- Intergovernmental organization
An intergovernmental organization (IGO) is an
organizationcomprised primarily of sovereign states (referred to as "member states"), or of other intergovernmental organization. Intergovernmental organizations are often called international organization, although that term may also include international nongovernmental organizationsuch as international non-profit organizations (NGOs) or multinational corporations.
Intergovernmental organizations are an important aspect of
public international law. IGOs are established by treatythat acts as a chartercreating the group. Treaties are formed when lawful representatives ( governments) of several states go through a ratificationprocess, providing the IGO with an international legal personality.
Intergovernmental organizations in a legal sense should be distinguished from simple groupings or
coalitions of states, such as the G8or the Quartet. Such groups or associations have not been founded by a constituent document and exist only as task groups.
Intergovernmental organizations must also be distinguished from treaties. Many treaties (such as the
North American Free Trade Agreement, or the General Agreement on Tariffs and Tradebefore the establishment of the World Trade Organization) do not establish an organization and instead rely purely on the parties for their administration becoming legally recognized as an " ad hoc" commission. Other treaties have established an administrative apparatus which was not deemed to have be granted international legal personality.
Types and purposes
Intergovernmental organizations differ in function, membership and membership criteria. They have various goals and scopes, often outlined in the treaty or
charter. Some IGOs developed to fulfill a need for a neutral forum for debate or negotiationto resolve disputes. Others developed to carry out mutual interests in a unified form.
Common stated aims are to preserve
peacethrough conflict resolutionand better international relations, promote international cooperation on matters such as environmental protection, to promote human rights, to promote social development ( education, health care), to render humanitarian aid, and to economic development. Some are more general in scope (the United Nations) while others may have subject-specific missions (such as Interpol or the International Organization for Standardizationand other standards organizations). Common types include:
*Worldwide or global organizations - generally open to nations worldwide as long as certain criteria are met. This category includes the
United Nations(UN) and its specialized agencies, the Universal Postal Union, Interpol, the World Trade Organization(WTO), and the International Monetary Fund(IMF).
Regional organizations - open to members from a particular region or continentof the world. This categories includes the European Union(EU), African Union(AU), Organization of American States(OAS), Association of Southeast Asian Nations(ASEAN), and Union of South American Nations.
*Cultural, linguistic, ethnic, religious, or historical organizations - open to members based on some cultural, linguistic, ethnic, religious, or historical link. Examples include the
Commonwealth of Nations, La Francophonie, Community of Portuguese Language Countries, Latin Union, or Organisation of the Islamic Conference
*Economic organizations - based on economic organization. Some are dedicated to
free trade, the reduction of trade barriers (the World Trade Organization) and International Monetary Fund. Others are focused on international development. International cartels, such as the Organization of Petroleum-Exporting Countries(OPEC), also exist. The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Developmentwas founded as an economics-focused organization. An example of a recently-formed economic IGO is the Bank of the South.
Some organizations, such as
NATO, have collective securityor mutual defense provisions.
Union of International Associationspublishes an annual directory of organizations and provides ancillary information on most international organizations, both intergovernmental and non-governmental.
alliances, and multilateral conferences had existed for centuries, IGOs only began to be established in the 19th century. Among the first were the Central Commission for Navigation on the Rhine, initiated in the aftermath of the Napoleonic Wars, and the future International Telegraph Union, which was founded by the signing of the International Telegraph Convention by 20 countries in May 1865.
List of intergovernmental organizations
List of organizations with .INT domain names
International organisations in Europe
International trade/ list of international trade topics
List of international organizations
Multilateral development bank
Supranational aspects of international organizations
Further readings and External References
* Claude, I.L. (1959). "Swords into Plowshares: The problems and progress of international organization". New York: Random Househttp://untreaty.un.org/English/Seminar/Laos_03/intorganizations.ppt
* [http://www.igo-search.org/ IGO search] Free service allowing search through websites of all intergovernmental organizations (IGOs) as recognized and profiled by the
Union of International Associations.
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