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An international organization (also known as an international institution or intergovernmental organization) is a stable set of norms and rules meant to govern the behavior of states and other actors in the international system. Organizations may be established by a
treaty A treaty is a formal, legally binding written agreement between actors in international law International law, also known as public international law and law of nations, is the set of rules, norms, and standards generally accepted in relat ...

treaty
or be an instrument governed by
international law International law, also known as public international law and law of nations, is the set of rules, norms, and standards generally accepted in relations between nations. It establishes normative guidelines and a common conceptual framework to guide ...
and possessing its own legal personality, such as the
United Nations The United Nations (UN) is an intergovernmental organization that aims to maintain international peace and international security, security, develop friendly relations among nations, achieve international cooperation, and be a centre for har ...

United Nations
, the
World Health Organization The World Health Organization (WHO) is a specialized agency of the United Nations United Nations Specialized Agencies are autonomous organizations working with the United Nations and each other through the co-ordinating machinery of the Unite ...
and
NATO The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO, ; french: Organisation du traité de l'Atlantique nord, ), also called the North Atlantic Alliance, is an intergovernmental military alliance between 30 European and North American countries. Th ...
. International organizations are composed of primarily
member state A member state is a state that is a member of an international organization An international organization (also known as an international institution or intergovernmental organization) is a stable set of norms and rules meant to govern the be ...
s, but may also include other entities, such as other international organizations. Additionally, entities (including states) may hold observer status. Notable examples include the
United Nations The United Nations (UN) is an intergovernmental organization that aims to maintain international peace and international security, security, develop friendly relations among nations, achieve international cooperation, and be a centre for har ...

United Nations
(UN),
Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe The Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) is the world's largest security-oriented . Its mandate includes issues such as , promotion of , , and fair elections. It employs around 3,460 people, mostly in its field operations ...
(OSCE),
Bank for International Settlements The Bank for International Settlements (BIS) is an international financial institution An international financial institution (IFI) is a financial institution that has been established (or chartered) by more than one country, and hence is subject ...

Bank for International Settlements
(BIS),
Council of Europe The Council of Europe (CoE; french: Conseil de l'Europe, ) is an international organisation ''International Organization'' is a quarterly peer-reviewed academic journal that covers the entire field of international relations, international aff ...

Council of Europe
(COE),
International Labour Organization The International Labour Organization (ILO) is a United Nations agency whose mandate is to advance social and economic justice through setting international labour standards. Founded in October 1919 under the League of Nations, it is the fir ...
(ILO) and
International Criminal Police Organization The International Criminal Police Organization (official abbreviation ICPO; french: link=no, Organisation internationale de police criminelle), commonly known as INTERPOL ( , ), is an international organization ''International Organization' ...

International Criminal Police Organization
(INTERPOL).Intergovernmental organizations having received a standing invitation to participate as observers in the sessions and the work of the General Assembly and maintaining permanent offices at Headquarters
" United Nations Department of Public Information,
United Nations Secretariat The United Nations Secretariat (french: link=no, Secrétariat des Nations unies) is one of the six major organs of the United Nations The United Nations (UN) is an intergovernmental organization that aims to maintain international peac ...
.


History

The first and oldest international organization—being established employing a treaty, and creating a permanent secretariat, with a global membership—was the
International Telecommunication Union The International Telecommunication Union is a list of specialized agencies of the United Nations, specialized agency of the United Nations responsible for all matters related to information and communications technology, information and co ...

International Telecommunication Union
(founded in 1865). The first general international organization—addressing a variety of issues—was the
League of Nations The League of Nations (french: Société des Nations ), was the first worldwide intergovernmental organisation An intergovernmental organization (IGO) is an organization composed primarily of sovereign states (referred to as ''member state ...
. The
United Nations The United Nations (UN) is an intergovernmental organization that aims to maintain international peace and international security, security, develop friendly relations among nations, achieve international cooperation, and be a centre for har ...

United Nations
followed this model after World War II.


Purpose

The role of international organizations is helping to set the international agenda, mediating
political bargaining Public choice, or public choice theory, is "the use of economic An economy (; ) is an area of the Production (economics), production, Distribution (economics), distribution and trade, as well as Consumption (economics), consumption of Goods ( ...
, providing a place for political initiatives and acting as catalysts for the coalition- formation. They facilitate cooperation and coordination among member nations. In addition, they promote global initiatives aimed at reducing inequality like the United Nations
Sustainable Development Goal 10 Sustainable Development Goal 10 (Goal 10 or SDG 10) is about reduced inequality and is one of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) or Global Goals are a collection of 17 interlinked global goals design ...

Sustainable Development Goal 10
.


Regional organizations

International organizations typically have member states from the whole world, however in some cases organizations have geographic limitations, such as the
European Union The European Union (EU) is a political and economic union of member states that are located primarily in Europe Europe is a which is also recognised as part of , located entirely in the and mostly in the . It comprises the wester ...

European Union
,
African Union The African Union (AU) is a continental union A continental union is a regional organization which facilitates pan-continental integration. Continental unions vary from collaborative intergovernmental organization, intergovernmental organiza ...

African Union
and
NATO The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO, ; french: Organisation du traité de l'Atlantique nord, ), also called the North Atlantic Alliance, is an intergovernmental military alliance between 30 European and North American countries. Th ...
. The United Nations also has regional organizations, such as
UNECE The United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (ECE or UNECE) is one of the five regional commissions under the jurisdiction of the United Nations Economic and Social Council. It was established in order to promote economic cooperation and integ ...

UNECE
and . The oldest
regional organization and Turkey Turkey ( tr, Türkiye ), officially the Republic of Turkey, is a country straddling Southeastern Europe and Western Asia. It shares borders with Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is ...
is the
Central Commission for Navigation on the Rhine The Central Commission for the Navigation of the Rhine (CCNR; french: link=no, Commission centrale pour la navigation du Rhin) is an international organisation whose function is to encourage European prosperity by guaranteeing a high level of secur ...
, created in 1815 by the
Congress of Vienna The Congress of Vienna (, ) of 1814–1815 was an international diplomatic conference to reconstitute the European political order after the downfall of the French Emperor Napoleon I Napoléon Bonaparte (15 August 1769 – 5 May 1821) wa ...

Congress of Vienna
.


United Nations Agencies

The United Nations organizes its work into agencies, such as United Nations Relief Works Agency, which are generally considered as international organizations in their own right. Additionally, the United Nations has
Specialized Agencies United Nations Specialized Agencies are autonomous organizations working with the United Nations The United Nations (UN) is an intergovernmental organization that aims to maintain international peace and international security, security, d ...
which are organizations within the United Nations System, that have their member states (often nearly identical to the UN Member States) and are governed independently by them, examples include International Organizations that predate the UN, such the
International Telecommunication Union The International Telecommunication Union is a list of specialized agencies of the United Nations, specialized agency of the United Nations responsible for all matters related to information and communications technology, information and co ...

International Telecommunication Union
, and the
Universal Postal Union The Universal Postal Union (UPU, french: Union postale universelle), established by the Treaty of Bern of 1874, is a specialized agency United Nations Specialized Agencies are autonomous organizations working with the United Nations ...
, as well as organizations that were created after the UN such as the
World Health Organization The World Health Organization (WHO) is a specialized agency of the United Nations United Nations Specialized Agencies are autonomous organizations working with the United Nations and each other through the co-ordinating machinery of the Unite ...
(which was made up of regional organizations such as
PAHO The Pan American Health Organization (PAHO, , ''PAY-hoe'') is an international public health agency working to improve health and living standards of the people of the Americas. It is part of the United Nations system, serving as the Regional ...
that predated the UN).


International NGOs

International organizations are sometimes referred to as
intergovernmental organization An intergovernmental organization (IGO) is an organization composed primarily of sovereign states (referred to as ''member states''), or of other organizations through formal treaties for handling/serving common interests and governed by interna ...
s (IGOs), to clarify the distinction from
international non-governmental organization An international non-governmental organization (INGO) is an organization which is independent of government involvement and extends the concept of a non-governmental organization (NGO) to an international scope. NGOs are independent of governments ...
s (INGOs), which are
non-governmental organization A non-governmental organization, or simply an NGO, is an organization An organization, or organisation (Commonwealth English The use of the English language English is a of the , originally spoken by the inhabitants of ...
s (NGOs) that operate internationally. These include international
nonprofit organization A nonprofit organization (NPO), also known as a non-business entity, not-for-profit organization, or nonprofit institution, is a legal entity organized and operated for a collective, public or social benefit, in contrast with an entity that o ...
s such as the
World Organization of the Scout Movement The World Organization of the Scout Movement (WOSM ) is the largest international Scouting organization. WOSM has 172 members. These members are recognized national Scout organizations, which collectively have over 50 million participants. WOSM w ...
,
International Committee of the Red Cross The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC; french: Comité international de la Croix-Rouge) is a humanitarian organization An aid agency, also known as development charity, is an organization dedicated to distributing aid In int ...
and
Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF; pronounced ), sometimes rendered in English as Doctors Without Borders, is an international humanitarian Humanitarianism is an active belief in the value of human life, whereby human Humans (''Homo sapiens'') are the most pop ...
, as well as lobby groups that represent the interests of multinational corporations.


See also

*
International relations International relations (IR), international affairs (IA) or international studies (IS) is the scientific study of interactions between sovereign states. In a broader sense, it concerns all activities between states—such as war, diplomacy ...
*
List of intergovernmental organizations The following is a list of the major existing intergovernmental organizations (IGOs). For a more complete listing, see the '' Yearbook of International Organizations'', which includes 25,000 international non-governmental organizations (INGOs), ...
* List of headquarters of intergovernmental organizations * List of heads of intergovernmental organizations *
List of regional organizations by population The following is a list of regional organizations by population. List OAS References External linksUnited Nations Analytical Report for the 2004 revision of World Population Prospects– includes details of methodology and sources used for ...
*
List of trade blocs A trade bloc is a type of intergovernmental agreement, often part of a regional intergovernmental organization An intergovernmental organization (IGO) or international organization is an organization composed primarily of sovereign states (referr ...
*
Regional Economic CommunitiesThe Regional Economic Communities (RECs) in Africa group together individual countries in subregions for the purposes of achieving greater economic integration. They are described as the "building blocks" of the African UnionAU and are also central ...
*
Regional integration 350px, Several non-overlapping large alliances. Softer colours indicate observer/associate or candidate countries. Regional Integration is a process in which neighboring countries enter into an agreement in order to upgrade cooperation throu ...
*
Regional organization and Turkey Turkey ( tr, Türkiye ), officially the Republic of Turkey, is a country straddling Southeastern Europe and Western Asia. It shares borders with Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is ...
*
Supranational union A supranational union is a type of multinational political union where negotiated power is delegated to an authority by governments of member states. The term is sometimes used to describe the European Union The European Union (EU) ...


References


Further reading

* Barnett, Michael and Finnemore, M. 2004. ''Rules for the World: International Organizations in Global Politics''. Cornell University Press. * Hurd, Ian. 2018. ''International Organizations: Politics, Law, Practice''. Cambridge University Press. * Lall, Ranjit. 2017. "Beyond Institutional Design: Explaining the Performance of International Organizations." ''International Organization'' 53: 699-732.


External links


Headquarters of International Organisation
List of International Organisation and their Headquarters

on the 'Articles on the Responsibility of International Organizations'' in th

of the
United Nations Audiovisual Library of International LawThe United Nations Audiovisual Library of International Law is a free online international law International law, also known as public international law and law of nations, is the set of rules, norms, and standards generally accepted in relations b ...

World News related documents
on the World News related documents {{Use dmy dates, date=May 2020 Cultural globalization