Frequently Asked Questions

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What types of organizations are included in the Yearbook?

Introduction

The Yearbook attempts to cover all “international organizations”, according to a broad range of criteria. It therefore includes many bodies that may be perceived as not being fully international, or as not being organizations as such. These bodies are nevertheless included so as to enable users to make their own evaluation in the light of their own criteria.

To assist this evaluation, the editors have developed two sets of codes referred to as Type I and Type II.

Type I

This hierarchical typology may be used to help determine the status or level of "internationality" of an organization.

Type A: Federations of international organizations
A principal membership category includes at least three autonomous international bodies
Type B: Universal membership organizations
Membership covers at least 60 countries regardless of distribution, or membership covers at least 30 countries and is equitably distributed over several continents
Type C: Intercontinental membership organizations
Membership exceeds that of a particular continental region, covers at least 10 countries, and is equitably distributed over at least two continents
Type D: Regionally defined membership organizations
Membership and preoccupations restricted to a particular continental or sub-continental region or contiguous group of countries, and covers at least 3 countries or includes at least 3 autonomous international bodies
Type E: Organizations emanating from places, persons or other bodies
May include international centres and institutes created by intergovernmental bodies, and joint bodies, regardless of membership
Type F: Organizations having a special form
May include foundations, funds, banks, and illegal or unusual bodies
Type G: Internationally-oriented national organizations
Includes bilateral bodies, organizations with membership or management structure limited to a single country yet name or activities indicate an international character, and national bodies with formal links (member, funder, partner) with a body of the UN system or other international organization
Type H: Inactive or dissolved international organizations
Dissolved or inactive organization previously classified as a Type A, B, C or D
Type J: Recently reported or proposed international organizations
Information available is insufficient to enable classification as another Type
Type K: Subsidiary and internal bodies
A substantive unit within a complex international organization which has a degree of autonomy
Type N: National organizations
Membership or management structure is essentially limited to a single country, yet title or activities make it appear to be international
Type R: Religious orders, fraternities and secular institutes
A religious or fraternal order or similar body based on commitment to a set of religious practices. Membership covers at least 3 countries
Type S: Autonomous conference series
Not an organization as such but represents a continuing series of international meetings which has a name which could be assumed to refer to an international body
Type T: Multilateral treaties and agreements
Not an organization as such but a multilateral treaty, convention, agreement, pact, protocol or covenant signed by at least 3 parties, whether States or intergovernmental organizations.
Type U: Inactive or dissolved non-conventional bodies
Dissolved or inactive organization previously classified as a Type other than A, B, C or D

Type II

This typology is used to add a second level of structure to Type I.

b = bilateral intergovernmental organization
c = conference series
d = dissolved, dormant
e = commercial enterprise
f = foundation, fund
g = intergovernmental
j = research institute
n = has become national
p = proposed body
s = information suspect
v = individual membership only
x = no recent information received
y = international organization membership

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What is a non-governmental organization (NGO)?

A non-governmental organization (NGO) is a legally constituted organization created by private persons or organizations without participation or representation of any government. The term originated from the United Nations, and is usually used to refer to organizations that are not conventional for-profit business. NGOs can be organized on a local, national or international level (INGO).

See also the Wikipedia article Non-governmental organization

What is an intergovernmental organization (IGO)?

An IGO is an organization composed primarily of sovereign states, or of other intergovernmental organizations. IGOs are established by treaty or other agreement that acts as a charter creating the group. Examples include the United Nations, the World Bank, or the European Union.

See also the Wikipedia article Intergovernmental organization

What is an international non-governmental organization (INGO)?

The United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) defines an INGO as "any organization which is not established by inter-governmental agreement" (Resolution 288 (X) 27 February 1950), "including organizations which accept members designated by government authorities, provided that such membership does not interfere with the free expression of views of the organizations" (Resolution 1296 (XLV) of 25 June 1968).

What information do Yearbook profiles contain?

Print Restrictions

Due to limitations imposed by printing and binding, some types of organizations are not included in the print edition. In such cases, an explanatory comment is given instead of the description (for example: "no longer active"; "meeting series"; "treaty"). All organization descriptions are included in the online version.

Descriptions always include the following information

Organization name

The organization’s name is given in all languages in which it is available. Abbreviations follow the appropriate name. When an organization does not have an official name in English or French, the editors may provide translated versions.

Descriptions may include the following information

Addresses

The main address for correspondence, including telephone and fax numbers, and e-mail addresses when available. Secondary addresses are listed below the main address, and include registered offices, continental regional offices, information offices and addresses for secondary correspondence. The address of the organization’s home page is given, if known.

History

The date and location of founding (or of "establishment" in the case of intergovernmental organizations) are indicated under this heading. Other information on the history and changes in structure or name of the organization is also given.

Aims

Principal objectives are summarized, wherever possible on the basis of the organization’s statutes.

Structure

The key organs and commissions of the organization are enumerated, together with some indication of the frequency of their meetings and of composition of the executive body.

Languages

Official and working languages used by the organization are listed. “Official languages” are normally those specified in the statutes of the organization.

Staff

The number of paid and voluntary staff are given.

Finance

Sources of funding and the annual budget figure are given.

Consultative Status

Where the organization has an officially recognized relationship to a major intergovernmental organization, this is indicated.

IGO Relations

Where the organization has a special relationship to an intergovernmental organization, this is indicated. It should be noted that tenuous links, or links that have not been confirmed by both parties, have been omitted from the printed descriptions, although they are available in the online version.

NGO Relations

Where the organization has a special relationship with international non-governmental organizations, this is indicated. It should be noted that tenuous links, or links that have not been confirmed by both parties, have been omitted from the printed descriptions, although they are available in the online version.

Activities

Under this heading appears a summary of the main activities and programme concerns of each organization. Special emphasis is placed on developmental activities, where relevant.

Events

Listed here are the dates and locations of previous and future periodic meetings or other events. For more details on these events, and for full indexes to them, users are directed to the International Congress Calendar.

Publications

Listed here are the titles of major periodical and non-periodical publications of the organization. Titles are indexed and classified in Volume 4 of the print version, and in the 'Bibliography' tab in the online version.

Information Services

Listed here are the names of libraries, databanks and library and publications consultancy services operated by the organization. Websites of these services are listed with the organization's address. Titles are indexed and classified in Volume 4 of the print version, and in the 'Bibliography' tab in the online version.

Members

Listed here are the types of membership and numbers of members. This may include the list of countries represented or in which members are located, and a list of international and regional organization members, when applicable. These countries are indexed and cross-referenced in Volume 2 of the print version, and are searchable in the online version.

Date

The last line of the description includes the date on which the most recent information has been received. Two forms are used:
  - 2011.02.16: the organization checked the description and returned it on that date;
  - 2009: the organization has not checked the description since that date, but information has been received in the given year from another reliable source (which may be the organization’s own website).

Old dates, or no date, may be an indication that an organization is becoming inactive.

What if an organization asks not to be included?

The editors are committed to as complete a coverage as is humanly possible. Therefore no entries are eliminated as a result of pressure to suppress an organization's profile. However, in cases where the possibility of danger to health and life is suggested, the entry is reworded to respect the concern of the body in question.

Where can I buy a copy of the Yearbook?

The Yearbook in both print and online versions can be purchased by contacting our publisher, Brill.

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How do I find a library with a copy of the Yearbook?

You can use the links below to identify public or university libraries in your area. To find out if they have a copy of the Yearbook of International Organizations, check the library's online catalogue or contact the Reference Department. Some libraries maintain copies of past editions of the Yearbook in addition to current editions. Many academic libraries also carry our previous publications which are now out of print, so you can search the catalogues for Union of International Associations / Union des associations internationales as author.

If your local institution or library doesn't have a copy of the Yearbook, you could let the appropriate staff know that you would find having access to it valuable. Libraries are faced with many budgetary constraints and will often base purchasing and service options on community needs. If you would like us to forward printed information on our publications to library staff, individuals or organizations, please contact us.

I've submitted corrected information. Why can't I see my changes?

All proof corrections must first be reviewed by one of our editors, who deal with the responses from thousands of organization representatives. Thus, some time may pass between our receipt of updated information and the correction of organization descriptions. In addition to this delay, the Yearbook Online information is updated once every 6-8 weeks, thus possibly contributing to a further delay. We apologize that we are unable to process proofs more quickly, but the editors always appreciate receiving updated information. Please rest assured that your corrections will be included just as soon as possible.

I missed the reply deadline, is it too late for me to submit changes?

The submission deadline for the printed edition of the Yearbook is annual at the end of March. The Yearbook Online is updated about once every six weeks.

We welcome updated information year-round, irrespective of our publishing schedule, so please feel free to submit new information at any time.

Can I edit our organization description online?

Yes, you can update your organization's description directly via our website. A user name and password are required for login, and should have been provided with your proof. Please contact us if you do not have your user name and password. Also, please bear in mind that all online updates are reviewed by an editor before they are visible on the website.

I received the proof via postal mail but prefer to reply online or by e-mail, is that OK?

You are welcome to reply in any of the following formats:

  • by e-mail
  • via our website
  • by fax to (32 2) 643.61.99
  • by post to:
    • Rue Washington 40
      B-1050 Brussels, Belgium
I am not the appropriate contact person, what should I do?

Please contact us and let us know to whom we should address the proof mailing.

Does inclusion of my organization in the Yearbook cost anything?

The information you provide is included free of charge and with no obligation on your part.

How many international organizations are there?

How many international organizations there are will depend on your criteria and methods for counting them. The UIA maintains information and statistics on over 68,000 international organizations (both active and inactive) that meet its criteria (see Types of organization for precise information on these criteria).

Who can join an international organization?

This is determined by the statutes or by-laws of each specific organization. You should contact an organization directly (or view the membership information on its website) for more information on requirements.

How can I locate an international organization?

Data on the location of members and secretariats of international organizations are presented in the Yearbook of International Organizations. Secretariat staff are unable to deal with requests for contact information of organizations due to time and budgetary constraints, but we suggest the following pointers:

  • Use the telephone directory to see if there is a local chapter or regional office in your area.
  • Contact telephone directory assistance for local, regional, national or international contact listings.
  • Contact the Reference Department of a local public university or non-governmental organization (eg British Council or American Cultural Center).
  • Related local organizations should be able to provide you with information concerning regional or international organizations which work on similar issues.
  • Websites of organizations related to the organization you are seeking will often provide contact information or a list of relevant links to other websites.
How do international organizations get registered/created?

Intergovernmental Organizations (IGOs)

IGOs are in most cases established by a treaty that acts as a charter creating the group. Treaties are formed when lawful representatives (governments) of several states go through a ratification process providing the IGO with an international legal personality.

International Nongovernmental Organizations (INGOs)

INGOs are usually registered in accordance with national law of the country or countries in which they are founded.

A critical first step in establishing an NGO is researching the legal requirements that must be met in order to achieve legal recognition and eligibility for certain benefits. Both the domestic and European legal frameworks may impose requirements and confer benefits on NGOs.

The International Center for Not-For-Profit Law (ICNL) provides a checklist of legal considerations relevant to formation of an NGO, as well as an online database of country laws and reports concerning the nongovermental sector.

The United States government has also compiled a database of country reports, laws and codes, searchable by country.

Where should the secretariat of an international organization be established?

Circumstances often dictate that the secretariat be located in a place convenient to the most active participants, and in some cases they are set up as part of an office of a national member. Some secretariats rotate periodically amongst members in different locations. If the organization needs to be able to receive funds as a distinct legal entity, then the question of the legal status of the organization may become a very important factor in determining where the secretariat is located. Very few countries have arrangements to facilitate the presence of secretariats of international NGOs within their jurisdiction (see Legal status of international organizations). One possibility is to register the organization in one country, but to have the operational offices in one or more other countries.

Can I use the UIA Yearbook information to carry out mass mailings to listed organizations?

Many organizations do not necessarily welcome unsolicited inquiries, especially relating to proposals for commercial services. Some of them are essentially closed membership groups and see no need whatsoever for communication from external bodies. They may attempt to remove themselves from mailing lists for this reason. There is quite a strong resistance to direct mail advertising.

Can I use the UIA Yearbook information to carry out surveys to listed organizations?

International organizations are the subject of many surveys, whether for scholarly or commercial services -- or even from intergovernmental organizations. They therefore receive a multitude of questionnaires, which they are often unable to answer as they have very limited staff, even if they were willing to do so.

How can I request funds from international organizations?

Be aware that many international organizations receive requests for funding, even when they do not take the form of a foundation and do not offer subsidies. Most international organizations work under severe budget constraints. Often they do not even have the personnel to be able to acknowledge receipt of such requests.

Where can I find information on future international meetings?

The UIA produces its International Congress Calendar in both print and PDF form on a quarterly basis, and online, updated approximately every 6 weeks. The Calendar gives information on approximately 10,000 future international meetings due to take place worldwide.

More information on subscribing here

Is there a standardized terminology for the meeting industry?
How can I get my news posted on UIA's website?

The UIA offers a self-posting news service, free of charge, on our website. This service is available to international organizations listed in the Yearbook of International Organizations, and to UIA members.

How to post your news?

Please contact us if you have questions.

Where can I announce an international meeting?
Where should I organize an international meeting?

To understand where other groups have organized meetings, see the Annual International Meeting Statistics Report, and also the International Congress Calendar. You may also be able to get help via conference industry representatives, such as:

How do I organize an international conference or meeting?
What is consultative status? Is my organization eligible?
Where can I find the membership country list for Yearbook proofs?

A member country checklist is available on the website.

Proofs sent by post: The countries list is provided on the reverse side of the page(s) containing your printed proof description. We welcome additions / corrections on that side of the page.

Proofs sent by e-mail: Please refer to the checklist on our website. You are welcome to send us membership country details in whatever way suits you as long as the changes / additions are clear for the editors. Thus you may make changes to the proof text paragraph describing countries of membership or you may send the countries list as a part of your reply.

Can I receive a complimentary copy of the Yearbook for information provided?

Requests for a complimentary copy of the Yearbook of International Organizations are noted sympathetically, but we regret that we are unable to supply such copies, as much as we should like to be in the position to do so. The books cost a great deal to produce and to distribute, and the database it is based on equally requires a great cost to maintain. What we are able to do is provide copies or online database access at a reduced price to non-profit, non-governmental organizations listed in the Yearbook.

How are "suspect bodies" treated?

Some organizations included in the Yearbook of International Organizations are perceived as highly suspect by other bodies, whether because of dubious academic standing, questionable values or as a threat to public order. The editors do not act on such judgements which may be contradicted by others. However, in the case of the very small minority of bodies which seek to mislead through false claims, to defraud or to engage in covert operations, the editors endeavour to juxtapose items of information which draw attention to the questionable aspects of these organizations. The final assessment is left to the user. To avoid confusion, seemingly international organizations which exist only as a public relations activity of an individual are indexed but not described.

Which country and territory names are used in the Yearbook?

It is not the intention of the editors to take a position with regard to the political or diplomatic implications of geographical names or continental groupings used in the Yearbook. The names of countries used may not be the complete official names of those countries. The geographical names used are chosen for the sake of brevity and common usage. Wherever possible, the country (or territory) name preferred by the organization concerned is used, providing this is possible within the limits of standardization required for mailing or statistical purposes.

It is important to note that some organizations insist on the inclusion of territories on the same basis as countries, or on the inclusion of geographical areas that are not recognized – whether under the specified name or indeed as a definable area at all – by other organizations. Giving precedence as much as possible to the organization’s preferences may lead to what appears to be duplication, as one geographical area may, according to some parties, have more than one possible name.

Some geographical names used in this publication may not, strictly speaking, even refer to geographical areas. An example is groups “in exile”, namely a group identifying itself by the name of a sovereign State but not actually present in that State.

Political changes over the years may lead to some questions in an organization’s description. Briefly: countries referred to in an organization’s description retain their old form when referring to a date prior to the change – for example, towns referred to in events prior to 1991 still retain their country as German DR (Democratic Republic) or Germany FR (Federal Republic), while subsequent dates refer simply to Germany.

How are international organizations and NGOs evaluated in the Yearbook?

The editorial intent is not to provide a "judgement" or "definition" of an organization, and priority is normally given to providing a profile in the words of the organization itself. Every effort is made by the editors to check this information against other sources. The information is at no time considered complete, rather it reflects a "work in progress".

The final evaluation of the information presented in the Yearbook must be left to users. They may be assisted in this assessment by whether a full description is included, by the amount of information it has been considered useful to include in the description, by the last date on which information has been received, and by the organization type classification.

Why are some national / non-international organizations included in the Yearbook and not others?

The Yearbook of International Organizations, although originally covering only international organizations in the traditional sense, has broadened its scope in order to reflect international activity in a much more general manner.

The UIA has a mandate from the United Nations to produce the Yearbook, which includes all non-profit international organizations known to us, in particular those which are officially recognized by the United Nations or one of its specialized agencies. It therefore include national organizations which have been granted consultative status by one of the United Nations agencies or included on the UN Department of Information (DPI) List, coding them as 'internationally-oriented national' bodies.

The organizations the UIA has on record range from major intergovernmental organizations such as the United Nations, through scholarly and scientific bodies, to the more subordinate, diffuse or peripheral. Special effort is made to include international activities which, although not organizations, have clearly recognized titles and behaviour, and which are of considerable interest and importance to Yearbook users. These may include free trade zones, projects, programmes, intergovernmental groupings with no fixed secretariat or treaty, etc.

What are the sources of description information in the Yearbook?

Compiling information for the Yearbook involves a year-round process of research and editing. Proofs of organization descriptions are sent out by post, email and fax for the organizations themselves to correct. The average response rate is 35%, ensuring highly reliable information. Priority is normally given to information received from the organizations themselves, and every effort is made by the editors to check this information against other sources.

Proofs are supplemented with information from websites, annual reports, newsletters and other documents. Organizations that do not respond to the proofs are followed up with telephone calls, or researched via the Internet.

How can I contribute information?

You may have information that you wish to make the UIA aware of, including but not limited to:

  • New international organizations
  • Conferences and meetings
  • Amendments or additions to current profiles

As the editors cannot possibly keep track of all the information available on international organizations however hard they try, any information of this kind is very welcome. You can submit new organizations and meetings for consideration via the following:

What if my organization doesn't want to be included in the Yearbook?

Your request to be removed from the Yearbook will be noted.

However, we would like to explain why inclusion of your organization is important to our work. The UIA is a non-profit organization which has been in the forefront of research in the field of international organizations since the early twentieth century. The Yearbook is the most regular of our activities and is used by universities, academies, embassies, scientists, libraries, documentation centres and centres of learning as the definitive volume from which to retrieve information on international organizations and networks.

The organizations we have on record range from major inter-governmental organizations such as the United Nations, through scholarly and scientific bodies, to the more subordinate, diffuse or peripheral. We pride ourselves on listing all such organizations that come to our notice and on being the most complete source of information on them.

We hope that you will understand our continuing to include the description in question and will agree to send us information necessary to maintain an up-to-date entry in the Yearbook.

Is my organization's Yearbook profile freely available to the public?
Which categories can I use for the activities section?

Activities categories for use in the Yearbook:

  • Advocacy/lobbying/activism
  • Awards/prizes/competitions
  • Awareness raising
  • Capacity building
  • Certification/accreditation
  • Conflict resolution
  • Events/meetings
  • Financial and/or material support
  • Guidance/assistance/consulting
  • Healthcare
  • Humanitarian/emergency aid
  • Knowledge management/information dissemination
  • Monitoring/evaluation
  • Networking/liaising
  • Politics/policy/regulatory
  • Projects/programmes
  • Publishing activities
  • Religious activities
  • Research and development
  • Research/documentation
  • Sporting activities
  • Standards/guidelines
  • Training/education
  • Management of treaties and agreements (please also provide the list of treaties by name)