The Associations are free to convene their own General Assemblies and to sponsor particular Symposia, often in partnership with one another, and, like the Union, are managed by a Bureau and Executive Committee whose members are elected during their General Assemblies. Within its own discipline each Association is responsible for determining its own programme of investigations and for supporting the activities of its own component parts.
The numerous Symposia and Workshops organized by the Associations, together with the General Assemblies, provide the opportunity for geodesists and geophysicists from the majority of the countries of the world to discuss their respective methodologies, results and hypotheses and to plan collaborative research projects.
The Symposia are intended to be particularly helpful to the younger scientists from the developing countries of the world. The IUGG has made special financial provision for them to participate in the Symposia organized under the aegis of the Union and its Associations.