You are here

Types of organization in the Yearbook


Types of international organization: detailed overview (Part #3)


[Parts: First | Prev | Next | Last | All] [Links: To-K | From-K | From-Kx | Refs ]


Before entering (in the next section) into a detailed discussion of the international organizations in all their variety, it is appropriate to review the types into which such organizations are allocated in this Yearbook. These types have been defined in such a way as to provide an empirical means of ordering many kinds of organizations. They have proved to be a convenient working tool. Reference is made to these types in the subsequent discussion. Detailed refinements and exceptions to the definitions given below, are discussed in the description of each type in Appendix 3.

3.1 Conventional international organizations

These are grouped together in Types A to D. They are autonomous international governmental and non-governmental organizations of a non-profit nature. Multinational enterprises are therefore excluded. All such bodies have members in at least 3 countries and do not have their activities or decision-making structured in favour of any particular country. The Yearbook endeavours to provide comprehensive coverage of such organizations.

3.1.1 Federations of international organizations: Type A includes all international organizations whether governmental or non-governmental, which group together at least three other autonomous non-regional international bodies as full members. "Umbrella" organizations of this kind which have national organizations as an additional membership category are also included. The United Nations is included in this type because of its focal role in relation to its Specialized Agencies that are "members" of the UN system.

3.1.2 Universal membership organizations: Type B includes all non-profit international organizations, whether governmental or non-governmental, that have a widespread, geographically-balanced membership, management and policy-control. Although this concept of a "universal" membership organization is much discussed, no generally accepted rule for distinguishing such bodies has been formulated. The rule applied here is that there should be members in at least 60 countries, or else in more than 30 countries provided that the distribution between continents is "well-balanced".

3.1.3 Intercontinental membership organizations: Type C includes all international non-profit organizations, whether governmental or non-governmental, whose membership and preoccupations exceed that of a particular continental region, although not to a degree justifying its inclusion in the previous type.

3.1.4 Regionally defined membership organizations: Type D includes all international non-profit organizations, whether governmental or non-governmental, whose membership or preoccupations are restricted to a particular continent or subcontinental region.

3.2 Other "international organizations"

These are grouped together in Types E to G. Such bodies fail to meet the simple criteria of the previous types in a variety of ways. They may nevertheless be considered as "international organizations" in some respects even though their inclusion may be questioned from a number of viewpoints.

3.2.1 Organizations emanating from places, persons, proprietary products or other bodies: Type E includes any international non-profit bodies, whether governmental or non-governmental, which may be considered an "emanation" of a particular organization, place, person or proprietary product. Such bodies do not necessarily have a membership in the form required for the preceding types. It is not feasible to include the multitude of semi-autonomous commissions of international organizations. The coverage of this type is therefore limited to those which tend to be cited as though they were autonomous bodies.

3.2.2 Organizations having a special form, including foundations and funds: Type F includes all international organizations, whether governmental or non-governmental, whose formal characteristics raise fundamental questions if they are allocated to any of the preceding types. Typically it includes international banks, courts, training institutes, libraries, laboratories, etc. It is used for organizations of exiles, common markets, and political parties. Discontinuous "bodies" such a periodic conference series, may also be included together with information networks and informal quasi-organizations. In addition this type may also be used for any unusual, possibly illegal bodies when their inclusion serves to raise interesting questions.

3.2.3 Internationally-oriented national organizations: Type G includes national organizations with various forms of international activity or concern such as research, peace, development or relief. It may also include national bodies which have relations with international organizations and which are listed by them in conjunction with truly international bodies or which appear from their titles to be international themselves. This criterion includes organizations having consultatative status with United Nations and other intergovernmental bodies. No systematic efforts are made to trace individual organizations of this type.

3.3 Special types

Several types are used to handle bodies which raise special problems. All except Type R organizations are only listed, having no descriptions.

3.3.1 Inactive or dissolved international organizations: Type H includes all international non-profit organizations, whether governmental or non-governmental, which have been dissolved, are currently inactive, or are otherwise dormant. It includes only those bodies that would have appeared in Types A to D, occasional exceptions being made for bodies that appeared in Types E or F.

3.3.2 Multinational enterprises: Type M (now incorporated into Type F) was developed to include multinational enterprises, whether governmental or non-governmental. It is to this type that profit-making corporations would therefore be allocated.

3.3.3 National organizations: Type N includes bodies known to hold meetings with extensive international participation. The type is also used for national bodies which have names that create the impression they should be in any of the preceding types. Bilateral intergovernmental bodies are allocated to this type. Organizations are included here if they are encountered during search procedures for those in the preceding types or if it is believed they may be of interest to users. No systematic efforts are made to trace individual organizations of this type.

3.3.4 Religious orders, fraternities and secular institutes: Type R includes religious, military and fraternal orders or congregations, together with similar bodies based on charismatic leadership or commitment to a set of religious practices. Many of these bodies cannot be treated as "conventional" international organizations because of their special decision-making procedures and their partially dependent relationship to religious hierarchies (such as that of the Catholic Church, for example). A major reason for including this type lies in the interesting range of questions raised by the differences and similarities between orders (created over the past millennium) and many conventional organizations (created over the past century), each concerned in their own way with human and social development. Of special interest, for example, is the parallel between papal "approval" of order and the "recognition" accorded to NGOs under Article 71 of the UN Charter.

3.3.5 Multilateral treaties and agreements: Type T includes multilateral treaties, conventions, pacts, protocols or covenants signed by 3 or more parties. It excludes those concerned with a specific country, a specific event, or the creation of an intergovernmental organization (identified elsewhere in this Yearbook).

3.4 Index-only types

Additional "types" are used for organization entries which are listed even though the entries (to which the other entries refer) are not printed in the Yearbook. Type J is used to indicate names of apparently international organizations whose creation has recently been reported but for which no further information has been obtained. Type K is used for names of units concerned with substantive matters within the selected complex international agencies. Type U is used for names of apparently international organizations whose existence has not been confirmed as well as for inactive bodies which would have appeared in Type E or F.


[Parts: First | Prev | Next | Last | All] [Links: To-K | From-K | From-Kx | Refs ]