HomeInternational Organizations

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  • Law

    Hague Conference on Private International Law
    The Hague Conference is an intergovernmental organization that works toward the progressive unification of the rules of private international law. It has been responsible for a significant number of treaties in this area and is doing work in the e-commerce area.

    International Court of Justice
    The Court has jurisdiction over disputes between nation states. See also the Max Planck Institute's World Court Digest of opinions. 

    International Institute for the Unification of Private Law (Unidroit)
    Unidroit is an independent intergovernmental organisation that examines ways of harmonising the laws of nations to provide for the adoption of uniform rules of private law.

    International Law Commission
    The International Law Commission was established by the UN General Assembly in 1947 to promote the progressive development of international law and its codification. Most of the Commission's work involves the preparation of drafts on topics of international law.

    International Maritime Law Institute (IMLI)
    The Institute was established in 1989 under the auspices of the IMO for the training of specialists in maritime law, the international legal regime of merchant shipping and the general law of the sea. Special emphasis is placed on furthering the purposes and objectives of the IMO. The Institute  offers a post-graduate course leading to the degree of Master of Laws (LL.M.) in International Maritime Law. The main purpose of the course is to train lawyers from developing countries to become specialists in maritime law.

    International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea
    The court established by UNCLOS to adjudicate disputes under the Convention.

    UN Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL)
    UNCITRAL is the United Nations' primary legal body for international trade law. The Commission's areas of responsibility include the international sale and transportation of goods and the resolution of disputes through arbitration. Its latest work has been in the area of Electronic Commerce.

    UN Division for Ocean Affairs and the Law of the Sea
    A division of the UN Office of Legal Affairs that is responsible for issues relating to the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS). The Division serves as the Secretariat of the Convention and also the Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf. The Convention and related material are available at the site. See also the International Seabed Authority, the international body established by the UN Law of the Sea Convention to manage the exploration and use of seabed resources.

    Maritime & Other

    European Union (Europa)
    Official web site of the European Union. Information concerning Transport legislation in force is published at the site. Maritime Transport issues are under the Directorate General for Transport.  The site also inlcludes a European Governments On-line links page to the main government pages of each European nation. See also the Court of Justice of the Eurpoean Communities site.

    Equasis is  an information gathering organization developed by the European Commission and the French Maritime Administration to collect existing safety-related information on ships from both public and private sources for posting on the Internet.

    International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES)
    ICES is the oldest intergovernmental organisation in the world concerned with marine and fisheries science.

    International Hydrographic Organization
    The International Hydrographic Organization is an intergovernmental consultative and technical organization that was established in 1921. The organization's primary goal is to develop the field of hydrographic research and nautical chart-making.

    International Joint Commission
    The American/Canadian organization that seeks to engender cooperation on common boundary waters, most particularly the Great Lakes.  See also the Great Lakes Commission.

    International Labour Organization (ILO)
    The ILO is the UN agency the promotes internationally recognized human and labor rights. It was founded in 1919 and became the first specialized agency of the UN in 1946.  The ILO has been responsible for a significant number of conventions concerning the rights of seaman, which are available at its web site

    International Maritime Organization (IMO)
    The International Maritime Organization (IMO) is the UN specialized agency responsible for improving maritime safety and preventing pollution from ships. International conventions concluded under its auspices include the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) and Prevention of Pollution from Ships (MARPOL) conventions. IMO News, a quarterly magazine, and IMO Circulars are available online. IMO's Directory of Maritime Links is exhaustive, with many sites indexed worldwide. See also the World Maritime University site.

    Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC)
    The Commission was founded in 1960 and is focused on promoting international oceanographic research. IOC's Electronic Library has many IOC publications available for downloading.

    International Telecommunication Union (ITU) 
    ITU is headquartered in Geneva and is the international organization within which governments and the private sector coordinate global telecommunications networks and services.

    International Whaling Commission
    The International Whaling Commission (IWC) was set up under the International Convention for the Regulation of Whaling which was signed in Washington D.C. on 2 December 1946. The purpose of the Convention is to provide for the proper conservation of whale stocks and thus make possible the orderly development of the whaling industry.

    Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD)
    An inter-governmental organisation with 29 member countries in an organisation that provides governments a setting in which to discuss, develop and perfect economic and social policy. The OECD addresses transport and e-commerce issues. 

    United Nations (UN)
    Homepage for the United Nations. The website locator for UN Organizations and other international organizations is here. See also the Union of International Associations index of virtually all governmental and non-governmental international organizations.

    UN Environment Programme (UNEP)
    The UN body primarily responsible for environmental matters, including conventions for the protection of the marine environment. UNEP's Regional Seas Programme is involved in the management of marine and coastal regions.

    UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD)
    UNCTAD is the principal organ of the United Nations General Assembly in the field of trade and development, with an emphasis on trade, finance, technology, investment and sustainable development. In the area of transport, it has concluded conventions on the International Carriage of Goods by Sea (1978), the International Multimodal Transport of Goods (1980), the Conditions for the Registration of Ships (1986) and on Maritime Liens and Mortgages (1993). (See the International Conventions page of this guide for links to these conventions.)

    World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO)
    WIPO is responsible for promoting the protection of intellectual property throughout the world through cooperation among States, and for the administration of various multilateral treaties concerning the legal and administrative aspects of intellectual property.

    World Meteorological Organization
    United Nations agency concerned with weather and climate issues.

    World Trade Organization (WTO)
    WTO, an intergovernmental body, is responsible for the negotiation of trade and tariff agreements. Texts of WTO agreements are provided at the site.

    See also the Maritime Industry page for international organizations that are not intergovernmental

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