The website of the International Bureau of Weights and Measures (BIPM)1 (BIPM, 2021[34]) contains official (e.g. Metre Convention, Concession Agreement and Headquarters Agreement) and explanatory (e.g. compendium and notes) available in English and French. Resolutions of the General Conference on Weights and Measures (CGPM), decisions and recommendations of the International Committee on Weights and Measures (CIPM), “International Technical Standards” (International System of Units, SI and Coordinated Universal Time, UTC), CIPM MRA (Mutual Recognition Arrangement), related documents and BIPM Key Comparison Database (KCDB), International Vocabulary of Metrology (VIM and Guide to the Expression of Measurement Uncertainty), GUM), maintained and promoted by the Joint Committee for Metrology Guides (JCGM), an authoritative list of available reference materials, measurement methods and higher-order measurement laboratories maintained by the Joint Committee for Traceability in Laboratory Medicine (JCTLM), as well as joint statements, memoranda of understanding and liaison partnership agreements. [35] IFAC (2021), Handbook of International Public Sector Accounting Announcements, The publication State of WTO Legal Instruments (WTO, 2020[43]) provides a regular, consolidated and digitally accessible overview of the main developments concerning the organisation`s contractual instruments. The current edition contains information on WTO accessions, treaty amendments, certifications and procedures for goods, services and MPA schedules of WTO members since the publication of the last edition in 2015. Recognition of equivalence of legal decisions, norms and standards, compliance and certification procedures, and product and other requirements in different jurisdictions. Depending on the type, they can be both legally binding (usually bilateral government MRAs) and non-binding (usually multilateral MRAs). Differences in terminology compared to international instruments can also pose a challenge to collaboration between IOs. These differences are taken into account, in particular, in agreements on the sharing of instruments or on the reference or approval of instruments of other organizations. Common understanding, definitions and coordinated processes can help IOs work together to achieve common goals and overcome differences in rule-making processes without necessarily going so far as to develop common tools (see Chapter 5).

For example, the definition of key terms used in the United Nations Treaty Collection2 describes certain general characteristics and objectives of treaties, conventions and declarations and helps clarify how these terms are used in the context of the United Nations. Similarly, the Six WTO/TBT Principles of International Standardization provide the framework for the development of “international standards” (as understood by the WTO) in various standard-setting bodies (OECD/WTO, 2019[6]). The IPPC is a treaty to prevent the introduction and spread of pests of plants and plant products and currently has 177 government beneficiaries. The IPPC Committee has developed phytosanitary guidelines and serves as both a reporting point and a source of information. Seven regional plant protection organizations have been established under the auspices of the IPPC. For example, the North American Plant Protection Organization (NAPPO) includes the United States, Canada and Mexico, which participate through APHIS, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) and the Plant Health Directorate, respectively. The European and Mediterranean Plant Protection Organization (EPPO) is an intergovernmental organization, also within the IPPC, which is responsible for phytosanitary cooperation between 50 countries in the European and Mediterranean regions. In international law, a treaty is a legally binding agreement between states (countries). A treaty may be called an agreement, protocol, pact, agreement, etc.; It is the content of the agreement, not its name, that makes it a treaty.

Thus, both the Geneva Protocol and the Biological Weapons Convention are treaties, even though neither has the word “treaty” in its name. Specifically, under U.S. law, a treaty is a legally binding agreement between countries that requires ratification and the “deliberation and consent” of the Senate. All other agreements (treaties in the international sense) are called executive agreements, but are nevertheless binding on the United States under international law. Within the framework of the ILO, a prescribed deadline has been set for the elaboration and adoption of ILO instruments. This period should be respected, but some flexibility is provided. When developing a project, committees must inform the Central Secretariat whether the project will last 18, 24, 36 or 48 months. With the exception of the 48-month runway, a project that goes beyond the specified period of time will be moved to the next runway. If the development of a project takes more than 48 months, a formal request for an extension is submitted by the committee. The Technical Council may decide to approve or reject the renewal request.

Committees are encouraged to meet their deadlines. A clearer picture of existing international instruments and their legal implications is essential to help IOs make more informed decisions about which instrument to develop and why. A typology of instrument families can help IOs to coordinate common instruments more easily, despite their different legal and institutional frameworks. It will also help national policymakers navigate the complex international landscape and make more systematic use of different instruments to support their national policy objectives. Treaties, standard-setting and policy instruments such as recommendations and policy statements, as well as incentive instruments such as model laws, are mainly adopted by intergovernmental organisations and convention secretariats (OECD, 2016[1]). International technical standards are usually developed by private international standardization organizations, which usually focus on these instruments.

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