The first volume of this series includes the official texts of 393 statutes of international nongovernmental organizations of Types A, B and C of the Yearbook of International Organizations, namely bodies with membership in countries in at least two continents. The series covers statutes in a variety of forms. It does not however include internal regulations such as "by-laws", unless there is no other constitutional document. Priority is given to the English language version of statutes.
The text provided for each organization includes the name of the organization, in the official languages used, together with an indication of the nature of the document, the date it was approved and the dates of any prior amendments, if available. This is followed by the text of the constitutional document, which normally covers items such as the following: aims, membership (types, conditions, rights, duties, exclusion), national committees (conditions, rights, duties, suspension), general assembly (convocation, composition, functions, voting procedures), executive committee (convocation, composition, functions, voting procedures), principal office holders (terms of office, functions, election procedures), administration (secretariat and regional secretariats), commissions, cooperation with other organizations, languages, funding and financial reports, activities, amendments to statutes, dissolution arrangements.
The description of international organizations in the Yearbook of International Organizations are insufficient for some purposes. In particular the space available precludes mention of the precise regulations specified in the statutes of such bodies. This was not the case when the predecessor of the Yearbook, the Annuaire de la Vie Internationale (1908-09; 1910-11), was first published. The statutes were then reproduced in the volume (which reached a size of 2652 pages). At present, although the complete texts of statutes of the better known intergovernmental organizations have since become fairly readily available in several collections, no such collection has existed for nongovernmental organizations since 1911.
This series is intended to serve the following purposes:
- to provide those endeavouring to establish new international organizations with models of statutes of existing organizations to serve as guidelines;
- to provide existing international organizations with ideas for useful amendments to their own statutes;
- to provide international organizations with a publication in which they can "register" their statutes and amendments in a manner that will ensure their availability in appropriate reference libraries;
- to provide a collection of statutes to serve as a basis for comparative studies from which insights concerning more fruitful organization constitutions may emerge;
- to reinforce the slow evolution of international law towards explicit legal recognition of the existence of nongovernmental international bodies; to reassure governments of countries having no legal provision for recognizing international nongovernmental bodies, by providing them with examples of the statutes governing organizations engaged in well-regulated international action.
Legal Status of International Nongovernmental Organizations
Many proposals have been made since the beginning of the century to clarify the legal status of international non-governmental associations. Special appendices to this first volume include:
- Commentaries on the legal status of international non-governmental organizations, including the previously unpublished Kopelmanas report (1949) and the Fontaine report for the European Parliament (1986)
- Texts (in both English and French versions where possible) of 13 proposed international conventions on the legal status of international associations from 1912 to 1987, which have hitherto existed only in relatively inaccessible form
- Texts of other international conventions indicative of related possibilities including: Privileges and immunities of Specialized Agencies (1947), Freedom of association and right to organize (1948), Privileges and immunities in diplomatic relations (1961), Crimes against internationally protected persons (1973), European economic interest grouping (1978), and selected articles from the proposed statute for European commercial companies (1975).