- For the political science journal, see: International Organization
An international organisation (also called intergovernmental organisation) is an organisation of international scope or character.
There are two main types of international organisation:
- international intergovernmental organisations, whose members are sovereign states or other intergovernmental organisations (like European Union in the WTO).
- and non-governmental organisations (NGOs), which are private organisations.
Generally and correctly used, the term "international organiation" is used to mean international governmental organisations only. It is in that sense that the term is used in the remainder of this article.
Legally speaking, an international organisation must be established by a treaty providing it with legal recognition. International organisations so established are subjects of international law, capable of entering into agreements among themselves or with states. Thus international organisations in a legal sense are distinguished from mere groupings of states, such as the G-8 and the G-77, neither of which has been founded by treaty, though in non-legal contexts these are sometimes referred to as international organisations as well. International organisations must also be distinguished from treaties; while all international organisations are founded on a treaty, many treaties (e.g., the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA)) do not establish an international organisation and rely purely on the parties for their administration.
International organisations can be categorised in two main ways: by their membership, and by their function.
International organisations differ in who their members are and in who is permitted to join them. Membership of some organisations (global organisations) is open to all the nations of the world. This category includes the United Nations and its specialized agencies and the World Trade Organization.
Some specialized agencies predate all other types. In the 19th century, France was the fons et origo of many of them. By this it is meant that much of the driving force to form such bodies (such as those which maintain the SI (metric system) came from the French, and that their headquarters are in France, often in Paris. Under the Third Republic, the International Exposition of 1878 in that city held a great number of meetings of such international organisations - as opposed to the preceding regimes. The motivation was that to keep France a republic and not slip back into either a monarchist or Bonapartist regime, the republicans would underscore their inheritance of the crusading nature of the French Revolution against feudal cultural remnants within France, which had been generalised to the rest of feudal Europe, eventually to the world. Some conclude from this example that internationalism often has national origins, at the difference of globalism.
Finally, some organisations base their membership on other criteria: cultural or historical links (the Commonwealth of Nations, La Francophonie, the Community of Portuguese Language Countries), level of economic development or type of economy (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), Organization of Petroleum-Exporting Countries (OPEC)), or religion (Organization of the Islamic Conference).
Were it to come about, the ultimate international organisation would be a Federal World Government.
Examples of global organisationsEdit
- United Nations, its specialised agencies, and associated organisations
- International Hydrographic Organization
- World Trade Organization
- Universal Postal Union
Examples of regional organisationsEdit
- Europe: European Union (EU), Council of Europe, European Space Agency, European Free Trade Association, European Patent Organisation
- America: Organization of American States (OAS), Mercosur, South American Community of Nations, Andean Community, Caribbean Community (CARICOM), Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS), Rio Group, Central American Parliament, NAFTA.
- Africa: the African Union (formerly the Organization for African Unity), Conseil de l'Entente, Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), Southern African Development Community (SADC), Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD)
- Asia: Asian Cooperation Dialogue (ACD), Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC), Gulf Cooperation Council
- Trans-atlantic: North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO), Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE)
- Eurasian: Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), Eurasian Economic Community
- Pacific: Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC), Pacific Islands Forum
Organisations formed on miscellaneous membership criteriaEdit
- Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD)
- Organization of Petroleum-Exporting Countries (OPEC)
- Commonwealth of Nations
- La Francophonie
- Comunidade dos países de língua portuguesa (CPLP)
- Organization of Ibero-American States (OEI)
- Unión Latina
- Non-Aligned Movement
- Arab League
- Organization of the Islamic Conference
- Sister Cities International
International organisations can also be considered functionally, based on the areas and fields in which they operate.
Financial international organisationsEdit
The Union of International Associations provides information on international organisations.