– the intergovernmental organization through which Member States act together
     on matters related to measurement science and measurement standards.
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Launch of the OECD/BIPM joint study: The Case of the International Bureau of Weights and Measures

The BIPM is an active contributor to the work of the OECD IO Partnership for effective international rule-making, which brings together around 50 International Organizations (IOs). The BIPM/OECD joint study "The Case of the International Bureau of Weights and Measures" is a result of a collaboration between the two organizations, which has been under way since 2017. The study marks the latest in the series of studies of rule-making practices of selected IOs (FAO, IMO, ISO, OECD, OIML, UNECE, WHO and WTO) that have already been published within the partnership.

The BIPM fits into the international regulatory co-operation (IRC) framework because it provides a forum for the creation and worldwide adoption of common rules of measurement. The international system of measurement that the BIPM coordinates world-wide underpins the benefits of IRC: increased trade and investment flows and additional GDP points; gains in administrative efficiency and cost savings for governments, businesses and citizens; and societal benefits such as improved safety and strengthened environmental sustainability. Accurate measurements are specifically necessary to regulators and legislators for establishing and enforcing regulatory limits, and an efficient world-wide measurement system is vital for IRC to avoid technical barriers to trade.

The BIPM contributes to the forms of regulatory cooperation identified by the OECD in a variety of ways: through its founding treaty, the Metre Convention; Resolutions of the General Conference on Weights and Measures (CGPM) adopted by Member States; as well as the CIPM Mutual Recognition Arrangement (CIPM MRA) mechanism.

The objectives of the BIPM/OECD joint study are to:

  • to raise awareness of the role of metrology and the international measurement system, particularly for the regulatory community in the context of IRC;
  • to explain the organization, governance and performance of the international measurement system;
  • to illustrate with in-depth examples the impact that the metrology community brings to the globalized world and each individual State.

The case study has a particular focus on two essential aspects of the work of the BIPM:

  • a description of the instruments and mechanisms coordinated by the BIPM that are used to develop and implement the global 'rules' of measurement.
  • an assessment of the economic and societal impacts of the work of the BIPM (with a special focus on the CIPM MRA) and that of its community, for its Member States and the world. It uses both theoretical and empirical analysis. It also refers to several previous studies and papers published by metrological and other experts.

The study concludes that the work of the BIPM has produced significant economic benefits and societal impacts. This impact is synergistic as it crosses all sectors and aspects of human endeavour, including supporting the development and implementation of effective regulation.

The study was drafted by Ms Juan (Ada) Cai whilst on secondment in the BIPM's International Liaison and Communication (ILC) Department from the National Institute of Metrology (NIM), China's NMI. Ms Cai worked under the supervision of the staff of the ILC Department.

The BIPM is a dynamic scientific and permanent intergovernmental organization that continues to evolve to meet the growing and diverse needs of society and its stakeholders in the 21st century.

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