Reseaux IP Europeens (RIPE) is an open forum for members and non-members who have an interest in the technical development of the Internet in Europe and abroad. RIPE is not a formal organization, nor is it a legal entity. There is no formal membership required or imposed.
RIPE is a separate entity from RIPE NCC, and the two should not be confused. When referring to the RIPE community, however, there is no distinction between RIPE members or RIPE NCC members. Anyone who has an interest in the way the Internet is being managed or governed, specifically within RIPE NCC's jurisdiction in Europe, the Middle East, and Central Asia, is considered as part of the RIPE community.
RIPE started in 1989 in Amsterdam when a group of IT network operators decided to start organizing meetings to share knowledge and experiences related to their work. There were originally 14 representatives from 6 countries which were part of 11 networks.
RIPE became a truly established entity in November 29, 1989, after an increase in meeting attendance from IT network operators created the need for a coordination center. On September 16, 1990, RIPE NCC was established to deal with administrative tasks, but it was not formally established and recognized until 1992. RIPE NCC became a separate legal entity in 1998, although the two organizations remain highly interdependent.
RIPE NCC supports RIPE by facilitating RIPE meetings and providing support for RIPE working groups. RIPE NCC maintains the RIPE database by creating and managing a document store.
RIPE Working Groups
In order to deal with issues and develop new policies, RIPE organized various working groups based on the number of issues at hand, for instance Routing Registries. The RIPE working groups use their own mailing list to facilitate the discussions.  These issues can be proposed by RIPE members, and often influence RIPE NCC members or the Internet community as a whole. Members of these working groups are volunteers, and maintain communication and discussion by means of mailing lists. Meetings are held biannually.