The purpose of the call is to elaborate a management scorecard for evaluating the impact of international associations on the local economies in Brussels, Dubai, Singapore and Washington DC

According to the Union of International Associations (UIA), Brussels, Dubai, Singapore and Washington, DC are THE most significant hubs for international associations in their respective regions of the world : Europe, Middle East, Asia and North America.

All four cities invest significant amounts in positioning themselves to attract and host international associations, engage with them locally and help them grow and transition into their regional markets.

Initiatives for the respective association communities range from dedicated one-stop-shops to fully serviced workplaces and from tailored education programs to networking activities in association clubs and centers.

In view of the budgets involved and the required ROI, the importance of monitoring trends in the sector and evaluating and benchmarking results cannot be stressed enough.

The UIA data reflect strong growth of the association sector in all four cities: they each build on their leading positions and continue to grow their market share in association secretariats over time.

The growing importance of the association sector in the four cities is further evidenced in the latest UIA international Meetings Statistics report. In 2017, three of the cities, i.e. Brussels, Dubai and Singapore, appear in the Top 10 of the annual city ranking.

Two of these -Brussels and Singapore- actually have occupied the top positions in the UIA ranking for many years. And according to ICCA, the Middle East is the fastest growing region in terms of international association meetings, with Dubai topping the charts in the region.

The 2013 Survey of the Federation of European & International Associations based in Belgium (FAIB) highlights the growing economic importance of international associations for the Brussels Capital Region, both as important job providers and as primary contributors to the local GDP.

The full FAIB report can be downloaded here. Some of the major findings of its latest 5-yearly enquiry (2013) are:

  • The number of international associations (INPAs) based in Belgium is constantly increasing: 2.265 in 2013 vs. 1.972 in 2008, with 94% of them based in the Brussels-Capital region
  • Most international associations (73%) have chosen the international non-profit (AISBL) status
  • VAT registrations of INPAs went from 35% in 2008 to 67% in 2013
  • Total estimated annual income of INPAs: € 2.9 billion – origin: 84% abroad, 11% Belgium, 5% EU
  • Total estimated expenditure: € 2.9 billion, of which 84% spent in Belgium, mainly on personnel 56%
  • Estimated direct employment: 31.400, including volunteers (paid staff: 13.400 FTE)
  • Indirect employment (hotel, restaurant, service providers, etc.): +/- 1.250 per association / year
  • Office space occupied by INPAs: 205.000 m², of which 75.000 m² of meeting space
  • Associations generate some 114.000 day visits to Belgium & approximately 260.000 overnights per year.

Over and above this economic legacy, international associations also significantly contribute to reinforcing the hubs’ key knowledge clusters and priority growth areas, hence enhancing their attractiveness in their respective regions:



In view of the impact that the (international) not-for-profit sector has on the different cities, GAHP would like to develop a management scorecard (or dashboard) that would make it possible to regularly monitor the contribution of the association sector on the economic, employment and knowledge performance in the four metropolitan regions – Brussels, Dubai, Singapore, Washington DC.

The comparative analysis using the most relevant common indicators (between 5 and 10) would serve as a benchmarking tool to compare the evolution of the international associations’ contribution to the economic and the knowledge performance in each city and between the four cities.


Call for proposals

GAHP is looking for a Management Academy, University or Higher Education institution, that is prepared to put this subject up amongst the proposed topics for their students’ end-of study reports and engage suitable candidates who will be motivated to work on the topic.

The proposals will be assessed by the GAHP partners and all applicants will be informed of their decision.

Guidance will be provided to the successful incumbent and access to the relevant data available in the respective cities will be facilitated in case it is not available through other sources.


Requests for information and proposals can be submitted to:

Hervé Bosquet

Global Association Hubs Partnership (GAHP)

+32 475 644996

« Back to news

Sign up to our newsletter

Sign up to our newsletter to be updated on new resources, news and future events.

* Indicates required