The Union of International Associations (UIA) is a non-profit, independent, apolitical and non-governmental institution in the service of international associations. Since its founding in 1907 the UIA has focused on documenting the nature and evolution of international civil society, including international non-governmental organizations (NGO) and inter-governmental organizations (IGO).
Founded by two Belgians more than one hundred years ago, Henri La Fontaine (Nobel Peace Prize laureate of 1913) and Paul Otlet, they wanted to “assess and describe the degree of internationalism prevailing throughout the world”. At the time, there were only an estimated 350 international bodies. Today, the UIA tracks the activities of more 65,000 international associations and organizations that span virtually every area of human activity.
Publicly the UIA is best known for the Yearbook of International Organizations, the Encyclopedia of World Problems and Human Potential, the International Congress Calendar, and its former journal Transnational Associations. The UIA also enjoys Associate Status with UNESCO and consultative status with ECOSOC.
In its on-going efforts to facilitate understanding of the nature and complexities of the international community of organizations the UIA has become a cutting-edge technical centre with high standing in the academic, governmental, and business domains.
The UIA achieves its aims through the documentation of global civil society, the publication of research reports and by hosting the annual Associations Round Table, bringing together hundreds of associations professionals to share information and insights.