts, and innovative services to improve lives.

    • Secretariats of the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions (BRS Conventions)

      The overarching objective of the Basel Convention is to protect human health and the environment against the adverse effects of hazardous wastes.

    • Caribbean Community (CARICOM)

      The Community has the following objectives:
      a) improved standards of living and work;
      b) full employment of labour and other factors of production;
      c) accelerated, co-ordinated and sustained economic development and convergence;
      d) expansion of trade and economic relations with third States;
      e) enhanced levels of international competitiveness;
      f) organisation for increased production and productivity;
      g) the achievement of a greater measure of economic leverage and effectiveness of Member States in dealing with third States, groups of States and entities of any description;
      h) enhanced co-ordination of Member States’ foreign and (foreign) economic policies;
      i) enhanced functional co-operation.

    • Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD)

      The objectives of the Convention on Biological Diversity are the conservation of biological diversity, the sustainable use of its components and the fair and equitable sharing of the benefits arising out of the utilisation of genetic resources, including by appropriate access to genetic resources and by appropriate transfer of relevant technologies, taking into account all rights over those resources and to technologies, and by appropriate funding. The Secretariat of CBD was established to support the goals of the Convention.

    • Secretariat of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES)

      The CITES is an international agreement between governments. Its aim is to ensure that international trade in specimens of wild animals and plants does not threaten their survival. The functions of CITES include assisting with communication and monitoring the implementation of the Convention to ensure that its provisions are respected; undertaking, under agreed programmes, occasional scientific and technical studies into issues affecting the implementation of the Convention; making recommendations regarding the implementation of the Convention, etc.

    • Common Market for East/Southern Africa (COMESA)

      The mandate of COMESA is to create a large economic and trading unit that is capable of overcoming some of the barriers that are faced by individual Member States.

    • European Commission (EC)

      The Commission's main roles are set out in Article 17 of the Lisbon Treaty. They include to:
      a) Set objectives and priorities for action, outlined yearly in the Commission Work Programme and work towards delivering them
      b). Propose legislation, which is then adopted by the legislators, the European Parliament and the Council of Ministers;
      c). Enforce European law (where necessary with the help of the Court of Justice of the EU);
      d). Manage and implement EU policies and the budget;
      e). Represent the Union outside Europe (negotiating trade agreements between the EU and other countries, for example).

    • UN Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA)

      The ESCWA provides a framework for the formulation and harmonization of sectorial policies for member countries, a platform for congress and co-ordination, a home for expertise and knowledge, and an information observatory. ESCWA activities are co-ordinated with the divisions and main offices of the Headquarters of the United Nations, specialized agencies, and international and regional organisations, including the League of Arab States and its subsidiary bodies, and the Gulf Cooperation Council.

    • Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO)

      The mandate of FAO is raising levels of nutrition and standards of living of the peoples under their respective jurisdictions, securing improvements in the efficiency of the production and distribution of all food and agricultural products, and bettering the condition of rural populations, and thus contributing toward an expanding world economy. In order to fulfil its mandate, FAO’s activities are driven by the following five strategic objectives: 1) Help eliminate hunger, food insecurity and malnutrition; 2) make agriculture, forestry and fisheries more productive and sustainable; 3) reduce rural poverty; 4) enable inclusive and efficient agricultural and food systems; and 5) increase the resilience of livelihoods to threats and crises.

    • International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)

      The IAEA works with its Member States and multiple partners worldwide to promote the safe, secure and peaceful use of nuclear technologies.

    • International Accreditation Forum (IAF)

      The primary purpose of IAF is two-fold. Firstly, to ensure that its accreditation body members only accredit bodies that are competent to do the work they undertake and are not subject to conflicts of interest. Secondly, to establish mutual recognition arrangements (MLA) between its accreditation body members, which reduce risk to business and its customers by ensuring that an accredited certificate may be relied upon anywhere in the world. The MLA contributes to the freedom of world trade by eliminating technical barriers to trade. IAF works to find the most effective way of achieving a single system that will allow companies with an accredited conformity assessment certificate in one part of the world, to have that certificate recognised elsewhere in the world. The objective of the MLA is that it will cover all accreditation bodies in all countries in the world, thus eliminating the need for suppliers of products or services to be certified in each country where they sell their products or services. Certified once – accepted everywhere.

    • International Association of Insurance Supervisors (IAIS)

      IAIS is the international standard setting body responsible for developing and assisting in the implementation of principles, standards and other supporting material for the supervision of the insurance sector. The mission of the IAIS is to promote effective and globally consistent supervision of the insurance industry in order to develop and maintain fair, safe and stable insurance markets for the benefit and protection of policyholders and to contribute to global financial stability.

    • International Air Transport Association (IATA)

      IATA is the trade association for the world’s airlines. It supports many areas of aviation activity and helps formulate industry policy on critical aviation issues. It is the prime vehicle for inter-airline co-operation in promoting safe, reliable, secure and economical air services for the benefit of the world's consumers.

    • International Competition Network (ICN)

      The ICN’s mission statement is to advocate the adoption of superior standards and procedures in competition policy around the world, formulate proposals for procedural and substantive convergence, and seek to facilitate effective international co-operation to the benefit of member agencies, consumers and economies worldwide.

    • International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC)

      The mission of the IEC is to be globally recognised as the leading provider of Standards, conformity assessment systems and related services needed to facilitate international trade and enhance user value in the fields of electricity, electronics and associated technologies.

    • International Federation of Accountants (IFAC)

      IFAC serves the public interest and strengthens the accountancy profession by: supporting the development of high-quality international standards; promoting the adoption and implementation of these standards; building the capacity of professional accountancy organisations; and speaking out on public interest issues.

    • International Laboratory Accreditation Cooperation (ILAC)

      The primary purpose of ILAC is to establish an international arrangement between member accreditation bodies based on peer evaluation and mutual acceptance. ILAC is the principal international co-operation for:
      a) developing and harmonising laboratory and inspection body accreditation practices;
      b) recognising accredited calibration laboratories, testing laboratories, medical testing laboratories and inspection bodies internationally under the ILAC Mutual Recognition Arrangement (ILAC MRA);
      c) promoting laboratory and inspection body accreditation to industry, governments, regulators and consumers;
      d) assisting and supporting developing accreditation systems.

    • International Medical Device Regulators Forum (IMDRF)

      The mandate of IMDRF is to accelerate international medical device regulatory harmonization. The IMDRF's Management Committee, composed of regulatory officials, provides guidance on strategies, policies, directions, membership and activities. Furthermore, the Management Committee oversees Ad Hoc Working Groups which may draw upon expertise from various stakeholder groups such as industry, academia, healthcare professionals, and consumer and patient groups.

    • International Monetary Fund (IMF)

      The IMF is an organisation of 189 countries, working to foster global monetary co-operation, secure financial stability, facilitate internationaltrade, promote high employment and sustainable economic growth, and reduce poverty around the world. The IMF's primary purpose is to ensure the stability of the international monetary system – the system of exchange rates and international payments that enables countries (and their citizens) to transact with each other. 

    • International Maritime Organization (IMO)

      The mission of the IMO, as a United Nations specialised agency, is to promote safe, secure, environmentally sound, efficient and sustainable shipping through co-operation. This will be accomplished by adopting the highest practicable standards of maritime safety and security, efficiency of navigation and prevention and control of pollution from ships, as well as through consideration of the related legal matters and effective implementation of IMO’s instruments with a view to their universal and uniform application.

    • International Organization of Securities Commissions (IOSCO)

      By providing high quality technical assistance, education and training, and research to its members and other regulators, IOSCO seeks to build sound global capital markets and a robust global regulatory framework. IOSCO members have resolved to co-operate in developing, implementing and promoting adherence to internationally recognised and consistent standards of regulation, oversight and enforcement in order to protect investors, maintain fair, efficient and transparent markets, and seek to address systemic risks; to enhance investor protection and promote investor confidence in the integrity of securities markets, through strengthened information exchange and co-operation in enforcement against misconduct and in supervision of markets and market intermediaries; and to exchange information at both global and regional levels on their respective experiences in order to assist the development of markets, strengthen market infrastructure and implement appropriate regulation.

    • International Organization for Standardization (ISO)

      The mission of ISO is the development of voluntary international standards. A standard is a document that provides information that can be used consistently to ensure that materials, products, processes and services are fit for their purpose.

    • International Telecommunication Union (ITU)

      The ITU is the United Nations specialised agency for information and communication technologies. It allocates global radio spectrum and satellite orbits, develops the technical standards that ensure networks and technologies seamlessly interconnect, and strives to improve access to ICTs to undeserved communities worldwide. ITU is committed to connecting the entire world’s people – wherever they live and whatever their means. Through its work ITU protects and supports everyone’s fundamental right to communicate.

    • North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO)

      The NATO’s essential purpose is to safeguard the freedom and security of its members through political and military means. NATO promotes democratic values and encourages consultation and co-operation on defence and security issues to build trust and, in the long run, prevent conflict. NATO is committed to the peaceful resolution of disputes. If diplomatic efforts fail, it has the military capacity needed to undertake crisis-management operations. These are carried out under Article 5 of the Washington Treaty (NATO’s founding treaty) or under a UN mandate, alone or in co-operation with other countries and international organisations.

    • Organization of American States (OAS)

      The mandate of the OAS is to achieve among its Member States an order of peace and justice, to promote their solidarity, to strengthen their collaboration, and to defend their sovereignty, their territorial integrity, and their independence.

      “The Organization of American States, in order to put into practice the principles on which it is founded and to fulfil its regional obligations under the Charter of the United Nations, proclaims the following essential purposes:
      a) to strengthen the peace and security of the continent; 
      b) to promote and consolidate representative democracy, with due respect for the principle of non-intervention;
      c) to prevent possible causes of difficulties and to ensure the pacific settlement of disputes that may arise among the Member States;
      d) to provide for common action on the part of those States in the event of aggression;
      e) to seek the solution of political, juridical, and economic problems that may arise among them;
      f) to promote, by cooperative action, their economic, social, and cultural development;
      g) to eradicate extreme poverty, which constitutes an obstacle to the full democratic development of the peoples of the hemisphere; and
      h) to achieve an effective limitation of conventional weapons that will make it possible to devote the largest amount of resources to the economic and social development of the Member States". (Article 2 of the Charter of the OAS)

    • Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD)

      “The aims of the Organisation shall be to promote policies designed:
      a) to achieve the highest sustainable economic growth and employment and a rising standard of living in member countries, while maintaining financial stability, and thus to contribute to the development of the world economy;
      b) to contribute to sound economic expansion in Member as well as non-member countries in the process of economic development; and
      c) to contribute to the expansion of world trade on a multilateral, non-discriminatory basis in accordance with international obligations.” (Article 1 of the OECD Convention)

    • World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE)

      The OIE is the inter-governmental organisation responsible for improving animal health worldwide. The mandate of the OIE is to ensure transparency in the global animal disease situation; collect, analyse and disseminate veterinary scientific information; encourage international solidarity in the control of animal diseases; safeguard world trade by publishing health standards for international trade in animals and animal products; improve the legal framework and resources of national veterinary services; provide a better guarantee of food of animal origin and to promote animal welfare through a science-based approach. The adopted standards are recognised under the SPS agreement of the WTO/OMC.

    • International Organisation of La Francophonie (OIF)

      The mandate of OIF is to embody the active solidarity between its 80 Member States and governments (54 members, 3 associate members and 23 observers).The OIF represents one of the biggest linguistic zones in the world. Its members share more than just a common language. They also share the humanist values promoted by the French language.

    • International Organization of Legal Metrology (OIML)

      “The mission of the OIML is to enable economies to put in place effective legal metrology infrastructures that are mutually compatible and internationally recognised, for all areas for which governments take responsibility, such as those which facilitate trade, establish mutual confidence and harmonise the level of consumer protection worldwide.” (OIML B 15:2011, OIMLStrategy)

    • International Organisation of Vine and Wine (OIV)

      The objectives of the OIV shall be as follows:
      a) to inform its members of measures whereby the concerns of producers, consumers and other players in the vine and wine products sector may be taken into consideration;
      b) to assist other international organisations, both intergovernmental and non-governmental, especially those which carry out standardisation activities;
      c) to contribute to international harmonisation of existing practices and standards and, as necessary, to the preparation of new international standards in order to improve the conditions for producing and marketing vine and wine products, and to help ensure that the interests of consumers are taken into account.

    • Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW)

      The OPCW Member States share the collective goal of preventing chemistry from ever again being used for warfare, thereby strengthening international security. To this end, the Convention contains four key provisions:
      a) Destroying all existing chemical weapons under international verification by the OPCW;
      b) Monitoring chemical industry to prevent new weapons from re-emerging;
      c) Providing assistance and protection to States Parties against chemical threats;
      d) Fostering international co-operation to strengthen implementation of the Convention and promote the peaceful use of chemistry. In 2013, in recognition of its extensive efforts to eliminate chemical weapons, the OPCW was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.

    • Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE)

      The OSCE has a comprehensive approach to security that encompasses politico-military, economic and environmental, and human aspects. It therefore addresses a wide range of security-related concerns, including arms control, confidence- and security-building measures, human rights, national minorities, democratisation, policing strategies, counter-terrorism and economic and environmental activities. All 57 participating States enjoy equal status, and decisions are taken by consensus on a politically, but not legally binding basis.

    • Intergovernmental Organisation for International Carriage by Rail (OTIF)

      The aim of OTIF is to promote, improve and facilitate international rail traffic, in particular by establishing and developing systems of uniform law in the contract of international carriage of passengers and goods in international rail traffic, in the contract of use of wagons as means of transport in international rail traffic, in the contract of use of infrastructure in international rail traffic, and the carriage of dangerous goods in international rail traffic; by contributing to the removal of certain obstacles to the crossing of frontiers in international rail traffic; by contributing to interoperability and technical harmonisation in the rail sector; by establishing a uniform procedure for the technical admission of railway material intended for use in international traffic; by monitoring the application of all the rules and recommendations established by the organisation.

    • Secretariat for the Vienna Convention and its Montreal Protocol – Ozone Layer (OZONE)

      The Ozone Secretariat (OZONE) is the Secretariat for the Vienna Convention for the Protection of the Ozone Layer and for the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer. The mission of the Ozone Secretariat is to facilitate and support the Parties to the Vienna Convention and the Montreal Protocol and other stakeholders as appropriate, in implementing actions to protect and heal the ozone layer against adverse impacts resulting from its modification, thus protecting human health and the environment, including minimising impacts on climate.

    • Pharmaceutical Inspection Co-operation Scheme (PIC/S)

      The purpose of the PIC/S is, with due regard to public health: to pursue and strengthen the co-operation established between the participating authorities in the field of inspection and related areas with a view to maintaining the mutual confidence and promoting quality assurance of inspections; to provide the framework for all necessary exchange of information and experience; to co-ordinate mutual training for inspectors and for other technical experts in related fields; to continue common efforts towards the improvement and harmonisation of technical standards and procedures regarding the inspection of the manufacture of medicinal products and the testing of medicinal products by official control laboratories; to continue common efforts for the development, harmonisation and maintenance of good manufacturing practice, and to extend the co-operation to other competent authorities having the national arrangements necessary to apply equivalent standards and procedures with a view to contributing to global harmonisation.

    • Strategic Approach to International Chemicals Management (SAICM)

      The Strategic Approach to International Chemicals Management (SAICM) is a policy framework to promote chemical safety around the world. SAICM has as its overall objective the achievement of the sound management of chemicals throughout their life cycle so that, by 2020, chemicals are produced and used in ways that minimise significant adverse impacts on human health and the environment.

    • United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)

      As the specialised agency of the United Nations focusing on Development, UNDP has a mandate of supporting countries in their development path, and co-ordinating the UN System at the country level. The UNDP works in more than 170 countries and territories, helping to achieve the eradication of poverty, and the reduction of inequalities and exclusion. UNDP helps countries to develop policies, leadership skills, partnering abilities, institutional capabilities and build resilience in order to sustain development results.

    • United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE)

      The United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE), as a multilateral platform, facilitates greater economic integration and co-operation among its 56 Member States and promotes sustainable development

    • United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP)

      The UNEP is the leading global environmental authority that sets the global environmental agenda, promotes the coherent implementation of the environmental dimension of sustainable development within the United Nations system and serves as an authoritative advocate for the global environment. The mission of UNEP is to provide leadership and encourage partnership in caring for the environment by inspiring, informing, and enabling nations and peoples to improve their quality of life without compromising that of future generations.

    • United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO)

      The mandate of UNIDO, as described in the Lima Declaration adopted at the fifteenth session of the UNIDO General Conference in 2013, is to promote and accelerate inclusive and sustainable industrial development in developing countries and economies in transition. “The primary objective of the Organization shall be the promotion of and acceleration of industrial development in the developing countries with the view to assisting in the establishment of a new international economic order. The Organization shall also promote industrial development and co-operation on global, regional and national, as well as on sectoral level” (Article 1 of the UNIDO Convention).

    • United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC)

      UNODC was established to assist the United Nations in better addressing a co-ordinated and comprehensive response to the interrelated issues of illicit trafficking in and abuse of drugs, crime prevention and criminal justice, international terrorism, transnational organised crime and corruption. These goals are pursued through research, guidance and support to governments in the adoption and implementation of various crime, drug, terrorism, and corruption related conventions, treaties and guidelines, as well as technical/financial assistance to member governments in these fields.

    • World Tourism Organization (UNWTO)

      UNWTO promotes tourism as a driver of economic growth, inclusive development and environmental sustainability and offers leadership and support to the sector in advancing knowledge and tourism policies worldwide. UNWTO encourages the implementation of the Global Code of Ethics for Tourism, to maximize tourism’s socio-economic contribution while minimising its possible negative impacts, and is committed to promoting tourism as an instrument in achieving the United Nations Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), geared towards reducing poverty and fostering sustainable development.

    • Universal Postal Union (UPU)

      The UPU aims at securing the organisation and improvement of the postal services and promoting in this sphere the development of international collaboration. Accordingly, the UPU constitutes the primary forum for co-operation between postal sector players, and it helps to ensure a truly universal network of up-to-date products and services. In this way, the organisation fulfils an advisory, mediating and liaison role, and provides technical assistance where needed. It sets the rules for international postal exchanges and makes recommendations to foster sustainable growth in letter-post, parcel, postal payment and other international postal services, and to improve overall quality of service for customers.

    • World Customs Organization (WCO)

      The WCO’s mission is to improve the effectiveness and the efficiency of its members across the globe. While three-quarters of its members are developing countries, the WCO’s combined membership is collectively responsible for managing and processing more than 98% of world trade. The responsibilities linked to the international movement of goods, people and means of transport have expanded and will continue to do so, ranging from traditional Customs activities such as the collection of revenue to activities as diverse as environmental protection, combating drug trafficking and money laundering, and ensuring supply chain and revenue security.

    • World Health Organization (WHO)

      The objective of the WHO shall be the attainment by all peoples of the highest possible level of health.

    • World Intellectual Property Rights Organization (WIPO)

      Overall, the mission of WIPO is to lead the development of a balanced and effective international intellectual property (IP) system that enables innovation and creativity for the benefit of all. The two main objectives pursued by WIPO as per its constitutive treaty are (i) to promote the protection of intellectual property through co-operation among States and, where appropriate, in collaboration with any other international organization; and (ii) to ensure administrative co-operation among the intellectual property Unions established by the treaties that WIPO administers.

    • World Meteorological Organization (WMO)

      The WMO is the UN system's authoritative voice on the state and behaviour of the Earth's atmosphere, its interaction with the oceans, the climate it produces and the resulting distribution of water resources. The vision of WMO is to provide world leadership in expertise and international co-operation in weather, climate, hydrology and water resources and related environmental issues and thereby contribute to the safety and well-being of people throughout the world and to the economic benefit of all nations.

    • World Trade Organization (WTO/OMC)

      WTO/OMC is the only global international organisation dealing with the rules of trade between nations. Its main function is to ensure that trade flows as smoothly, predictably and freely as possible. It does this by: administering trade agreements; acting as a forum for trade negotiations; settling trade disputes; reviewing national trade policies; assisting developing countries in trade policy issues, through technical assistance and training programmes; and, co-operating with other international organisations.

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  • Classifications of IOs

    The following tables present three possible groupings of international organisations (IOs): by nature, by main activity and by purpose. These groupings do not aim at representing a formal classification of IOs. Rather, the report uses this information to highlight the occurrence of trends and common practices across similar IOs.

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