Government Information: International Organizations

by Research Assistance – April 15, 2020

This guide will point you to a selection of specialized resources that will help you find research published by intergovernmental organization such as the United Nations and Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development.

Should you have questions or need suggestions on where to start your research you can email the UCD research support librarians at

In this Guide:

An intergovernmental organization or international governmental organization (IGO) is an organization composed primarily of sovereign states (referred to as member states), or of other intergovernmental organizations. Intergovernmental organizations are often called international organizations, although that term may also include international nongovernmental organization such as international nonprofit organizations or multinational corporations.

The United Nations (UN) is an intergovernmental organization to promote international co-operation.

The UN Charter stipulates that each primary organ of the UN can establish various specialized agencies to fulfill its duties. Some best-known agencies are the International Atomic Energy Agency, the Food and Agriculture Organization, UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization), the World Bank, and the World Health Organization (WHO).

The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) is an intergovernmental economic organisation with 35 member countries, founded in 1960 to stimulate economic progress and world trade.

The University Library collects documents from the United Nations, the World Bank, and the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. While the University Library has legacy collections of IGO in paper copy, a large number of our current IGO collection is available through online subscriptions or databases.  IGO documents both in paper copy and online are represented in the University Library catalog.

The purposes of the United Nations, as set forth in the Charter, are to maintain international peace and security; to develop friendly relations among nations; to cooperate in solving international economic, social, cultural and humanitarian problems and in promoting respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms; and to be a centre for harmonizing the actions of nations in attaining these ends

The United Nations Official Document System comprises the full text of all United Nations parliamentary documents, including resolutions and decisions issued at United Nations Headquarters in New York and the United Nations Office at Geneva since 1993 (with selected earlier coverage), and at the United Nations Office at Vienna since 1997, as well as documents from the Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific beginning in 1997. In addition to parliamentary documentation, all currently valid United Nations administrative issuances (ST/AI/-, ST/IC/- and ST/SGB/-) are included in the database.

Coverage: 1993-present.
Tags: Government

The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations leads international efforts to defeat hunger. Serving both developed and developing countries, FAO acts as a neutral forum where all nations meet as equals to negotiate agreements and debate policy. FAO is also a source of knowledge and information. We help developing countries and countries in transition modernize and improve agriculture, forestry and fisheries practices and ensure good nutrition for all.

The International Atomic Energy Agency serves as the world’s intergovernmental forum for scientific and technical co-operation in the nuclear field, and as the international inspectorate for the application of nuclear safeguards and verification measures covering civilian nuclear programmes.

The IMF is an international organization of 184 member countries. It was established to promote international monetary cooperation, exchange stability, and orderly exchange arrangements; to foster economic growth and high levels of employment; and to provide temporary financial assistance to countries to help ease balance of payments adjustment.

The World Bank consisted of the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD) and the International Development Association. Collectively, the following insitutitions were known as the World Bank Group: IBRD, IDA, the International Finance Corporation, the Multilateral Gurantee Agency (MIGA) and the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID)

UNESCO promotes collaboration among nations through education, science and culture in order to further universal respect for justice, for the rule of law and for the human rights and fundamental freedoms.

The World Bank eLibrary contains the full collection of all World Bank publications and research including: Books published since the 1990s; all World Bank Economic Review (WBER) and World Bank Research Observer (WBRO) since 1996; all Development Outreach issues; and all Policy Research Working Papers since 1995.

Coverage: 1995-present
Tags: Economics

The World Health Organization, the United Nations specialized agency for health, was established on 7 April 1948. WHO’s objective, as set out in its Constitution, is the attainment by all peoples of the highest possible level of health. Health is defined in WHO’s Constitution as a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.

The World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) is an international organization dedicated to promoting the use and protection of works of the human spirit. These works — intellectual property — are expanding the bounds of science and technology and enriching the world of the arts. Through its work, WIPO plays an important role in enhancing the quality and enjoyment of life, as well as creating real wealth for nations.

The World Trade Organization (WTO) is the only global international organization dealing with the rules of trade between nations. At its heart are the WTO agreements, negotiated and signed by the bulk of the world’s trading nations and ratified in their parliaments. The goal is to help producers of goods and services, exporters, and importers conduct their business.

ADB is an international development finance institution whose mission is to help its developing member countries reduce poverty and improve the quality of life of their people.

ADB is a multilateral development finance institution dedicated to reducing poverty in Asia and the Pacific. The University Library is an ADB depository library.

The European Union (EU) is a family of democratic European countries, committed to working together for peace and prosperity. Its Member States have set up common institutions to which they delegate some of their sovereignty so that decisions on specific matters of joint interest can be made democratically at European level.

Made up of 35 member states, the OAS is the region’s premier political forum for multilateral dialogue and action. With four official languages — English, Spanish, French and Portuguese — the Organization reflects the rich diversity of peoples and cultures across the Americas.

The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) is an international organisation of thirty countries that accept the principles of representative democracy and free-market economy. The mandate of the OECD is broad, covering economic, environmental, and social issues.

OECD iLibrary is OECD’s Online Library for Books, Papers and Statistics and the gateway to OECD’s analysis and data. It replaces SourceOECD, and hosts all content so users can find – and cite – tables and databases as easily as articles or chapters.

Coverage: 1998-present, plus retrospective statistical data
Tags: Multidisciplinary