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Research Resources for Students


A.  Global Organizations Concerned with International Communications

The following listing includes the major intergovernmental organizations (IGOs) that are concerned with some aspect of international communications policy.  As IGOs, the official membership are States, although some, like the ITU, have participatory bodies that include the commercial sector.

International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO)

Represents governments around the world in promoting international understanding and security though cooperative aviation regulation.

International Telecommunication Union (ITU)

Oldest UN specialized agency.  Develops standards, radio regulation, and development assistance to share the benefits of communication services worldwide.


Trade and Development agency of the United Nations.  Major initiatives in globalization, trade facilitation, transparency, and use of communications technologies to facilitate investment, financial flows, and logistics.


UN-specialized agency that has specific programs relating to world communication issues, especially in empowering people through the free flow of ideas by word and image, and by access to information and knowledge.  Major themes include:  Access to information, capacity building, content development, freedom of expression, media development, and creating global archives and memories. 

Universal Postal Union (UPU)

UN agency responsible for worldwide cooperation for mail and associated services.

World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO)

A specialized agency of the United Nations. It is dedicated to developing a balanced and accessible international intellectual property (IP) system, which rewards creativity, stimulates innovation and contributes to economic development while safeguarding the public interest. Administers 24 treaties concerning copyrights, patents, and other IP matters.

World Bank Group (IBRD; IFC; IDA; MIGA; ICSID)

Constituent agencies have lending and advisory services in a wide variety of communications-related investment and economic development activities.

World Tourism Organization

Specialized agency of the United ?Nations and the leading international organization in the field of tourism. It serves as a ?global forum for tourism policy issues and a practical source of tourism know-how.

World Trade Organization (WTO)

Successor organization to the GATT, deals with the rules of trade between nations at a global or near-global level.  Includes the TRIPS agreement, which operationalizes intellectual property rights protection in the context of global trade.

B.  Regional and Specialized IGOs Concerned with International Communications


Operator of satellite communications for its Arab member States.  It is the last remaining communications satellite consortium which retains its status as an IGO.

European Council of Post and Telecom Administrations (CEPT)

Represents the national governmental regulatory bodies for communications in Europe. Coordinates and harmonizes regulatory policies across Europe.

European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI)

Produces globally-applicable standards for Information and Communications Technologies (ICT), including fixed, mobile, radio, converged, broadcast and internet technologies. Officially recognized by the European Commission as a European Standards Organization. ETSI is a not-for-profit organization with about 700 member organizations drawn from 60 countries worldwide.

Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD)

Through its programs in international information and communications policy, OECD undertakes a wide range of activities aimed at improving the understanding of how communications contribute to sustainable economic growth and social well-being and their role in the shift toward knowledge-based societies.

C.  Public-Private Partnership IGOs Concerned with International Communications

African Telecommunications Union

Founded in Kinshasa in 1977 as a specialized agency of the Organization of African Unity (OAU) now African Union (AU) in the field of telecommunications, ATU is the leading continental organization fostering developments of information and communications technologies infrastructure and services, leading to the transformation of the agency into a partnership between public and private stakeholders in the Information and Communications Technology (ICT) Sector.

Caribbean Telecommunications Union

Committed to ensuring that tangible benefits from the development of the Caribbean information and telecommunication sectors accrue to the citizens of the region.

Commonwealth Telecommunications Organisation (CTO)

The Commonwealth Telecommunications Organisation (CTO) is an international development partnership between Commonwealth and non-Commonwealth governments, business and civil society organisations. It provides the international community with effective means to help bridge the digital divide and achieve social and economic development, by delivering to developing countries unique knowledge-sharing programmes in the use of Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) in the specific areas of Telecommunications, IT, Broadcasting and the Internet.

Inter-American Telecommunication Commission (CITEL)

Entity of the Organization of American States, the main forum in the Western hemisphere in which the governments and the private sector meet to coordinate regional efforts to develop the Global Information Society according to the mandates of the General Assembly of the Organization and the mandates entrusted to it by Heads of State and Government at the Summits of the Americas.

Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN)

To reach another person on the Internet you have to type an address into your computer - a name or a number. That address has to be unique so computers know where to find each other. ICANN coordinates these unique identifiers across the world. Without that coordination there would be no global Internet. ICANN was formed in 1998. It is a not-for-profit public-benefit corporation with participants from all over the world dedicated to keeping the Internet secure, stable and interoperable. It promotes competition and develops policy on the Internet's unique identifiers. Through its coordination role of the Internet's naming system, it does have an important impact on the expansion and evolution of the Internet.

Internet Governance Forum

Purpose is to support the United Nations Secretary-General in carrying out the mandate from the World on the Information Society (WSIS) with regard to convening a new forum for multi-stakeholder policy dialogue.

The International Communication Program gratefully acknowledges the contributions of Prof. Eric Novotny to the IC Resources page.

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