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United Nations Research Guide: IGOs and NGOs

A brief guide to research on the United Nations, foreign countries, IGOs, and NGOs

Brookings Institute

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Foreign Policy in Focus

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Recommended resources

Yearbook of International Organizations
Call number: 341.1058 Y39 (Level 2, 1999-present are housed on the Q Oversized shelves)

Definitions

Intergovernmental Organizations (IGOs)

"The term intergovernmental organization (IGO) refers to an entity created by treaty, involving two or more nations, to work in good faith, on issues of common interest. In the absence of a treaty an IGO does not exist in the legal sense. For example, the G8 is a group of eight nations that have annual economic and political summits. IGOs that are formed by treaties are more advantageous than a mere grouping of nations because they are subject to international law and have the ability to enter into enforceable agreements among themselves or with states."  -Harvard Law School

Nongovernmental Organization (NGO), 

A voluntary group of individuals or organizations, usually not affiliated with any government, that is formed to provide services or to advocate a public policy. Although some NGOs are for-profit corporations, the vast majority are nonprofit organizations. Some NGOs, particularly those based in authoritarian countries, may be created or controlled by governments. By most definitions, political parties and criminal or violent guerrilla organizations are not considered NGOs. The issues addressed by NGOs run the gamut of human concerns (e.g., human rights, environmental protection, disaster relief, and development assistance), and the scope of their activities may be local, national, or international.- Encyclopedia Britannica