The International Council on Animal Protection in OECD Programmes (ICAPO) seeks to ensure the widest possible integration of alternative methods in the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development's (OECD) influential guidelines and programmes. The OECD is an economic alliance of 34 of the world's industrialised countries. Based in Paris, the OECD co-ordinates the development of standardised chemical testing guidelines which are then adopted by the member countries. The OECD also co-ordinates the development of chemical testing programmes, such as its current programme on endocrine disruptors.
Since 2002, animal protection has had a formal voice at the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), an influential international organisation that develops guidelines and programmes for the testing of chemicals. The OECD's testing-related activities have historically relied heavily on animal-based methods. The International Council on Animal Protection in OECD Programmes (ICAPO) works to fully incorporate alternative methods that can replace, reduce, and refine animal use (the "Three Rs") in OECD activities, in the interest of animal protection, public health and sound science.
ICAPO gained official status as 'invited experts' at certain OECD programmes in early 2002, joining other non-governmental organisations representing business, labour, and the environment already serving as invited experts. ICAPO brings the views of more than 30 million members and supporters throughout Asia, Europe, and North America to the table.
Historically, decisions concerning new testing guidelines have been made by individual national governments, with little or no international harmonisation. However, through the OECD regulatory testing decisions are increasingly being made at the international level, through consensus among nations. Thus, it is extremely important to the animal protection community to be represented at the OECD.