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.
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.