KAB News

Improving International Rulemaking With the IO Partnership

Over the past decades, the interconnectedness of countries and the integration of the world economy have increased drastically, in part due to the many technological revolutions of the last 30 years. The rapid flow of goods, services, people and finance across borders, as well as the diffusion of common threats such as pollution and pandemics, are testing the effectiveness and the capacity of domestic regulatory frameworks.

International organisations (IOs) play a crucial role in helping countries overcome the fragmentation of national rules and achieve their public policy objectives. They do so by providing platforms for continuous cross-border dialogue, exchange of experience, the development of common approaches and rules and/or the recognition of their respective regulatory infrastructure. These activities are core to an effective international governance system.

Recognising the role of international organisations to underpin common rules but also the need to strive for ever more transparency, an evidence based approach and cooperation, the secretariats of 50 international organisations (including IAF and ILAC) have gathered since 2014 in a Partnership of international organisations for effective international rulemaking. The IO Partnership fosters collective action among a wide range of international organisations of various natures and mandates to promote greater quality, effectiveness and impact of international rules. It is a voluntary platform managed by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) operating through:

  • Annual meetings to foster dialogue on shared challenges and support common understanding on good practices in international rulemaking;
  • Analytical work using OECD’s long-standing method of peer exchange and evidence-based analysis;
  • Regular exchange of practices and experience via a collaborative e-platform;
  • Five working groups led by and composed of IOs to address in-depth issues in the areas of 1) the variety in international norms; 2) implementation of IO instruments; 3) efficient stakeholder engagement; 4) evaluation of IO instruments; and 5) the opportunities for co-ordination across IOs.
  • A group of Academic Friends of the IO partnership to harness expertise and ongoing research of relevant academics.

To date, this collaboration has led to the publication of:

1) a report taking stock of the governance modalities and rulemaking practices of 50 IOs (International regulatory co-operation: the role of international organisations in fostering better rules of globalisation),

2) a brochure on The contribution of international organisations to a rule-based international system shedding light on the key features of the international rulemaking landscape,

3) 10 studies of the rulemaking practices of specific IOs: the Bureau International des Poids et Mesures; the International Maritime Organization; the Food and Agricultural Organization; the International Organization for Standardization; the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development; the International Organization for legal Metrology; the World Health Organization; the World Organisation for Animal Health; the World Trade Organization; and the UN Economic Commission for Europe,

4) In-depth discussion and exchange of experiences on IO rulemaking in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

On September 3rd, the 50 secretariats of the IO Partnership gathered virtually in the midst of an unprecedented global crisis for their 7th Annual Meeting. The event was an opportunity to issue a joint statement on their commitment to work together to improve the quality of international rulemaking.

Going forward, the IO Partnership is developing a practical tool to support IOs in improving their normative practices, the Compendium for International Organisations for Effective International Rule-making. The Compendium will be released in the spring of 2021.

Ultimately, this work aims to build greater confidence of domestic regulators and legislators in international rules and support greater use of good quality international instruments in national legislation. It builds on 30 years of OECD experience on regulatory quality.