APPENDIX ONE: A List Of Global Organizations

This Appendix consists of descriptions of global organizations, or at any rate those with sufficient clout to have some sort of global importance, many mentioned in the text of the book, under the four headings: 'Economic', 'Political', 'Cultural' and 'Legal'. Web addresses are also given.

Readers are invited to suggest organizations to be included in the lists. If you want to propose one, please write to, with Futures in the subject line, making your proposal and giving a description of the organization concerned in up to 200 words.


Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC):

APEC was established in 1989 to enhance economic growth and prosperity for the region and to strengthen the Asia-Pacific community. Unlike the WTO or other multilateral trade bodies, APEC has no treaty obligations required of its participants. Decisions made within APEC are reached by consensus and commitments are undertaken on a voluntary basis.

APEC has 21 members – referred to as "Member Economies" – which account for approximately 40% of the world's population, approximately 56% of world GDP and about 48% of world trade.

APEC's 21 Member Economies are Australia; Brunei Darussalam; Canada; Chile; People's Republic of China; Hong Kong, China; Indonesia; Japan; Republic of Korea; Malaysia; Mexico; New Zealand; Papua New Guinea; Peru; The Republic of the Philippines; The Russian Federation; Singapore; Chinese Taipei; Thailand; United States of America; Viet Nam.

APEC focuses on three key areas: Trade and Investment Liberalization; Business Facilitation; and Economic and Technical Cooperation.

Since its inception, APEC has worked to reduce tariffs and other trade barriers across the Asia-Pacific region, creating efficient domestic economies and dramatically increasing exports. Key to achieving APEC's vision are what are referred to as the 'Bogor Goals' of free and open trade and investment in the Asia-Pacific. Originally intended to be achieved by 2010 for industrialised economies and 2020 for developing economies, the goals have been deferred until 2020.

Bank for International Settlements (BIS):

BIS, based in Basle in Switzerland, describes itself as an international organisation which fosters international monetary and financial cooperation and serves as a bank for central banks. It has 55 member central banks.

BIS was established in 1930 to assist with the process of collecting WWI reparations from Germany, but quickly became a kind of central bankers' club. After WWII, the BIS had a key role in implementing and defending the Bretton Woods system. In the 1970s and 1980s, its focus was on managing cross-border capital flows following the oil crises and the international debt crisis.

The BIS came to the fore as an international regulator after oil and debt crises in the 1970's, emerging as the leader in developing regulatory supervision of internationally active banks. The collapse in 1974 of Bankhaus Herstatt in Germany and of the Franklin National Bank in the US prompted the G10 central bank Governors to set up the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision; the result was the 1988 Basel Capital Accord and its "Basel II " revision of 2001-06.

In November 2005, the Committee issued an updated version of the revised Framework incorporating the additional guidance set forth in the Committee's paper The Application of Basel II to Trading Activities and the Treatment of Double Default Effects (July 2005). On 4 July 2006, the Committee issued a comprehensive version of the Basel II Framework.

The Basel Capital Accord introduced a credit risk measurement framework for internationally active banks that became a globally accepted standard; the Basel II revision of this standard has been highly contentious, with many banks complaining that it is too prescriptive and inappropriate in some circumstances. While some modifications have been made, there is no escape from Basel II. Nominally the rules apply to international banking activity, but in reality it catches all banks, and national regulators (in practice, usually the very central banks which are members of the BIS) naturally apply Basel II to all of their 'client' banks.

In September 2011, the Basel Committee revised its capital standards in what is referred to as Basel III. While Basel II was about the risk-weighting of assets, Basel III is about tightening the definition of capital and requiring more of it. Implementation of Basel III is still in progress, and has been controversial.

The extreme complexity of modern capital markets defies the wit of ordinary parliamentarians, and it is probably inescapable that capital standards for lending institutions should be set by an arcane expert process. More, the highly evolved international ramifications and interconnections of the banking system make it unavoidable that there should be only one measurement system for capitalization. And hey presto, you have your globalized banking supervision system. There will be no turning back!

There are other BIS-based committees that help promote monetary and financial stability beyond the Banking Committee: the Committee on the Global Financial System (CGFS - since 1971), the Committee on Payment and Settlement Systems (CPSS - since 1990) and the Markets Committee (since 1964). In 1999, the Financial Stability Institute (FSI) was created to promote dissemination of the work undertaken by the supervisory community, and to provide practical training for financial sector supervisors worldwide.

These additional committees do not (yet) have formalized rule-making roles. The BIS says about them: 'The standing committees located at the BIS support central banks, and authorities in charge of financial stability more generally, by providing background analysis and policy recommendations.' It is a short step from 'policy recommendations' to 'codes of conduct' and de facto 'standards', one which will doubtless be taken in due course.

Financial Markets Association:

ACI was founded in France in 1955 following an agreement between foreign exchange dealers in Paris and London. In the years that followed, other national associations were formed and there are now affiliated financial markets associations with 14,000 members in 68 countries and individual members in another 15 countries. ACI has the largest membership of any of the international associations in the wholesale financial markets. The Head Office is based in Paris. In 1975 the first ACI Code of Conduct covering foreign exchange and euro-currency dealing was published.

The ACI's Model Code has been compiled in response to an urgent international need amongst dealers and brokers operating in the OTC foreign exchange, money and derivatives markets. The scope of The Model Code is wide ranging, encompassing the over-the-counter markets and instruments traded by international bank treasury departments. The diversity of markets and products now traded and arbitraged by bank dealers dictates that there will inevitably be some areas of overlap where separate individual or local market codes already exist.

Where the counterparties of a transaction are unable to resolve a dispute, which has arisen between them, the ACI Committee for Professionalism provides an Expert Determination Service in order to facilitate its resolution. Market participants are encouraged to avail themselves of this service in accordance with ACI Rules for Over-the- Counter Financial Instruments Disputes Resolution. The official language of The Model Code is English.

The International Accounting Standards Board:

The IASB grew out of a UK standard-setting organization during a 20-year process that culminated in the 1990s. Its standards, which are now known as International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) have been adopted by a great majority of non-US countries, including the European Union, Russia, South Africa, Hong Kong, Australia, and Singapore. All publicly traded EU companies have to prepare their consolidated accounts using IFRS as from 2005.

As in so many areas, it is the US which is the stand-out, using GAAP standards (Generally Applicable Accounting Procedures) which differ in some respects from IFRS, particularly as regards the treatment of goodwill. However, a process or reconciliation between IFRS and GAAP has been going on for the last ten years, and it is by now highly probable that final convergence will be agreed on within a few years.

International Air Transport Association (IATA):

IATA is an international industry trade group of airlines with 250 airline members representing 84% of international scheduled air traffic. It was formed in April 1945, in Havana, Cuba as a successor to the International Air Traffic Association, itself dating from 1919. IATA has the incompatible goals of assisting airline companies to achieve lawful competition and uniformity in prices. Both the EU and the USA are aiming to withdraw the exemptions that allow IATA to behave as a cartel, and some progress has been made in this direction.

However, IATA performs a useful regulatory function, assigning 3-letter IATA Airport Codes and 2-letter IATA Airline Designators, which are commonly used worldwide. It has developed widely accepted Arbitration Rules, was instrumental in establishing the Warsaw Convention, and has formulated an Intercarrier Agreement on Passenger Liability, inter alia. IATA also regulates the shipping of dangerous goods and publishes the IATA Dangerous Goods Regulations manual, a globally accepted field source reference for airlines shipping hazardous materials.

International Chamber of Commerce:

The ICC was founded in 1919 to promote trade and investment, open markets for goods and services, and the free flow of capital. During WWII, ICC transferred its operations to neutral Sweden.

ICC activities cover a broad spectrum, from arbitration and dispute resolution to making the case for open trade and the market economy system, business self-regulation, fighting corruption or combating commercial crime. The ICC International Court of Arbitration was founded in 1923. Since 1999, the Court has received new cases at a rate of more than 500 a year. The ICC is far from having a monopoly in arbitration, however: other centres, including London and Stockholm have set up flourishing arbitration courts which rival the ICC in Paris.

ICC's Uniform Customs and Practice for Documentary Credits (UCP 500) are the rules that banks apply to finance billions of dollars worth of world trade every year.

ICC Incoterms are standard international trade definitions used every day in countless thousands of contracts. ICC model contracts make life easier for small companies that cannot afford big legal departments.

ICC is a pioneer in business self-regulation of e-commerce. ICC codes on advertising and marketing are frequently reflected in national legislation and the codes of professional associations.

ICC says that it has direct access to national governments all over the world through its national committees. The organization's Paris-based international secretariat feeds business views into intergovernmental organizations on issues that directly affect business operations. ICC also says that it is the main business partner of the United Nations and its agencies. It spreads business expertise at UN summits on sustainable development, financing for development and the information society. ICC provides business input to the United Nations, the World Trade Organization, and many other intergovernmental bodies, both international and regional.

16 ICC commissions of experts from the private sector cover every specialized field of concern to international business. Subjects range from banking techniques to financial services and taxation, from competition law to intellectual property rights, telecommunications and information technology, from air and maritime transport to international investment regimes and trade policy.

Self-regulation is a common thread running through the work of the commissions. The conviction that business operates most effectively with a minimum of government intervention inspired ICC's voluntary codes. Marketing codes cover sponsoring, advertising practice, sales promotion, marketing and social research, direct sales practice, and marketing on the Internet. Launched in 1991, ICC's Business Charter for Sustainable Development provides 16 principles for good environmental conduct that have been endorsed by more than 2,300 companies and business associations.

In 1951 the International Bureau of Chambers of Commerce (IBCC) was created. In 2001, on the occasion of the 2nd World Chambers Congress in Korea, IBCC was renamed the World Chambers Federation (WCF), clarifying WCF as the world business organization's department for chamber of commerce affairs. WCF also administers the ATA Carnet system for temporary duty-free imports, a service delivered by chambers of commerce, which started in 1958 and is now operating in over 57 countries.

Another ICC service, the Institute for World Business Law was created in 1979 to study legal issues relating to international business. At the Cannes film festival every year, the Institute holds a conference on audiovisual law.

In the early 1980s, ICC set up three London-based services to combat commercial crime: the International Maritime Bureau, dealing with all types of maritime crime; the Counterfeiting Intelligence Bureau; and the Financial Investigation Bureau. A cybercrime unit was added in 1998. An umbrella organization, ICC Commercial Crime Services, coordinates the activities of the specialized anti-crime services.

ICC says that it makes policy in:
Banking Technique & Practice
Business in Society
Commercial Law & Practice
Customs & Trade Regulations
E-business, IT & Telecoms
Economic Policy
Environment & Energy
Financial Services & Insurance
Intellectual Property
Marketing & Advertising
Trade & Investment Policy
Transport & Logistics

International Fiscal Association:

The International Fiscal Association (IFA) was established in 1938 with its headquarters in the Netherlands.Its objects are the study and advancement of international and comparative law in regard to public finance, specifically international and comparative fiscal law and the financial and economic aspects of taxation. Since the end of the second World War IFA has played an essential role both in the development of certain principles of international taxation and in providing possible solutions to problems arising in their practical implementation. The IFA has 12,500 members in 110 countries, in 63 of which there are branches.

International Monetary Fund:

The IMF and its advisory sibling the OECD are the standard-bearers of economic orthodoxy. It is arguable that the IMF, whose primary stated purpose was exchange rate management, lost its way after the system of fixed exchange rates broke down under the weight of economic forces in the 1970s. Its high-water mark may have been Denis Healey's famous return to London in 1976 when the British Government had to accept humiliating conditions for IMF support of the pound.

Nowadays, even small countries feel able to defy the IMF's prescriptions, which can loosely be labelled Keynesian rather than Friedmanite; that's to say, dirigiste rather than liberal. Thus the tide of economic fashion has turned against the IMF, which as a proud (some would say, arrogant) international arbiter probably finds it hard to encompass fiscal relaxation.

The IMF's own (modernized) 'mission statement' is: 'The IMF is an organization of 184 countries, working to foster global monetary cooperation, secure financial stability, facilitate international trade, promote high employment and sustainable economic growth, and reduce poverty.'

Paradoxically, the nation states which fund the IMF probably see it as actively helpful towards their individual economic well-being; whereas the reality is that it forms part of a developing global carapace of regulation whose clutches individual member states are no longer able to escape. From this aspect, the crucial work of the IMF is standard-setting, an activity shared by all of the 'multilaterals', including also the World Bank and the Basle Committee on Banking Supervision on a fiduciary level and the OECD in fiscal affairs, to mention just the most prominent of global economic standard-setting bodies.

Says the IMF proudly of its role as a global financial policeman: 'The IMF and World Bank have endorsed internationally recognized standards and codes in 12 areas as important for their work and for which Reports on the Observance of Standards and Codes (ROSCs) are prepared. Standards in the areas of data, fiscal transparency, and monetary and financial policy transparency have been developed by the Fund while others have been developed by other standard setting bodies including the World Bank, the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision, and the Financial Action Task Force (FATF).

'ROSCs are prepared and published at the request of the member country by the IMF and/or World Bank in each of the 12 areas. ROSCs covering financial sector standards are usually prepared in the context of the Financial Sector Assessment Program. In some cases, detailed assessments of countries' observance of standards are also published.'

The IMF has also given its name to a Code of Conduct that emerged from persistent sovereign debt crises: The Principles for Stable Capital Flows and Fair Debt Restructuring in Emerging Markets. This was formulated in 2004 between the representatives of emerging market countries and private sector creditors.

The future of the IMF is problematic, and it may not survive the first half of the 21st century as an independent institution. Says Timothy D Adams, Undersecretary for International Affairs, US Treasury: 'The perception that the IMF is asleep at the wheel on its most fundamental responsibility – exchange rate surveillance – is very unhealthy for the institution and the international monetary system.' Perhaps that's unfair: the truth is that the market has taken over exchange rate management. The IMF has played a useful part in helping the development of sound fiscal regimes in many 1st, 2nd and 3rd world countries, but its task may nearly be done.

International Securities Services Association:

The ISSA was formed in 1979 in order to create an organisation able to collect and disseminate information on the developments in the rapidly changing international securities markets, and on the other hand to offer securities operations professionals a forum to exchange ideas and issues of common interest.

As early as 1988 ISSA published the ISSA 4 recommendations that helped pave the way for many of the G30 recommendations of 1989. ISSA also monitored the progress on the G30 recommendations over the years, and finally issued its own fully revised ISSA Recommendations 2000.

In 2004 The Group of Thirty (G30) mandated ISSA to monitor 5 of the recommendations in its January 2003 report "Global Clearing and Settlement: A Plan of Action."

International Standards Organization: /ISOOnline.frontpage

The ISO is the world's largest developer of standards. Although ISO's principal activity is the development of technical standards, ISO says that its standards also have important economic and social repercussions. 'ISO standards make a positive difference, not just to engineers and manufacturers for whom they solve basic problems in production and distribution, but to society as a whole.'

The following paragraphs are adapted from the ISO's own published material:

'ISO is a network of the national standards institutes of 157 countries, on the basis of one member per country, with a Central Secretariat in Geneva, Switzerland, that coordinates the system. ISO occupies a special position between the public and private sectors. This is because, on the one hand, many of its member institutes are part of the governmental structure of their countries, or are mandated by their government. On the other hand, other members have their roots uniquely in the private sector, having been set up by national partnerships of industry associations.

'ISO standards are useful to industrial and business organizations of all types, to governments and other regulatory bodies, to trade officials, to conformity assessment professionals, to suppliers and customers of products and services in both public and private sectors, and, ultimately, to people in general in their roles as consumers and end users.

'ISO standards contribute to making the development, manufacturing and supply of products and services more efficient, safer and cleaner. They make trade between countries easier and fairer. They provide governments with a technical base for health, safety and environmental legislation. They aid in transferring technology to developing countries. ISO standards also serve to safeguard consumers, and users in general, of products and services - as well as to make their lives simpler.

'For businesses, the widespread adoption of International Standards means that suppliers can base the development of their products and services on specifications that have wide acceptance in their sectors. This, in turn, means that businesses using International Standards are increasingly free to compete on many more markets around the world.

'For customers, the worldwide compatibility of technology which is achieved when products and services are based on International Standards brings them an increasingly wide choice of offers, and they also benefit from the effects of competition among suppliers.

'For governments, International Standards provide the technological and scientific bases underpinning health, safety and environmental legislation.

'ISO standards are voluntary. As a non-governmental organization, ISO has no legal authority to enforce their implementation. A certain percentage of ISO standards – mainly those concerned with health, safety or the environment – has been adopted in some countries as part of their regulatory framework, or is referred to in legislation for which it serves as the technical basis. Such adoptions are sovereign decisions by the regulatory authorities or governments of the countries concerned; ISO itself does not regulate or legislate. However, although ISO standards are voluntary, they may become a market requirement, as has happened in the case of ISO 9000 quality management systems, or of dimensions of freight containers and bank cards.

'ISO – together with IEC (International Electrotechnical Commission) and ITU (International Telecommunication Union) – has built a strategic partnership with the WTO (World Trade Organization) with the common goal of promoting a free and fair global trading system. The political agreements reached within the framework of the WTO require underpinning by technical agreements. ISO, IEC and ITU, as the three principal organizations in international standardization, have the complementary scopes, the framework, the expertise and the experience to provide this technical support for the growth of the global market.

'The WTO's Agreement on Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT) includes the Code of Good Practice for the Preparation, Adoption and Application of Standards. The TBT Agreement recognizes the important contribution that International Standards and conformity assessment systems can make to improving efficiency of production and facilitating international trade. Therefore, where International Standards exist or their completion is imminent, the Code states that standardizing bodies should use them as a basis for standards they develop. The Code requires that standardizing bodies that have accepted its terms notify this fact to the ISO/IEC Information Centre located at the ISO Central Secretariat. Standardizing bodies having accepted the Code must publish their work programmes and also notify the existence of their work programmes to the ISO/IEC Information Centre. On behalf of the WTO, ISO periodically publishes a Directory of standardizing bodies that have accepted the WTO TBT Standards Code.

'ISO collaborates with its partners in international standardization, the IEC (International Electrotechnical Commission) and ITU (International Telecommunication Union). The three organizations, all based in Geneva, Switzerland have formed the World Standards Cooperation in order to better coordinate their activities, as well as the implementation of International Standards.

'ISO is one of the few non-governmental organizations having an observer status in the World Trade Organization. Its contribution is increasingly solicited in relation to the elimination of technical barriers to trade.'

Although the ISO does not overtly attempt to make ethical or societal rules, its importance in the globalization process is very clear. Labelling, health and safety, and environmental issues are some of the areas in which its 'technical' standards must necessarily confront or even establish prevailing social standards. Already, it would be meaningless to talk about a national technical standard in the face of the ISO's over-arching competence, and it is difficult to see why a country would want to try. The histories of mobile phones and video recorders provide two examples of why global technical standards are both inevitable and even desirable.

International Swaps and Derivatives Association:

ISDA, which represents participants in the privately negotiated derivatives industry, is the largest global financial trade association, by number of member firms. ISDA was chartered in 1985, and today has over 750 member institutions from 52 countries on six continents. These members include most of the world's major institutions that deal in privately negotiated derivatives, as well as many of the businesses, governmental entities and other end users that rely on over-the-counter derivatives to manage efficiently the financial market risks inherent in their core economic activities.

Since its inception, ISDA has pioneered efforts to identify and reduce the sources of risk in the derivatives and risk management business. Among its most notable accomplishments are: developing the ISDA Master Agreement; publishing a wide range of related documentation materials and instruments covering a variety of transaction types; producing legal opinions on the enforceability of netting and collateral arrangements (available only to ISDA members); securing recognition of the risk-reducing effects of netting in determining capital requirements; promoting sound risk management practices, and advancing the understanding and treatment of derivatives and risk management from public policy and regulatory capital perspectives.

The 2005 Novation Protocol offers parties to the various Master Agreements published by ISDA an efficient means to agree to a uniform process by which consents to transfer of interests in Credit Derivative Transactions and Interest Rate Transactions (Covered Transactions as defined in the Protocol) may be obtained. The Protocol sets out a process by which the Transferor, the Transferee and the Remaining Party will communicate prior to or concurrent with a transfer by novation of a Covered Transaction and anticipates that the transfer must be requested and provided using one of the specified electronic means.

International Telecommunications Union:

The first International Telegraph Convention was signed in Paris in 1865 by 20 founding members, and when the International Telegraph Union (ITU) was established to facilitate subsequent amendments to this initial agreement, it began, in its own words, to draw up international legislation governing telephony.

The invention in 1896 of wireless telegraphy was quickly followed in 1906 by the signing (under the aegis of the ITU) of the first International Radiotelegraph Convention, and the annex to this Convention contained the first regulations governing wireless telegraphy. These regulations, which have since been expanded and revised by numerous radio conferences, are now known as the Radio Regulations.

The two conventions were combined in 1932 into the International Telecommunication Convention. A number of associated committees have responsibility for drawing up international standards, including (1927) the International Radio Consultative Committee (CCIR), (1924) the International Telephone Consultative Committee (CCIF), (1925) the International Telegraph Consultative Committee (CCIT). In 1956, the CCIT and the CCIF were merged to form the International Telephone and Telegraph Consultative Committee (CCITT)

In 1947 the ITU became a specialized agency of the United Nations. At the same time, the International Frequency Registration Board (IFRB) was established to coordinate the increasingly complicated task of managing the radio-frequency spectrum; in the same year, the Table of Frequency Allocations, introduced in 1912, was declared mandatory. Radio frequency disputes are dealt with internationally through ITU mechanisms.

Under the Constitution of the International Telecommunication Union, its purposes include:

  • To harmonize the actions of Member States and promote fruitful and constructive cooperation and partnership between Member States and Sector Members in the attainment of those ends;
  • To promote, at the international level, the adoption of a broader approach to the issues of telecommunications in the global information economy and society, by cooperating with other world and regional intergovernmental organizations and those non-governmental organizations concerned with telecommunications.

In 1992, allocations were made for the first time to serve the needs of a new kind of space service using non-geostationary satellites, known as Global Mobile Personal Communications by Satellite (GMPCS). The same year, spectrum was identified for IMT-2000, the ITU-developed next-generation global standard for digital mobile telephony. Due for commercial implementation early in this new millennium, IMT-2000 will harmonize the incompatible mobile systems currently in use around the world while providing a technical foundation for new, high-speed wireless devices capable of handling voice, data and connection to online services such as the Internet.

The legal framework of ITU comprises, in particular, the following legal instruments of the Union, which have treaty status. These instruments are:

  • The Constitution and Convention of the International Telecommunication Union signed on 22 December 1992 (Geneva) and which entered into force on 1 July 1994. Since their adoption in 1992, the ITU Constitution and Convention have been amended by Plenipotentiary Conferences (Kyoto, 1994; Minneapolis, 1998 and Marrakesh, 2002). Those amendments entered into force on 1 January 1996, 1 January 2000 and 1 January 2004.
  • The Administrative Regulations (Radio Regulations and International Telecommunication Regulations), which complement the Constitution and the Convention. The last revision of the Radio Regulations was signed on 4 July 2003 (Geneva), and the majority of the provisions entered into force on 1 January 2005. The International Telecommunication Regulations were signed on 9 December 1988 (Melbourne), and entered into force on 1 July 1990.

The ITU also established the World Telecommunication Policy Forum (WTPF), which has worked on policy-making for global mobile personal communications by satellite, on trade in telecommunication services, and on Internet Protocol (IP).

From an economic perspective, the ITU exercises highly developed control over multiple aspects of pricing and tariff-setting. It has published some hundreds of 'recommendations' on tariff issues. To give the flavour, here are just the first few of them:

  • General principles for the lease of international (continental and intercontinental) private telecommunication circuits and networks;
  • Principles for the lease of analogue international circuits for private service;
  • Special conditions for the lease of international (continental and intercontinental) sound- and television-programme circuits for private service;
  • Costs and value of services rendered as factors in the fixing of rates;
  • Concept and implementation of "one-stop shopping" for international private leased telecommunication circuits;
  • Special conditions for the lease of international end-to-end digital circuits for private service;
  • Private leasing of transmitters or receivers.

The ITU is making attempts to assume responsibility for the management of Internet Domain Names and addresses, something that has so far been resisted by the Internet industry. Says the ITU: 'Given ITU’s role in the development of IP standards and protocols for IP-based networks, the (ITU) called for greater partnerships with Internet standardization organizations, governments, private sector and for a greater outreach to developing countries.'

It will be seen from this brief description of the ITU's work that it encompasses a vast – and more or less complete – range of communications technologies and sectors. The ITU's rule-book stretches to thousands of standards and codes, which are mandatory in most cases, since governments were and are the contracting parties to the various conventions under which the ITU functions.

Other than its role in radio frequency dispute resolution, the ITU has not acquired much responsibility for telecommunications dispute resolution, which is performed by a variety of organizations, including WIPO, Arbitration Courts in London, Stockholm and other places, the ICC, and the WTO, not of course forgetting national court systems. However the ITU does devote a great deal of attention to dispute resolution issues through its publications and events. It may be expected that as time goes by the ITU will acquire an expanded role in dispute resolution.

The ITU has also created a Telecommunications Regulators Network (TRN), whose mandate is to develop regulators for the telecommunications industry, especially for African economic development. The TRN is part of the ITU's strategy to strengthen regulators worldwide in a bid to offer increased communications services to more of the world's people at affordable prices. The TRN also fosters dialogue among regulators in the sector. The network's objectives include:

  • Improving the exchange of information and experience among regulators and other public and private entities, and,
  • Swapping of officials, technical staff and experts between members for knowledge sharing and management.

For a company operating in almost any aspect of telecommunications, it is fair to regard the ITU as its most prominent regulator in terms of the number and scope of rules and standards to which it must adhere. Certainly, there are national telecommunications regulators, and for European operators there is the EU; but important as these are on some major policy issues, they are comprehensively overshadowed by the ITU in terms of the regulation of day-to-day operations.

Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development:

The OECD (Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development) is an organization which has power and influence out of all proportion to its size. Like the Bretton Woods bodies, it was founded after WWII as the Organisation for European Economic Co-operation, in order to administer American and Canadian aid under the Marshall Plan for the reconstruction of Europe after World War II. It transmogrified into the OECD in 1961, and has been described as 'an international organization of those developed countries that accept the principles of representative democracy and a free market economy'. It has 30 members, including all of the major economic powers other than Russia and China.

The OECD says its vocation 'has been to build strong economies in its member countries, improve efficiency, hone market systems, expand free trade and contribute to development in industrialised as well as developing countries.'

During the 1960s and 1970s, the OECD, which is financed by its members, and has no external source of income, grew a magnificent reputation as an objective reporter on the economies of its members and on economic trends in general. Sadly, it became a victim of its own success, and began to be utilized as an instrument of policy by its members. Some of this activity has been innocent – who could complain about attempts to regularize tax treaties or establish rules for pemanent establishments? But much of it has not, and in the 1990s the OECD seemed to have been captured by the 'left ascendancy' in a number of its members (Blair, Schroder, Summers and, disgracefully, Chirac come to mind), and set to work to defend the fiscal sovereignty of high-taxing rich countries against 'offshore' and other low-tax enemies. As a result, the OECD has successfully demonized itself in most liberal minds.

The OECD itself puts this process quite gracefully: 'After more than four decades, the OECD is moving beyond a focus on its own countries and is setting its analytical sights on those countries – today nearly the whole world – that embrace the market economy.'

In the 21st century the OECD has continued on its mission to support the world's debt-ridden major economies through a comprehensive attack on the tax optimization practices of international business, and by 2015 seemed set to do catastrophic damage to the structure of tax treaties so painfully constructed over a period of 100 years through its ill-conceived BEPS initiative.

The changing political fortunes of the OECD do not however affect its potency as a standard-setter, particularly in fiscal matters and through its subsidiary the FATF (Financial Action Task Force) in the area of financial transparency (money laundering, to be more blunt). Although it consists directly of only 30 members, compared with the 150 in the WTO and the 184 in the IMF, its members' domination of the world economy ensure that its writ runs wide.

The OECD has a extensive reach, in subject terms. The list of the areas in which it professes an interest is vast:

Ageing Society - Agriculture, Food and Fisheries - Biotechnology - Competition - Corporate Governance - Corruption - Development - Economics - Education - Employment - Energy - Enterprise, Industry and Services - Environment - Finance - Growth - Health - Information and Communication Technologies - Insurance and Pensions - International Migration - Investment - Public Governance and Management - Regional, Rural and Urban Development - Regulatory Reform - Science and Innovation - Social Issues - Sustainable Development - Taxation - Trade - Transport

The OECD has not issued standards or codes in all of these areas by any means. But it would probably like to! Taking just the first heading, 'Ageing Society', the organization invited public comment on 'Draft guidelines on the funding and benefit security of pensions' in 2006.

Of course this raises the question of national and regional government. The European Parliament and the European Commission have got quite a lot to say about this subject, not to mention the US Congress and the national parliaments of European nations and the Japanese Diet. But the straw is there, hanging in the wind. A multinational company, swapping its executives between countries on a weekly basis and with 200,000 employees in 50 countries, would be only too happy to see one international code of practice for its pensions provision. Who can doubt that one day, the OECD (or one of its competitors, the World Bank, say) will become the chosen instrument of national legislatures to come up with a set of 'guidelines', which after five years will become a 'Code', and in 10 years will be 'Regulations' with grandfather clauses, sunset dates and all the rest?

World Bank:

Like the IMF, the World Bank has also metamorphosed from its original conception: set up as a source of funds to underpin the reconstruction of a battered Europe, it has become an instrument of international do-goodery, heavily focused on developing economies, poverty and the environment. If you want, it forms a part of the conscience of the first world. No doubt this is a valuable role, although many question the World Bank's methods. From a globaliser's perspective, however, what is significant about the World Bank is its involvement as noted above in standard-setting, particularly in association with the IMF, under the general rubric of the 'Bank/Fund Initiative on Standards and Codes'.

This initiative was developed in the wake of the financial crises of the late 1990s as part of a series of measures to strengthen the international financial architecture. The international financial community (says the Bank) considered that the implementation of internationally recognized standards and codes would provide a framework to strengthen domestic institutions, identify potential vulnerabilities, and improve transparency.

The Standards and Codes fall into a wide range of 12 subject areas, but as an example we may take the World Bank Principles for Effective Insolvency and Creditor Rights' Systems (2005), which are described by the Bank as 'a distillation of international best practice on design aspects of these systems, emphasizing contextual, integrated solutions and the policy choices involved in developing those solutions', and have been articulated through the Insolvency and Creditor Rights Standard (2005).

Although the Standard is yet just a draft proposal, there can be little doubt that it will be adopted by the 184 member states of the World Bank. What does this mean? That is nowhere explicitly spelled out, and to be fair no-one probably really knows what it will eventually mean. But the intentions of the IMF and the Bank (so, the intentions of the 184 member governments) are evidently that financial laws and transactions should conform to the Standard. This has to mean, eventually, that courts, whether national or international, and parliaments in their law-making must conform to the Standard.

What is most remarkable is that this avalanche of standards and codes, extending over almost every aspect of economic life, is ineluctably falling into place with no understanding or supervision whatsoever from democratically-elected parliaments. By the time they come face to face with the effects on the ground, it will be far too late for them to anything about it. That in itself is not necessarily a criticism of the process; the Bank and the IMF are not shy about what they are doing, and consult widely. It is fair to acknowledge that the resulting regulation (for that is what it is) is well-considered and state-of-the-art. Eminently fit for purpose, as they say nowadays. And one can fairly add that alongside the developing global armour of economic regulation (but perhaps a little behind) grows a matching global arsenal of judicial procedures and forums in which global regulation can be contested.

As with the IMF, the future of the World Bank is likely to be troubled, and it may find itself without an intervention role in due time. Its rule-making role would then probably be subsumed into another institution, or it might be transformed (once again!) into a different type of organization.

Says Ngaire Woods: 'The challenge for the IMF and the World Bank . . . . is economic policy made in a more transparent, openly contested, publicly debated, and democratic way. That process is likely to be messy, complex and time-consuming; it will often thwart rapid reform, and it will certainly marginalize the role of the IMF and the World Bank.'

World Intellectual Property Organization: /index.html.en

WIPO is dedicated to developing a balanced and accessible international intellectual property (IP) system. It was established by the WIPO Convention in 1967 with a mandate from its Member States to promote the protection of IP throughout the world through cooperation among states and in collaboration with other international organizations. Its headquarters are in Geneva, Switzerland.

The World Intellectual Property Organization Copyright Treaty, abbreviated as the WIPO Copyright Treaty, was an international treaty on copyright law adopted by the member states of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) in 1996. It provides additional protections for copyright deemed necessary due to advances in information technology since the formation of previous copyright treaties before it.

It ensures that computer programs are protected as literary works in its fourth article, and that the arrangement and selection of material in databases is protected in its fifth.

It provides authors of works with control over their rental and distribution in Articles 6 to 8 which they may not have under the Berne Convention alone. It also prohibits circumvention of technological measures for the protection of works as stated in Article 11 and unauthorised modification of rights management information contained in works in Article 12.

The WIPO Copyright Treaty is implemented in United States law by the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). By its Decision of 16 March 2000, the European Council approved the treaty, on behalf of the European Community. European Union Directives 91/250/EC creates copyright protection for software and 96/9/EC for database protection and European Copyright Directive 2001/29/EC prohibits devices for circumventing "technical protection measures" such as digital rights management largely cover the subject matter of the treaty.

However, the WIPO Copyright Treaty made no reference to copyright term extension beyond the existing terms of the Berne Convention, but there was a degree of association. This was because the United States Congress passed both the Digital Millennium Copyright Act and Sonny Bono Copyright Term Extension Act, which enacts copyright term extension during the same week and used the same method using voice vote to make it less likely that the news media would report on the bills, in addition, the European Union adopted its own copyright term extension around the same time.

WIPO was instrumental in bringing about the Agreement on Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) which sets down minimum standards for forms of intellectual property (IP) regulation. The administration of TRIPS falls under WTO rule, and countries joining the WTO have to sign up to TRIPS.

TRIPS covers copyright, including the rights of performers, producers of sound recordings and broadcasting organisations; geographical indications, including appellations of origin; industrial designs; integrated circuit layout-designs; patents; monopolies for the developers of new plant varieties; trademarks; trade dress; and undisclosed or confidential information. TRIPs also specifies enforcement procedures, remedies, and dispute resolution procedures.

The TRIPS agreement introduced intellectual property law into the international trading system for the first time, and remains the most comprehensive international agreement on intellectual property to date.

Many of the TRIPS provisions on copyright were imported from the Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works and many of its trademark and patent provisions were imported from the Paris Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property.

World Trade Organization:

The WTO is arguably the most important, if the smallest, of all the international economic organisations. It has existed as such only from 1995, but it had evolved by degrees out of the GATT (General Agreement on Trade and Tariffs), founded in 1947 as a forum for negotiating lower customs duty rates and other trade barriers, as one of the 'Bretton Woods' organizations.

The World Trade Organization is the subject of Chapter Eight.