International Organization



An international organization is, by definition, any organization with international membership, scope, or presence. However, in common usage, the term is commonly reserved for intergovernmental organizations (IGO) such as the U.N., the European Community, or the World Trade Organization, with sovereign states or other IGOs as members. Their scope and aims are most usually in the public interest but may also have been created with a specific purpose.


While many non-governmental organizations (NGOs), a generalizing term used for privately created organizations with international scope, certainly have international presence and aims, it is in the sense of IGOs that the term "international organization" is used in the remainder of this article.


Legally speaking, an international organization may be established by a constituent document such as a charter, a treaty or a Convention, which when signed by the founding members, provides the IGO with legal recognition. International organizations so established are subjects of international law, capable of entering into agreements among themselves or with states. Thus international organizations in a legal sense are distinguished from mere groupings of states, such as the G-8 and the G-77, neither of which have been founded by a constituent document and exist only as task groups, though in non-legal contexts these are sometimes referred erroneously as international organizations.


International organizations must also be distinguished from treaties. Many treaties (e.g., the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) or, in the 1947-1995 period, the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT)) do not establish an international organization and rely purely on the parties for their administration becoming legally recognized as an ad hoc commission.

International organizations differ in function, membership and membership criteria. Membership of some organizations (global organizations) is open to all the nations of the world as far as they comply with membership criteria and after approval by a general assembly or similar body. This category includes the United Nations and its specialized agencies and the World Trade Organization. Other organizations are only open to members from a particular region or continent of the world, like European Union, African Union, ASEAN and other regional organizations.


Finally, some organizations base their membership on other criteria: cultural or historical links (the Commonwealth of Nations, La Francophonie, the Community of Portuguese Language Countries, the Latin Union), level of economic development or type of economy (organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), Organization of Petroleum-Exporting Countries (OPEC), or religion (Organization of the Islamic Conference).


International organizations describe and define their purpose in their charter or other document of creation. International Organizations exist with diverse aims, including but not limited to increase international relations, promote education, health care, economic development, environmental protection, human rights, humanitarian efforts, inter-cultural approach and conflict resolution...


This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "International organization".




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