Having analyzed governance structure and processes in integration organizations, this chapter focuses on the legal mechanisms and instruments that drive the development of international regimes, their institutional features and their functioning.
Therefore, the aim of this chapter is twofold. First, it purports to outline and critically describe the typology of international organizations and their regimes, to identify common themes and illustrate the main legal techniques of governance. To this end, the analysis will cover not only regional organizations, but other international institutions too, of both an intergovernmental (such as the World Trade Organization (WTO), the World Health Organization (WHO) or the International Labour Organization (ILO)) and a hybrid public–private nature (such as the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) and the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN)). Second, this chapter aims to provide a comparative toolbox of legal instruments that can assist determining which solutions may be more or less effective in processes of regional integration; this will also enable verifying which legal technique is adopted more often, and why, in a given model of integration, amongst those outlined in Chapter 1.
Sharing the assumption that integration is a “formal process,” the perspective adopted here is essentially a “managerial” one, which seeks to avoid bias connected to any given political objective. The latter may of course significantly influence the preference for one solution or another (for example, the establishment of an international parliament or court within a given regime, or of a requirement that each Member State within the entity create a domestic terminal entrusted with ensuring the implementation of the policies set by the international organization).
However, this chapter seeks to adopt a neutral approach, investigating the common threads in the development of international regimes by examining mainly how they work towards their objectives. International regimes have increasingly been using accountability mechanisms, but principally to ensure their own efficiency and effectiveness rather than to address any democratic gaps. In other words, the need to enhance the legitimacy and accountability of IOs has a functional reason; this is confirmed by the fact that all regimes tend to adopt similar mechanisms, regardless of the degree of “democracy” they may present.