An international organization is a type of organization that is composed of multiple countries or nations as members. The purpose of an international organization is to facilitate cooperation and coordination among member nations on a global scale, addressing issues that transcend national borders and require collective action.

The headquarters of the International Committee of the Red Cross.
The headquarters of the International Committee of the Red Cross. Geneva (Switzerland) is the city that hosts the highest number of international organizations in the world.

International organizations can be intergovernmental or non-governmental in nature. Intergovernmental organizations (IGOs) are created by treaties between member states and are typically focused on political and economic issues. Examples of intergovernmental organizations include the United Nations, the World Trade Organization, and the International Monetary Fund.

Non-governmental organizations (NGOs) are created by private individuals or groups and are typically focused on social or humanitarian issues. Examples of non-governmental organizations include the International Red Cross and Amnesty International.

International organizations can have a range of functions, including providing a forum for member nations to discuss and address common issues, providing technical assistance and support to member nations, promoting international standards and norms, and coordinating efforts to address global challenges such as climate change and pandemics.

International organizations play an important role in global governance, promoting cooperation and coordination among nations and working to address global challenges that require collective action.

Intergovernmental Organizations (IGOs)

Intergovernmental organizations, also known as international governmental organizations: the type of organization most closely associated with the term ‘international organization’, these are organizations that are made up primarily of sovereign states (referred to as member states). Notable examples include the United Nations (UN), Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), Council of Europe (CoE), European Union (EU; which is a prime example of a supranational organization), and World Trade Organization (WTO). The UN has used the term “intergovernmental organization” instead of “international organization” for clarity.
> more

Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs)

Non-governmental organizations (NGOs) / International nongovernmental organizations (INGOs) that operate internationally. These include international non-profit organizations and worldwide companies such as the World Organization of the Scout Movement, International Committee of the Red Cross, Médecins Sans Frontières and World Safeguard and Media Limited.
> more