Occasionally the Conference resolves to obtain observer status to meetings of international organisations whose activities are related to data protection or privacy.  This page explains why and how the Conference does this and provides links to relevant reports.


The 25th Conference resolved to call upon international bodies to adopt suitable mechanisms to ensure that data protection considerations are taken into account when promulgating standards, rules or common practices that affect personal data handling within national jurisdictions. This reflected an understanding that international and national standards are intertwined.

The Montreux Declaration adopted at the 27th Conference resolved to strengthen collaboration with international organisations. Taking this a step further, the 28th Conference’s London Declaration called for Data Protection Authorities to bring forward coordinated strategies to act in new and more effective ways and, in particular, to obtain better institutional recognition at the international level.

Two resolutions of the 29th Conference recognised the need to be more effective in the international area both in standard setting and generally. The Working Group on Conference Organisational Arrangements recommended that the Conference obtain observer status at meetings of international organisations as a practical means to influence international data protection policy formulation.

Finally, the 30th Conference resolved to establish a Steering Group on Representation at Meetings of International Organisations as the necessary mechanism to make things happen. The resolution addressed various matters such as mandates and delegates and the elected Steering Group delved further into the detail.

With the adoption of new rules and procedures at the 33rd Conference, the Steering Group was wound up with the responsibility to appoint delegates to represent the Conference placed with the Executive Committee.

Current mandates to explore and, if warranted, obtain Observer status

The Conference occasionally resolves to explore the usefulness of obtaining observer status before meetings of an international organisation. Formerly such exploration was undertaken by the Steering Group and, more recently, by the Executive Committee. Observer status would only actually be sought if it were found to be useful (which might depend upon such things as the international organisation’s current work programme) and if it is feasible to arrange a delegate to attend the meetings.

The conference adopted mandates at the 30th Conference (APEC, Council of Europe, ILC, ISO, ITU and OECD) and 31st Conference (IGU, ICANN and London Action Plan).

Current Observer status held

The Conference has obtained observer status before the following international organisations:

General reports

General information about the Conference’s activities in relation to representation at meetings of international organisations can be found in reports of the Steering Group and, latterly, the Executive Committee.

Delegate reports

Conference delegates to meetings of APEC, Council of Europe, ISO and OECD have produced reports.

Member authorities who are interested in delegate reports can contact the Secretariat.