UEA works not only to promote Esperanto, but to stimulate discussion of the world language problem and to call attention to the necessity of equality among languages.
Its statute lists the following four goals:
Particular concerns of UEA are the promotion of Esperanto in countries and regions where a self-standing Esperanto movement does not yet exist, and linking Esperanto activists in those places with the worldwide movement. In addition to this, it has also traditionally represented the Esperanto movement at international institutions such as the United Nations, UNESCO, the Council of Europe, etc.
UEA is an important publisher, the largest mail-order Esperanto bookstore in the world, the secretariat of the annual World Esperanto Congress, and an information center. It has an important library, and its network of activists is the largest and most international in the movement.
But UEA is much more than just an organization providing services. It is also a movement that strives toward an ideal: an ideal of mutual understanding and cooperation among people. This means that much of its activity depends on the voluntary support of its members: it does not pay for itself, but demands gifts and sacrifices. It also needs active and prudent persons to fulfill this activity.
It is not necessary to have a title in order to contribute to UEA. You can do this in dozens of ways, often quite simple. Regularly contributing to a fund or foundation. Accepting and fulfilling the tasks of a UEA delegate. Recruiting other members among your acquaintances. Paying dues for a friend in a poor country. Connecting your Esperanto club with clubs in other countries and continents. Discussing the activity of UEA in your club or national Esperanto association. Collaborating with the Information Department, the Center for Research and Documentation of the Language Problem, the Terminological Esperanto Center, or an affiliated specialized association. And so forth...
For more than 65 years the UEA Central Office has been located in Rotterdam, The Netherlands. In 1961, following six years in a rented building, the association purchased its own building at Nieuwe Binnenweg 176, which it renovated and enlarged in 1985-86 and 2005-08. In its four storeys are located five general workrooms, a prepress work area, a mail room, a computer room, a bookstore, a conference room, a kitchen and dining area, the Hector Hodler library, an archive room, and two bedrooms for volunteers. There are around twenty rooms in all.
There are generally between 7-9 persons working in the Central Office, not all of them full-time. Among the full-time positions are those of the director general, congress secretary, secretary, two bookkeepers, prepress technician and bookstore manager. A current list of staff members appears in the section Asocio.
Visitors are welcome in the Central Office, but are requested to announce their arrival ahead of time.
To support the work at the United Nations and UNESCO, UEA also has an office in New York City, USA.