Background on the IO Partnership

International organisations (IOs) play a crucial role in supporting international regulatory co-operation and helping to achieve public policy objectives. They do so by providing their members with platforms for ongoing multilateral dialogue, exchange of experience and the development of common approaches. Ensuring the quality of the international instruments they help develop is key to promote global public goods, tackle transboundary issues, including core policy objectives including achieving the Sustainable Development Goals.

The Partnership on International Organisations for Effective International Rulemaking (IO Partnership) offers a voluntary platform to foster collective action among secretariats of IOs and IO constituencies to promote greater quality, effectiveness and impact of international instruments. Ultimately, this work aims to help to build greater confidence among domestic regulators and legislators that international instruments meet their policy aspirations and needs, and can support the greater uptake in the national legal framework.

The work of the IO Partnership is advanced around five focus themes identified as priorities in 2016. Dedicated working groups – led by Secretariats of IO partners designated as focal points – join efforts to develop typologies and to build a common understanding of terminology, by sharing existing knowledge, collecting evidence, and exchanging experience and practices of rulemaking in their respective areas of activity.

Since 2014, some 50 secretariats of IOs have worked together to strengthen the quality, effectiveness and impact of international instruments through a voluntary partnership managed by the OECD:

  • Seven annual meetings and intermediary brainstorming sessions fostering dialogue between IO representatives, country delegates and academics.

  • Academic discussions and workshops with the Academic Friends of the IO Partnership, to gather evidence and research on international rulemaking.

  • Two surveys on the landscape of IOs (2015) and the rulemaking practices of IOs (2018).

  • 2 November 2016: Launch of a cross-cutting report on International regulatory co-operation: the role of international organisations in fostering better rules of globalisation, a unique stock-taking of the governance modalities and rulemaking practices of some 50 IOs, at the OECD Headquarters.

  • 10 April 2019: Launch of a brochure on the Contribution of International Organisations to a Rule-based International System, which shed lights on key features of the international rulemaking and standard-setting landscape, at IFAC Headquarters.

  • Specific studies on the governance and rulemaking practices of ASTM International, BIPM, FAO, IMO, ISO, OECD, OIE, OIML, UNECE, WHO, WTO.

  • Four thematic webinars providing for in-depth discussion and exchange of experiences on the challenges and initiatives of IO rulemaking in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. A summary of the discussions was released in late 2020.

  • A Joint Statement from the Secretariats of the International Organisations to continue working together to improve the quality of international rulemaking.

This Compendium of International Organisations’ Practices: Working Towards More Effective International Instruments (IO Compendium) was developed in the context of the IO Partnership. It was prepared in a collaborative approach between the OECD Secretariat, the IO Partnership Focal Points and the secretariats of partner IOs, via five dedicated working groups. A first draft was circulated to the IO Partnership and other participants in the 7th Annual Meeting of the IO Partnership to serve as background material for the discussions. It was submitted for comments to the Regulatory Policy Committee (RPC), the IO Partnership and Academic Friends of the IO Partnership in October-November 2020 and in March-April 2021. The final document is a revision based on comments from OECD RPC delegates, IO partner and Academic friends.

The chapters of this IO Compendium include an introduction, rationale, typology, key principles and state of play in the five areas of the IO Compendium (Box 1) following the outline defined in a scoping note discussed in November 2019 at a technical meeting of the IO Partnership and with the OECD RPC [GOV/RPC/RD(2019)7]. The content builds on data collected through two surveys of IO secretariats carried out in 2015 and 2018,1 periodic discussions held within the IO Partnership and Working Groups between November 2019 and July 2020, as well as analytical work conducted in the context of the IO Partnership since 2014.2 It also builds on lessons of individual IOs gathered through some 50 detailed IO practice templates filled in by partner IOs throughout 2020. Overall, the IO Compendium is supported by the work of the OECD RPC on IRC looking into the practices for international rulemaking of IOs.


← 1. Respectively referenced throughout the document as “2015 IO Survey” and “2018 IO Survey”.

← 2.

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