What types of organizations are included in the Yearbook?

The Yearbook includes a broad range of non-governmental and inter-governmental international and internationally-oriented organizations, more specifically:

  • Federations of international organizations
  • Universal membership organizations
  • Intercontinental membership organizations
  • Regional membership organizations
  • Organizations emanating from other bodies, and other subsidiary and internal bodies
  • Organizations having a special form, including foundations and funds
  • Internationally-oriented national organizations
  • Religious orders, fraternities and secular institutes

See Types of Organizations for a detailed explanation.

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 International 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?
  • Name of the organization and usually
  • Main and secondary addresses, email and URL
  • Details on foundation and history
  • Aims, structure, official and working languages used, staff and finances
  • Activities and events
  • Publications and information services
  • Member countries and international organizations which are members
  • Consultative status with IGOs, relations with other IGOs and NGOs
  • The date when information was last obtained from the organization, or when information from secondary sources was found
  • Letter codes designating the type of organization according to the internal UIA classification system. See Types of Organizations for a detailed explanation.

See Contents of Organization Descriptions for a more detailed explanation.

What if organizations ask not to be included?

We try hard to resist any request that a description should be suppressed as we are committed to as complete a coverage as is humanly possible. In most cases, the editors resist these pressures, but 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.

How reliable are the information sources for the Yearbook?

Compiling information for the Yearbook involves a year-round process of research and editing. 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 (official documents, periodicals, websites, telephone calls). Entries are subject to correction by the organizations themselves, as proofs and requests for checking and correction are sent systematically to organizations.

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.

Book Orders Outside the Americas

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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, when will these changes be made to our description?

The editors must 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. The editors always appreciate receiving updated information, so 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 / new information?

We welcome updated / corrected information year-round, irrespective of our publishing schedule. 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 65,000 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.

The European Foundation Centre also provides Legal and Fiscal Country Profiles concerning the legal environment of foundations.

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?

  • Log in to UIA's website with your user name and password
  • Visit the Other News page of the direct link here to the left
  • Fill in the Title and Content of your news item, and save it by scrolling down to the bottom of the page and clicking the 'Save' button
  • Your news item will show on UIA's home page and on the Other News page

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?
Who are the editors of the Yearbook?

The Union of International Associations is the editor of the Yearbook of International Organizations.

The following people contributed to the 2012/2013 edition:

John Ryan Brubaker
Nancy Carfrae
Rachele Dahle
Carine Faveere
Joel Fischer
Sylvie Hosselet
Martine Jacquemyns
Frédéric Magin
Jacqueline Nebel (Editor Emeritus)
Leslie Selvais
Marcel Sucaet
Régine Toussaint
Liesbeth Van Hulle (Editor-in-Chief)
Clara Waldrich
Judy Wickens
Carol Williams
Sebastian Weyrauch (computer support)

Special thanks to:

Anne-Marie Boutin
Mariarosa Cutillo
Diane Dillon-Ridgley
Marilyn Mehlmann
Mike Baker
Marc Bontemps
Tim Casswellbuya
Tarcisio Della Santa
Bas De Leeuw
Jacques de Mévius
Ghislain Joseph
Roland Mayerl
Peter Mettler
Bernard Miche
Cyril Ritchie

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 final evaluation of the information presented in the Yearbook of International Organizations 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 of International Organizations 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. 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 strongly welcomed by contacting us directly.

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?

Access to the Yearbook Online database is by paid subscription only.

So why should you bother to correct your organization's proof when the Yearbook isn't publicly accessible?

An important role of the UIA is to serve as an information clearinghouse and research institute which provides useful information to specialized researchers in the field of international organizations. We are an independent research institute which receives no external financing. In order to maintain our objectivity and independence, we are required to charge a fee for access to the Yearbook, meaning it is not visible to the general public, in as much as we would like it to be.

That said, an important aim of the UIA is to increase the visibility of international organizations worldwide. A project is currently under way to provide some of this information free to the public. We are excited about this project, and will certainly notify all organizations listed in the Yearbook when it is implemented.

In the meantime, we thank you for helping keep your organization's Yearbook profile up-to-date.