International Secretariats : Two Centuries of International Civil Servants and Secretariats book cover
1st Edition

International Secretariats
Two Centuries of International Civil Servants and Secretariats

ISBN 9780367369323
Published October 28, 2020 by Routledge
216 Pages

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Book Description

Providing a comprehensive overview of two centuries of international civil servants and international secretariats, this book reveals how international secretariats have emerged and evolved, focusing on both structures (international public administrations) and the practitioners (international civil servants).

Reinalda explores the history and development of international secretariats and international civil servants, starting with the Congress of Vienna (1814–1815), when the first international organization was established in the form of a river commission for the navigation of the Rhine. Charting the development of international secretariats through the nineteenth century – the League of Nations, the United Nations, and the United Nations System with its many specialized agencies, the author explains why NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization) and the OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development) have strong, rather than weak, international secretariats, and shines a light on the registries of international courts and tribunals.

The book fills a gap in the literature by exploring the full evolution of international secretariats, covering global and continental developments as well as regional integration practices around the world. Secretariats have become the leading actors in multilateral diplomacy particularly for dealing with complex issues, and this book will be of interest to all scholars of global governance and practitioners working for a range of international organizations.

Table of Contents


1 International river commissions

2 Public international unions

3 Concert of Europe conferences and private initiatives

4 War and peace: 1914-1919

5 The League of Nations and the International Labour Organization

6 Wartime international organizations

7 The United Nations System

8 Regional international organizations


10 International courts and tribunals

11 The United Nations Secretariat

12 Regional integration around the world

13 World conferences, sherpas, and treaty secretariats

14 Conclusion: two centuries of international civil servants and secretariats

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Bob Reinalda is a Fellow at the Department of Political Science, Radboud University, Nijmegen, The Netherlands. He published the Routledge History of International Organizations: From 1815 to the Present Day (2009) and edited the Ashgate Research Companion to Non-State Actors (2011), as well as the Routledge Handbook of International Organization (2013). Alongside Kent J. Kille and Jaci L. Eisenberg, he is an editor of IO BIO, the Biographical Dictionary of Secretaries-General of International Organizations: