International Organisations

There are an estimated 66,000 international organisations (both governmental and non-governmental) including the oldest still operating, the Central Commission for the Navigation of the Rhine which has been operating since 1815.

There has been a tremendous growth in international organisations since the 1970s, as the graph below shows. In fact there is a Union of International Associations which publishes a yearbook on international organisations!

As I pointed out previously, international organisations – particularly the intergovernmental kind – are immortal. The most recent International Governmental Organisation to die was the League of Nations, but that required a world war.

Take just one. The IUCN: the International Union for Conservation of Nature. This is an organisation which Australia pays membership fees multiple times. Not only is the Australian Government a member (through the Environment Department) with an annual fee of several hundreds of thousands of dollars, there are 28 other Australian members including some State departments, universities and NGOs.

One way or another the Australian taxpayer is paying for these 29 memberships.

What for?

The United States Government is not a member of the IUCN. A lot of countries are not members. Are we saying they don’t care about nature conservation? Is it necessary to join an organisation (29 times!) to prove one’s symbolic credentials?

The IUCN is not atypical. There are many international organisations which Australian Governments, agencies, universities and NGOs join.

Do we really want to cede responsibility for administering our country to some faceless non-taxpaying international bureaucrats. I for one don’t.

Let’s start a savage pruning of Australian membership of international organisations.


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33 Responses to International Organisations

  1. entropy

    That graphic is appalling.

    I wonder how many are splitters?

  2. Samuel J

    entropy do you think there is a correlation between global warming and the growth in international organisations?

  3. Fred Furkenburger

    Goddammit but we need to start looking at cutting away the chaff of memberships to multiple UN type organisations, NGO’s and so many others which exist mostly to pay shitloads of money to their CEO’s and staff. What the fuck are we paying this money for?

  4. entropy

    With respect to emissions, you mean?

  5. jumpnmcar

    Let’s start a savage pruning of Australian membership of international organisations.

    An Australian Liberty Quote.

  6. politichix

    Correlates well with the increased acceptance of international travel for public servants.

  7. Samuel J

    sorry, yes, CO2 emissions.

  8. entropy

    What happened to NGOs in the late eighties? Did Ronald Reagan do something, or did the recession kill a few privately funded ones off?

  9. entropy

    sorry, yes, CO2 emissions.

    I doubt you need to so specific when it comes to a lot of these make work and self importance boosting boondoggles.

  10. Bruce of Newcastle

    There are an estimated 66,000 international organisations

    Vampires breed.

    Perhaps I am unfair. Maybe they are just the sort who feel threatened by a mutant star goat.

  11. SJ, NZ considered pulling out of an obscure UN Food and agricultural organization based in Rome. The annual membership fee was 250,000.

    Opon hearing of these plans, this body sent a six- man delegation out from Rome to talk us out of it.

    somehow, they thought that showing up six strong in Wellington would persuade us that they were frugal with the NZ taxpayers’ money!

  12. Andrew

    So if we announced we were going back to the NGO levels when Krudd took over (the first time), would that see a substantial saving? If so then yes – ask the PS to justify all news ones, or nominate those to come out.

  13. the commission on the Rhine guarantee freedom of navigation on the Rhine. a worthy goal.

    History records that at one time or another during the millennium 800- 1800, 79 different locations served as toll booths along the Rhine and its tributaries..

    1815 was big year in Europe for more than seeing off Napoleon


    First used the Rhine castles as a metaphor for a chain of tax collectors in 1992 at the Industry Commission.

    the great quote is on google books but a second link would trip the spam filter

  14. see for Castles, Battles, and Bombs
    How Economics Explains Military History


    chapter 2. The High Middle Ages, 1000–1300: The Case of the Medieval Castle and the Opportunity Cost of Warfare

    Opportunity Cost and Warfare
    The Ubiquity of Castles
    The Cost of Castling
    The Advantages of Castles
    The Cost of Armies
    Castle Building and the Other Principles of Economics

    Chapter 3. The Renaissance, 1300–1600: The Case of the Condottieri and the Military

    Labor Market
    The Principal-Agent Problem
    Demand, Supply, and Recruitment
    Contracts and Pay
    Control and Contract Evolution
    The Development of Permanent Armies
    Condottieri and the Other Principles of Economics

    Chapter 4. The Age of Battle, 1618–1815: The Case of Costs, Benefits, and the Decision to Offer Battle

    Expected Marginal Costs and Benefits of Battle
    The 1600s: Gustavus Adolphus and Raimondo de Montecuccoli
    The 1700s: Marlborough, de Saxe, and Frederick the Great
    Napoleonic Warfare
    The Age of Battle and the Other Principles of Economics

    That commission on the Rhine was a major tax reform

  15. Sally Moore

    The European Commission gives special recognition, status and rights to NGO’s –
    as does the UN –
    Collectivist politics and regulatory capture writ large.

  16. gabrianga

    Agreed politichix . Marrakesh, Cancun, even Copenhagen with Five Star accommodation, Business/First airfares, daily allowances and it’s been open slather since Australia signed up to the World Heritage Convention in 1974

    The rule book for this United Nations sub division explains why various Federal Governments have paid for the privilege of having some of our most highly mineralised regions locked up for evermore unless we WITHDRAW.

    Of course the World Heritage Committee is housed in luxury in Gay Paree.

  17. Disillusioned

    Perhaps the pledge by the government to reduce red tape by $1B per year should start with foreign organisation membership. The way things are going the UN should be first cab off the rank. Time to insist on Quid Pro Quo.

  18. Ant

    When you create a trough, expect it to quickly fill with pig snouts.


  19. Ed

    This trend has taken place completely invisibly to the public.
    These organisations are bureaucracies. Therefore the net result of all this funding for international organisations is to outsource our bureaucracy.

  20. HH

    Thanks, SamJ.
    It’s disgraceful!
    Can we please have a team go through every item of Federal expenditure and identify and eliminate this cr*p? Let’s start with the Yarts, and move on from there.
    Heck, it doesn’t even have to be a paid job! I’d happily put in a few weeks for free. Will anyone else around here join me?
    Let’s keep in mind that it’s not only that the budget bottom line is hemorrhaging as a result of this: it’s the growth of the culture of entitlement tumor.

  21. LABCR-TV

    Fred F, Disillusioned:

    Couldn’t agree more.
    Does the UN really need over 2000 tons of gold ownership – more than most countries in the world.
    Most, if not all, of these NGO organisations are communist anyway, living the high life on other people’s money. It makes me sick.
    Joe Hockey, where the hell are you?

  22. Blogstrop

    Withdraw from all of them pending a full review. That review should seek to stringently define what benefits to Australia accrue, and subject each to a cost benefit analysis. It’s likely that ninety percent of them are money sink holes, no more than that.

  23. sabrina

    It will be interesting to see how many of these are funded by governments or large corporations.

    On a different note, $200000 for 100 hors of very hard work, wow!

  24. Alfonso

    Every second govt “job” is a make work scheme to occupy the lives of populations grown too large with nothing meaningful to do.

  25. jupes

    somehow, they thought that showing up six strong in Wellington would persuade us that they were frugal with the NZ taxpayers’ money!

    Yeah but did it work Jim? Are the Kiwis still paying for these free-loaders.

  26. jupes

    I fail to see why the government should spend one cent of taxpayer’s money on NGOs.

    If citizens want to donate to them, they are free to do so.

  27. Fred Lenin

    Pull out of untidy nayshuns and all its little corrupt organisations,repeal ALL u.n. inspired laws passed by previous governments without putting it to the people by way of Referenda.Stop universities wasting Taxpayers money on joining communist organisations,Review membership of all international organisations ,only staying with ones benefittin our country,turn the Trough upside down!

  28. Zatara

    “I fail to see why the government should spend one cent of taxpayer’s money on NGOs.”

    Given that NGO stands for ‘Non Governmental Organization’, neither do . The term specifically precludes government involvement.

    Foreign aid/charity should seldom if ever be provided in funds. It should be provided in goods and services to get the receiver through tough times and onto their own feet. Thus it provides a benefit to the people and economy of the donating nation as well as focusing the effort on a specific problem and best of all, doesn’t become the funding source of some dictators Swiss Bank Account.

    Growing seasons and project completions are excellent marks for measuring task accomplishment and help prevent an ongoing entitlement mentality.

    This concept of “Aid” as compared to government charity is as applicable to our own less fortunate.. Give them a free lunch if necessary, but don’t pay them to eat it.

  29. JohnA

    Disillusioned #1229151, posted on March 17, 2014 at 11:08 pm

    “Time to insist on Quid Pro Quo”

    Isn’t that what got Thommo into hot water, and isn’t he about to be sentenced for it?


  30. Combine Dave

    Foreign aid/charity should seldom if ever be provided in funds. It should be provided in goods and services to get the receiver through tough times and onto their own feet.

    I disagree, if it must be provided it should be provided in a way that benefits the Australian state and or people.

    Ie; if we are going to give them money to help build hospitals or whatever, than that construction work should be carried out by Australia companies 😀

    My alternative is, abolish government charity/foreign aid. It’s not charity if you have to forcibly take it from someone in order to them gift it to whatever pork barrel the politicians decide.

  31. .

    I fail to see why the government should spend one cent of taxpayer’s money on NGOs.


  32. .

    The only international organs that are necessary are the WTO and BIS.

    The rest should be gutted without hesitation or mercy.

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