SPR 2020: International Organisations in News

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In this article, we will study-

  • Types of international organizations.
  • Important IOs in news with strict prelims based information. 


International organizations are of two types-

Intergovernmental Organizations (IGOs):

  • The technical term “international organizations” describes an organization established by a treaty or other instrument governed by international law and possessing its own international legal personality.
  • These include groups such as the United Nations or the International Labour Organization.
  • These IGOs possess a permanent secretariat performing ongoing tasks.
  • International organizations typically have member states from the whole world, however, in some cases, organizations have geographic limitations, such as the European Union, African Union and NATO. 
  • Now, there are many specialized agencies of the United Nations that carry out various functions on behalf of the UN, we will read about the ones in news separately in this article.

    UN Specialized Agencies

    • The UN specialized agencies are autonomous organizations working with the United Nations.
    • All were brought into relationship with the UN through negotiated agreements.
    • They work with each other through the coordinating machinery of the United Nations Economic and Social Council at the intergovernmental level, and through the Chief Executives Board (CEB) for coordination at the inter-secretariat level.
    • These may or may not have been originally created by the United Nations.
    • Some existed before the First World War.
    • Some were associated with the League of Nations. Others were created almost simultaneously with the UN.
    • Others were created by the UN to meet emerging needs.
    • But they are incorporated into the United Nations System by the UN ECOSOC acting under Articles 57 and 63 of the United Nations Charter. At present, the UN has in total of 15 specialized agencies.
    • Examples: WHO, WB, FAO, IMF etc.

International Non-Governmental Organizations (INGOs):

  • INGOs are defined as “any internationally operating organization which is not established by inter-governmental agreement”.
  • NGOs are independent of governments and can be seen as two types:
    1. advocacy NGOs, which aim to influence governments with a specific goal, and
    2. operational NGOs, which provide services.
  • IGOs and NGOs exist for a variety of reasons, such as:
    1. controlling the proliferation of conventional and nuclear weapons,
    2. supervising trade,
    3. maintaining military alliances,
    4. ending world hunger, and
    5. fostering the spread of democracy and peace.


International Organizations in News


International Organization Headquarters/ Secretariat Important Facts


Asian Development Bank (ADB)

Manila, Philippines
  • Established in 1966, it is owned by 68 members- 49 from Asia (newest member: Niue). 
  • India is a founding member.
  • Motto: Committed to achieving a prosperous, inclusive, resilient and sustainable Asia & the Pacific, while sustaining its efforts to eradicate extreme poverty.
  • Aim: To promote social and economic development in Asia.
  • Publications: Asian Development Outlook, Asia and the Pacific Renewable Energy Status Report.
  • ADB provided a $1.5 billion loan to India to fund India’s immediate response to the Covid-19 pandemic (under ADB’s Covid-19 Active Response and Expenditure Support (CARES) Program)

Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank  (AIIB)

  • Established by the AIIB Articles of Agreement (entered into force Dec. 25, 2015).
  • Membership is open to all members of the World Bank or the Asian Development Bank.
  • 103 members as well as 21 prospective members.
  • India is a founding member.
  • Aim: To improve economic and social outcomes in Asia. 
  • Publication: AIIB Yearbook of International Law.

 Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN)


  Indonesia, Jakarta
  • Established on 8 August 1967 (ASEAN Declaration or Bangkok Declaration).
  • Comprises ten countries in Southeast Asia.
  • India is not a member. 
  • Motto: “One Vision, One Identity, One Community”.
  • Aim: to promote intergovernmental cooperation and facilitates economic, political, security, military, educational, and sociocultural integration among its members and other countries in Asia.
  • ASEAN-led Forums: 
    1. ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF), 
    2. ASEAN Plus Three (China, Japan, South Korea).
    3. East Asia Summit (attended by India).
  • India has a separate Mission to ASEAN and the EAS in Jakarta.
  • Delhi Declaration: To identify Cooperation in the Maritime Domain as the key area of cooperation under the ASEAN-India strategic partnership.
  • Delhi Dialogue: For discussing politico-security and economic issues between ASEAN and India.

Arctic Council 

Tromsø, Norway 
  • Established in 1996 (Ottawa declaration).
  • Members:
    1. Eight countries with sovereignty over the lands within the Arctic Circle.
    2. Observer states without voting rights.
  • India re-elected as an observer state in 2019. 
  • Aim: To promote cooperation, coordination and interaction among the Arctic States, Arctic indigenous communities and other Arctic inhabitants on common Arctic issues (such as sustainable development and environmental protection in the Arctic).
  • Programs and Action Plans:
    1. Arctic Biodiversity Assessment
    2. Circumpolar Biodiversity Monitoring Program (CBMP)
    3. Arctic Climate Impact Assessment
    4. Arctic Human Development Report

Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO)

Beijing, China
  • Eurasian political, economic, and military organization aiming to maintain peace, security, and stability in the region.
  • Created in 2001.
  • The largest regional organization in the world in terms of geographical coverage and population.
  • Members:
    • 8 member states including India.
    • 4 observer states
    • 6 dialogue partners
    • 4 guest attendances
  • Objectives:
    1. Strengthening mutual trust and neighbourliness among the member states.
    2. Promoting effective cooperation in -politics, trade & economy, research & technology, and culture.
    3. Enhancing ties in education, energy, transport, tourism, environmental protection, etc.
    4. Maintain and ensure peace, security, and stability in the region.
    5. Establishment of a democratic, fair, and rational new international political & economic order.
  • Regional Anti-Terrorist Structure (RATS): established under SCO to combat terrorism, separatism and extremism based in Tashkent.


  • An annual summit between the supreme leaders of five nations- Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa.
  • First summit- 2009.
  • Aim: seeks to deepen, broaden and intensify cooperation within the grouping and among the individual countries for more sustainable, equitable and mutually beneficial development.
  • India's expert centre for BRICS: Observer Research Foundation. 
  • Fortaleza Declaration was signed during the 6th BRICS summit to establish the New Development Bank (Headquarters: Shanghai, China).

G20 (Group of 20)

  • Forum for the governments and central bank governors from 19 countries and the European Union (EU).
  • Founded in 1999.
  • Formally known as the “Summit on Financial Markets and the World Economy”.
  • No permanent secretariat or headquarters. 
  • Aim:
    • To discuss policy pertaining to the promotion of international financial stability.
    • Agenda has been broadened in recent times to include Agriculture, Employment, Energy, Fight against corruption, Climate Change, Global Health, Anti-terrorism.
  • G20 economies account for:
    • around 90% of the gross world product (GWP),
    • 80% of world trade (or, if excluding EU intra-trade, 75%),
    • two-thirds of the world population, and
    • approx. half of the world land area.

Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC)

Dhaka, Bangladesh
  • An organisation of seven nations dependent on the Bay of Bengal.
  • Established in  1997 through the Bangkok Declaration.
  • Aim: To create an enabling environment for rapid economic development; accelerate social progress; and promote collaboration on matters of common interest in the region.
  • Areas of cooperation include- Trade and Investment, Technology, Energy, Tourism, Fisheries, Agriculture, People-to-People Contact, Counter-Terrorism and Transnational Crime and Climate Change etc.
  • BIMSTEC Free Trade Area Framework Agreement (BFTAFA) has been signed by all member nations.
  • Asian Development Bank (ADB) became its partner in 2005.

Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP)

  • Mega-regional proposed economic agreement.
  • Expected to be signed in November 2020.
  • Members: ASEAN Members plus 5 FTA partners.
  • India opted out of RCEP. 
  • Aim: To achieve a modern, comprehensive, high-quality, and mutually beneficial economic partnership agreement among the ASEAN Member States and ASEAN's FTA partners.
  • Goals: Boost economic growth and equitable economic development, advance economic cooperation and broaden and deepen integration in the region.
  • The 15 negotiating countries account for 30% of the world's population and just under 30% of the global GDP.

International Solar Alliance (ISA)


  • A treaty-based alliance of 121 countries initiated by India, most of them being sunshine countries.
  • Meaning they lie either completely or partly between the Tropic of Cancer and the Tropic of Capricorn. 
  • Remaining countries can join the alliance and enjoy all benefits as other members, with the exception of voting rights.
  • Formation announced by the Paris Declaration in 2015.
  • The agreement of ISA was opened for signing at COP22 at Marrakech on November 15, 2016.
  • ISA Assembly is the main decision-making body.
  • Purpose: Bring together a group of nations to endorse clean energy, sustainable environment, public transport and climate
  • Objectives:
    1. global deployment of over 1,000GW of solar generation capacity and
    2. mobilisation of investment of over US$ 1000 billion into solar energy by 2030. 
  • After the United Nations, it is the largest grouping of states worldwide.
  • partnered with World Bank to launch Global Solar Atlas. 

United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)

New York, U.S.A.
  • It is the UN's global development network.
  • Established in 1965 by the General Assembly.
  • Focus: Works to eradicate poverty and reduce inequalities through the sustainable development of nations, in more than 170 countries and territories.
  • Functions:
    • Promotes technical and investment cooperation among nations and advocates for change and
      connects countries to knowledge, experience and resources to help people build a better life for themselves.
    • Provides expert advice, training and grants support to developing countries, with an increasing emphasis on assistance to the least developed countries.
    • Works with nations on their own solutions to global and national development challenges. 
  • UNDP is central to the United Nations Sustainable Development Group.
  • Works internationally to help countries achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
  • The three major areas of focus for UNDP India’s country programme for 2018-2022 are:
    1. Inclusive Growth
    2. Environment & Energy
    3. Strengthening Systems & Institutions
  • Publication: Human Development Report which includes the Human Development Index and  Gender Inequality Index

United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP)

  • Founded in 1972 (following Stockholm Conference).
  • Established by General Assembly Resolution 2997.
  • 193 member states.
  • Mandate:
    • Responsible for coordinating the UN's environmental activities and assisting developing countries in implementing environmentally sound policies and practices.
    • Covers a wide range of areas, including the atmosphere, marine and terrestrial ecosystems, environmental governance, and green economic development.
  • Funded entirely by voluntary contributions from U.N. member states.
  • Mission: To provide leadership and encourage partnership in caring for the environment by inspiring, informing, and enabling nations and peoples to improve their quality of life without compromising that of future generations.
  • As a member of the United Nations Sustainable Development Group:
    • UNEP helps create or implement environmental treaties and institutions, such as the UNFCCC, CITES.
    • In 1988, it joined the WMO to establish the IPCC.
    • It is also one of several “Implementing Agencies” for the Global Environment Facility (GEF), the Multilateral Fund for the Implementation of the Montreal Protocol, and the International Cyanide Management Code.
  • Publications: Global Environment Outlook, Emission Gap Report, Actions on Air Quality, The Rise of Environmental Crime by UNEP & INTERPOL etc. 
  • Programmes: Earth Hour, Clean up the World, Billion Tree Campaign etc.

Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) 

Geneva, Switzerland
  • An intergovernmental body of the United Nations for the assessment of climate change.
  • Established in 1988 by the WMO and the UNEP.
  • 195 member states.
  • Objective: 
    • To provide the world with subjective, scientific information relevant to understanding the scientific basis of the risk of human-induced climate change, its natural, political, and economic impacts and risks, and possible response options.
  • IPCC produces reports that contribute to the work of UNFCCC.
  • Publications: Assessment Reports on climate change, Special and Methodology Reports. 
  • IPCC assessments provide a scientific basis for governments at all levels to develop climate-related policies, and they underlie negotiations at the UN Climate Conference.

International Criminal Court (ICC)

Hague, the Netherlands
  • World’s first permanent international criminal court.
  • Governed by an international treaty called 'The Rome Statute' which entered into force in 2002.
  • 123 member nations. 
  • Aim: Through international criminal justice, ICC aims to hold those responsible for their crimes and to help prevent these crimes from happening again.
  • Functions: It investigates and, where warranted, tries individuals charged with the gravest crimes of concern to the international community:
    genocide, war crimes, crimes against humanity and the crime of aggression.
  • Lacks universal territorial jurisdiction, and may only investigate and prosecute crimes committed within member states, crimes committed by nationals of member states, or crimes in situations referred to the Court by the UNSC.
  • India is not a party to Rome Statute along with the US and China.

Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD)

Paris, France
  • Founded in 1961.
  • An intergovernmental economic organisation with 37 member countries.
  • Members are high-income economies with a very high Human Development Index (HDI) and are regarded as developed countries. 
  • India is not a member, but a key economic partner.
  • Aim: To stimulate economic progress and world trade.
  • Functions: 
    • publishes and updates a model tax convention – a template for allocating taxation rights between countries.
    • Publishes economic reports, statistical databases, analyses, and forecasts on the outlook for economic growth worldwide.
    • Endeavours to eliminate bribery and other forms of financial crimes worldwide.
    • Recommends ways to foster economic growth which considering environmental concerns. 
  • Non-binding.
  • Publications:
    • Government at a Glance 2017 report.
    • International Migration Outlook.
    • OECD Better Life Index.
    • OECD Economic Outlook.

North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO)

  • An international alliance that consists of 30 member states from North America and Europe.
  • Established by North Atlantic Treaty on 4 April 1949.
  • Purpose: to guarantee the freedom and security of its members through political and military means.
  • Functions: 
    • promotes democratic values, enables members to consult and cooperate on defence and security-related issues to solve problems, build trust and, prevent conflict.
    • Committed to the peaceful resolution of disputes.
    • If diplomatic efforts fail- military power to undertake crisis-management operations under Article 5 of the treaty. 
  • Article 5: “if an armed attack occurs against one of the member states, it shall be considered an attack against all members, and other members shall assist the attacked member, with armed forces if necessary”.
    (only once invoked following the 9/11 attacks).
  • Decisions of NATO are taken by consensus.
  • India has NATO ally status.

African Union (AU)

Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
  • Established in 2002 as a result of the Sirte Declaration (signed in 1999).
  • A continental body which consists of 55 states belonging to the African continent. 
  • A successor to the Organisation of African Unity (OAU).
  • Working towards increased cooperation and integration of African states for economic development.
  • Objectives: 
    • To achieve greater unity and solidarity between the African countries and Africans.
    • To defend the sovereignty, territorial integrity and independence of its Member States.
    • To accelerate the political and social-economic integration of the continent.
  • African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) signed by member countries to create a single continental market for goods and services (world’s largest FTA once ratified).
  • A permanent observer at the UNGA.

Financial Action Task Force (FATF)

OECD headquarters in Paris
  • Founded in 1989 on the initiative of the G7.
  • Members:
    • 39 full members, comprising 37 member jurisdictions and two regional organisations -GCC and EC.
    • 9 associated FATF style regional members, having similar objectives of setting up systems to fight terrorism and money laundering.
  • Purpose: To combat money laundering and terrorism financing.
  • Objective: To set standards and promote effective implementation of legal, regulatory and operational measures for combating money laundering, terrorist financing and other related threats to the integrity of the international financial system.
  • Functions:
    • monitors the progress of its members in implementing necessary measures,
    • reviews money laundering and terrorist financing techniques and counter-measures and
    • promotes the adoption and implementation of appropriate measures globally. 
  • FATF Plenary is the decision-making body- meeting thrice a year.
  • FATF maintains two lists:
    • Black List: Now called “Call for action” -common shorthand description for the FATF list of “Non-Cooperative Countries or Territories” (NCCTs).
    • Grey List: Countries that are considered safe haven for supporting terror funding and money laundering are put in the FATF grey list. This inclusion serves as a warning to the country that it may enter the blacklist.
  • Consequences of being in the FATF grey list:
    • Economic sanctions from IMF, World Bank, ADB
    • Problem in getting loans from IMF, World Bank, ADB and other countries
    • Reduction in international trade
    • International boycott
  • Publications: Global Money Laundering Report.

UN Specialized Agencies

World Health Organization (WHO)

Geneva, Switzerland
  • Established by the constitution on 7 April 1948, April 7- World Health Day.
  • 194 Member States.
  • Objective: “the attainment by all peoples of the highest possible level of health.”
  • Mandate: Advocating for universal healthcare, monitoring public health risks, coordinating responses to health emergencies, and promoting human health and well being.
  • Supreme-decision making body- World Health Assembly which meets annually to focus on a specific health agenda prepared by the Executive Board.
  • EB is composed of 34 individuals technically qualified in the field of health.
  • Functions:
    • Provides technical assistance to countries,
    • sets international health standards and guidelines,
    • collects data on global health issues through the World Health Survey,
    • serves as a forum for summits and discussions on health issues.
    • Its flagship publication, the World Health Report, provides expert assessments of global health topics and health statistics on all nations. 
  • Part of the UNSDG.
  • India has the chairmanship of the Executive Board for the next year (from May 2020- May 2021).

World Trade Organization (WTO)

Geneva, Switzerland 
  • Officially commenced on 1 January 1995 under the Marrakesh Agreement, replacing the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT), 1948.
  • Largest international economic organization in the world.
  • 164 members (including the European Union) and 23 observer governments.
  • Purpose: Reduction of tariffs and other barriers to trade.
  • Functions: 
    • deals with regulation of trade in goods, services and intellectual property between participating countries.
    • Prohibits discrimination between trading partners, but provides exceptions for environmental protection, national security, and other important goals.
    • Trade-related disputes are resolved by independent judges at the WTO through a dispute resolution process.
  • Publications: World Trade Statistical Review, Global Value Chain Development Report, WTO Annual Report.

World Bank Group (WB)

D.C., United States

  • Largest and most well-known development bank in the world.
  • Formed on 4 July 1944 as IBRD (Bretton Woods Institution). 
  • Later it grew as a family of five institutions: 
    1. International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD): established in 1944, provides loans, grants and credits. 
    2. International Finance Corporation (IFC): established in 1956, mobilizes private sector investment and provides advice.
    3. International Development Association (IDA): established in 1960, provides low or no-interest loans to poor countries. 
    4. Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA): established in 1988, provides political risk insurance (guarantees).
    5. International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID): established in 1965, works with governments to reduce investment risk, functions as a dispute settlement institution. 
  • The first two are sometimes referred to as the World Bank.
  • Purpose: working for sustainable solutions that reduce poverty and build shared prosperity in developing countries.
  • An observer at the United Nations Development Group.
  • Members: 189 UN countries and Kosovo.
  • India is a founding member of IBRD and member of other three institutions except for ICSID. 

Conditions for Membership:

  • To join the World Bank Group, a country must first become a member of the IMF.
  • To become members of the IDA, IFC, and MIGA, the countries must first become members of IBRD.
  • Membership of the ICSID is subject to all the following conditions:
    • IBRD membership
    • Party to the Statute of the International Court of Justice (ICJ)
    • Invitation of the ICSID Administrative Council by a vote of two-thirds of its members.
  • Publications: Global Economic Prospects Report, Ease of Doing Business, World Development Report, Universal Health Coverage Index.

Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO)

Rome, Italy
  • Established in 1945.
  • Largest of the UN agencies.
  • Leads international efforts to defeat hunger.
  • 197 member states.
  • Acts as a neutral forum where all nations meet as equals to negotiate agreements and debate policy.
  • Its Latin motto, fiat panis, translates to “let there be bread”.
  • Mandate: To raise levels of nutrition, improve agricultural productivity, better the lives of rural populations and contribute to the growth of the world economy. 
  • Functions:
    • Coordinates governments and development agencies' activities to improve and develop agriculture, forestry, fisheries, and land and water resources.
    • Also conducts research, provides technical assistance to projects, operates educational and training programs, and collects data on agricultural output, production, and development.
  • Part of the UNSDG.
  • Publications: Publishes a number of major ‘State of the World’ reports related to food, agriculture, forestry, fisheries and natural resources.

International Monetary Fund (IMF)

Washington, DC, USA
  • Formed in 1945 (Bretton Woods Institution).
  • 189 members states. 
  • Provides monetary cooperation and financial stability and acts as a forum for advice, negotiation and assistance on financial issues. 
  • Objective: 
    1. Foster global monetary cooperation
    2. Secure financial stability
    3. Facilitate international trade
    4. Promote high employment and sustainable economic growth
    5. And reduce poverty around the world
  • Governing Bodies:
    • Board of Governors
    • Ministerial Committees
    • Executive Board
  • Functions: 
    • works to foster global growth and economic stability by providing policy advice and financing
    • surveillance of the overall macroeconomic performance of member countries.
    • negotiates conditions on lending and loans under their policy of conditionality.
  • Publications: World Economic Outlook, Global Financial Stability Report.
  • Special drawing rights(SDRs): 
    supplementary forex assets defined and maintained by the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO)

 Paris, France
  • Officially founded as UNESCO in 1945, but has its origins in the League of Nations itself.
  • Founded followed by Conference of Allied Ministers of Education (CAME).
  • Aim: promoting peace and security through international cooperation in education, the sciences, and culture.
  • 193 member states and 11 associate members, Israel, Liechtenstein, United States are not members.
  • A member of the UNSDG.
  • Major Initiatives:
    • World Heritage Convention and List
    • Man and the Biosphere (MAB) Programme
    • International Geoscience and Global Geoparks Programme (IGGP)
    • International Hydrological Programme (IHP)
    • World Water Assessment Programme (WWAP)
    • International Basic Sciences Programme (IBSP)
    • Education 2030 Framework for Action’ (Incheon Declaration)
  • Publications: UNESCO Science Report, Global Education Monitoring Report, UNESCO State of the Education Report for India: Children With Disabilities.

International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO)


 Montreal, Canada
  • Founded in 1947.
  • 193 Member States.
  • Purposes:
    • Codifies the principles and techniques of international air navigation.
    • Fosters the planning and development of international air transport to ensure safe and orderly growth.
  • Functions:
    • Adopts standards and recommended practices concerning air navigation, prevention of unlawful interference, and facilitation of border-crossing procedures for international civil aviation.
    • Defines the protocols for air accident investigation followed by transport safety authorities in countries signatory to the Convention on International Civil Aviation, commonly known as the Chicago Convention.
  • Publications: Safety Reports.

World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO)

 Geneva, Switzerland
  • Created in 1967 (Convention Establishing the World Intellectual Property Organization). 
  • World Intellectual Property Day is being celebrated on 26th April every year.
  • 193 member states.
  • India joined WIPO in 1975.
  • Aim: “to encourage creative activity, to promote the protection of intellectual property throughout the world”.
  • Functions:
    • hosting forums to discuss and shape international IP rules and policies, providing global services that register and protect IP in different countries,
    • resolving transboundary IP disputes,
    • helping connect IP systems through uniform standards and infrastructure, and
    • serving as a general reference database on all IP matters, including providing reports and statistics on the state of IP protection or innovation both globally and in specific countries.
  • Publications:
    • World Intellectual Property Indicators, Global Innovation Index in collaboration with Cornell University, INSEAD.

International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)

Vienna, Austria
  • Established as an autonomous organisation on 29 July 1957.
  • Serves as an intergovernmental forum for scientific and technical co-operation in the peaceful use of nuclear technology and nuclear power worldwide.
  • 171 member states.
  • Though established independently of the UN through its own international treaty, the IAEA reports to both the UN General Assembly and UN Security Council.
  • Missions:
    1. Peaceful uses: Promoting the peaceful uses of nuclear energy by its member states,
    2. Safeguards: Implementing safeguards to verify that nuclear energy is not used for military purposes, and
    3. Nuclear safety: Promoting high standards for nuclear safety.
  • Publications: IAEA Annual Report, Nuclear Technology Review 

International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN)

 Gland, Switzerland
  • Created in 1948 (initiated by UNESCO).
  • Over 1400 Members from over 170 countries, India is a member.
  • Membership union uniquely composed of both government and civil society organisations.
  • The global authority on the status of the natural world and the measures needed to safeguard it.
  • Convenes the World Conservation Congress where members set the global conservation agenda by voting on recommendations.
  • Focus: Working in the field of nature conservation and sustainable use of natural resources. 
  • Mission: “influence, encourage and assist societies throughout the world to conserve nature and to ensure that any use of natural resources is equitable and ecologically sustainable”.
  • Has an observer and consultative status at the United Nations.
  • Implements several international conventions on nature conservation and biodiversity.
  • IUCN Red List of Threatened Species:
    • World's most comprehensive inventory of the global conservation status of plant and animal species.
    • Recognized as the most authoritative guide to the status of biological diversity.
    • A key indicator for the SDGs and Aichi Targets.

World Economic Forum (WEF)


 Geneva, Switzerland

  • Founded in 1971.
  • Hosts an annual meeting at the end of January in Davos.
  • Mission: “committed to improving the state of the world by engaging business, political, academic, and other leaders of society to shape global, regional, and industry agendas”.
  • Membership is made up of the world's largest corporations.
  • Funded by its 1,000 member companies.
  • Publications:
    • Inclusive growth & Development Report
    • Environmental Performance Index
    • Global Competitiveness Index 
    • Global Energy Architecture Performance Index Report
    • Global Gender Gap Report
    • Global Information Technology Repor
    • Human Capital Report
    • Inclusive growth & Development Report 
    • Outlook on Global Agenda
    • Global Risk Report 
    • Travel and Tourism Competitiveness Report 

World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF)

Gland, Switzerland
  • Founded in 1961.
  • World's largest conservation organization.
  • Working in more than 100 countries
  • Focus: 
    • works in the field of wilderness preservation and the reduction of human impact on the environment.
    • current work is organized around these six areas: food, climate, freshwater, wildlife, forests, and oceans.
  • Aim: To “stop the degradation of the planet's natural environment and to build a future in which humans live in harmony with nature.”
  • Objectives:
    • Conserving the world’s biological diversity
    • Ensuring that the use of renewable natural resources is sustainable
    • Promoting the reduction of pollution and wasteful consumption
  • Publications: The Energy Report & Living Planet Report, Living Planet Index.
  • Campaigns:
    • Debt-for-Nature Swap
    • Earth Hour
    • Healthy Grown
    • Marine Stewardship Council 

Wildlife Trade Monitoring Network (TRAFFIC)

Cambridge, United Kingdom
  • Founded in 1976 as a strategic alliance of the WWF and IUCN.
  • Focus: working globally on the trade of wild animals and plants in the context of both biodiversity and sustainable development.
  • Aim: to ‘ensure that trade in wild plants and animals is not a threat to the conservation of nature’. 
  • Works with a range of partner organisations and individuals: WWF and IUCN, other NGOs, government agencies, CITES and the World Customs Organisation.
  • Latest campaign: WANTED ALIVE series on the four Asian big cats- Tiger, Leopard, Snow Leopard and Clouded Leopard- all of them threatened by the illegal trade in their body parts.

Greenpeace International

Amsterdam, Netherlands
  • An environmental organization with offices in over 55 countries.
  • Founded in 1972.
  • Aim: to “ensure the ability of the Earth to nurture life in all its diversity”. 
  • Focus: 
    • Campaigning on worldwide issues such as climate change, deforestation, overfishing, commercial whaling, genetic engineering, and anti-nuclear issues.
  • Uses direct action, lobbying, research, and ecotage to achieve its goals.
  • Does not take funding from governments, corporations, or political parties.
  • Relies on three million individual supporters and foundation grants.
  • General consultative status with UN ECOSOC.
  • Founding member of the INGO Accountability Charter: an international NGO that intends to foster accountability and transparency of non-governmental organizations.
  • Publications: Greenpeace Annual Report, Toxic Air: The Price of Fossil Fuels etc.

Amnesty International

London, UK

  • Founded in 1961.
  • Focus: Protecting human rights
  • Aim: To create a world where every person enjoys all of the human rights enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and other international human rights standards.
  • Activities:
    • draws attention to human rights abuses and campaigns for compliance with international laws and standards.
    • conducts research, generates action to prevent grave abuses of human rights and demands justice for them.
    • mobilizes public opinion to generate pressure on governments where abuse takes place.
  • Awarded Nobel Peace Prize in 1977 for its “defence of human dignity against torture,” and the United Nations Prize in the Field of Human Rights in 1978.

Cooperative for Assistance and Relief Everywhere (CARE) International

Geneva, Switzerland
  • Major humanitarian agency delivering emergency relief and long-term international development projects.
  • Founded in 1945.
  • Active throughout the globe.
  • Focus: works around the globe to save lives, defeat poverty and achieve social justice.
  • Nonsectarian, impartial, and one of the largest and oldest humanitarian aid organizations focused on fighting global poverty. 
  • Its programmes address a broad range of topics including:
    1. emergency response,
    2. food security,
    3. water and sanitation,
    4. economic development,
    5. climate change, agriculture,
    6. education,
    7. health.
  • Within each of these areas, CARE focuses on empowering and meeting the needs of women and girls and promoting gender equality.

Oxfam International (Oxford Committee for Famine Relief)


Nairobi, Kenya 
  • Founded in 1942.
  • Later became a confederation of multiple independent charitable organizations, with affiliates in 20 countries.
  • Focus: Alleviation of global poverty.
  • Mission: seeks a world in which everyone can speak up to power, claim their human rights, and build a better future for themselves. 
  • Oxfam works on:
    1. trade justice,
    2. fair trade,
    3. education,
    4. debt and aid,
    5. livelihoods,
    6. health, HIV/AIDS,
    7. gender equality,
    8. conflict and natural disasters,
    9. democracy and human rights, and
    10. climate change. 
  • Adopts a rights-based approach, recognizes the universality and indivisibility of human rights. 
  • Publications: Time to Care report, Report on Inequality, Global Inequality Crisis Report etc.

Doctors Without Borders (Médecins Sans Frontières)


Geneva, Switzerland
  • An international humanitarian medical NGO.
  • Founded in 1971, in the aftermath of the Biafra secession.
  • Best known for its projects in conflict zones and in countries affected by endemic diseases.
  • active in 70 countries.
  • Mission: to expand access to medical care across national boundaries and irrespective of race, religion, creed or political affiliation.
  • General consultative status with the UN ECOSOC.
  • Received the 1999 Nobel Peace Prize and 1996 Seoul Peace Prize.

Reporters Without Borders

Paris, France

  • Founded in 1985.
  • Focus: Safeguards the right to freedom of information.
  • Its advocacy is inspired by Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights that recognizes the right to receive and share information regardless of frontiers, along with other international rights charters.
  • Consultative status at the United Nations, UNESCO, the Council of Europe, and the International Organisation of the Francophonie.
  • Activities:
    • works on the ground in defence of individual journalists at risk,
    • works at the highest levels of government and international forums to defend the right to freedom of expression and information,
    • provides daily briefings and press releases on threats to media freedom,
    • provides assistance to journalists at risk and training in digital and physical security,
    • campaigns to raise public awareness of abuse against journalists and to secure their safety and liberty.
  • Its Press Freedom Prize honours courageous and independent journalists who have faced threats or imprisonment and who have challenged the abuse of power.
  • Publication: World Press Freedom Index.
    • India ranked 142nd out of 180 countries in WPFI 2020.
  • Recently launched The Uncensored Library.

Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative

New Delhi, India
  • Founded in 1987.
  • An independent, non-partisan NGO which works towards the practical realisation of human rights in the Commonwealth.
  • A voluntary association of 54 independent and equal sovereign states
  • Membership is based on free and equal voluntary cooperation.
  • Rwanda and Mozambique – have no historical ties to the British Empire.
  • Objectives:
    • to promote awareness and adherence to-
      1. the Commonwealth's Harare Declaration,
      2. to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights,
      3. to other internationally recognised human rights instruments, and
      4. to advocate for the domestic institutions supporting human rights in the Commonwealth member states.
  • Specialises in transparency and accountability issues, with a focus on access to justice and access to information.
  • Consultative Status with the UN ECOSOC.
  • Publication: Eradicating Modern Slavery: An assessment of Commonwealth government progress

BirdLife International

  Cambridge, United Kingdom
  • Founded in 1922 as the International Council for Bird Protection, renamed BirdLife International in 1993.
  • World’s largest nature conservation Partnership.
  • Motto: Partnership for Nature and People
  • Focus: strives to conserve birds, their habitats and global biodiversity, working with people towards sustainability in the use of natural resources.
  • Objectives: 
    • preventing the extinction of bird species,
    • identifying and safeguarding important sites for birds,
    • maintaining and restoring key bird habitats, and
    • empowering conservationists worldwide.
  • Official IUCN Red List authority for birds.
  • It identifies the sites known/referred to as ‘Important Bird and Biodiversity Areas’.
  • Publications: World Birdwatch, BirdLife, State of the World Birds.

Bombay Natural History Society (BNHS)

Mumbai, India
  • Founded on 15 September 1883.
  • One of the largest NGOs in India engaged in conservation and biodiversity research.
  • Mission: Conservation of Nature, primarily Biological Diversity through action based on Research, Education and Public Awareness
  • Designated as a 'Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation' by the Department of Science and Technology.
  • Partner of BirdLife International in India.
  • supports many research efforts through grants and publishes the Journal of the Bombay Natural History Society.
  • Initiatives:
    • Asian Waterbird census
    • National Dragonfly festival

Conservation International

Virginia, USA
  • An American NGO.
  • Founded in 1987 with the goal of protecting nature for the benefit of people.
  • Focus: Climate change, freshwater security, health, food security, biodiversity, cultural services
  • Mission: to spotlight and secure the critical benefits that nature provides to humanity, such as food, freshwater, livelihoods and a stable climate.
  • Focuses on science, policy and partnership with businesses, governments and communities. 
  • Four strategic priorities:
    1. protecting nature for climate;
    2. ocean conservation at scale;
    3. promoting nature-based economic development; and
    4. innovation in science and finance.

Transparency International

Berlin, Germany
  • A German NGO founded in 1993.
  • Aim: to take action to combat global corruption with civil societal anti-corruption measures and to prevent criminal activities arising from corruption.
  • Mission: to stop corruption and promote transparency, accountability and integrity at all levels and across all sectors of society.
  • A member of UNESCO Consultative Status, United Nations Global Compact.
  • Shares the goals of peace, justice, strong institutions and partnerships of the UNSDG.
  • Publications: Global Corruption Barometer and the Corruption Perceptions Index, Global Corruption Report

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