The establishment of an INGO secretariat and associated staff, or the holding of a conference, or the organizations of a (field-level) programme, or the maintenance of membership ties in a particular country, are not governed and protected by national legislation recognizing the special character of INGOs (the only exception being Belgium). The INGO is obliged to register itself as a national organization of that country or a 'foreign' association, if it is permitted to establish itself at all. Many obstacles are thus created to INGO activity, particularly in the Eastern bloc and developing countries. This is a major obstacles to (a) increasing the representatives of INGO membership and to (b) ensuring that more INGOs have their headquarters or secretariats outside the North-West group of countries whose legislation is somewhat more open to association activity.
An interesting case in point is that of Kenya following the establishment of UNEP in Nairobi. Considerable difficulties were experienced by environmental INGOs wishing to establish offices or headquarters there - even the NGO Environmental Liaison Board which had the full support of UNEP. It is also interesting to note how carefully trade unions dissociate themselves from other INGOs on this point because their 'freedom of association' is the concern of a special ILO committee.