International Organizations Essay

International organizations have been noted to be around since the mid- 19th century and such organizations do not operate for profit. An international organization is defined by the United Nations as an organization with an international membership, scope, or presence. The main objective of all the international organizations they say ,have usually been welfare and the improvement of member countries through cooperation. Karns and Mingst identify the two main types of international organizations as IGOs and INGOs which they also refer to as international and transnational structures who are actors in global governance.

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Global governance, they say, are the cooperative problem-solving arrangements and activities that states and other actors have put into place to deal with various issues and problems. Firstly, Intergovernmental Organizations; herein referred to as IGOs will be discussed. IGOs are organizations that include at least three states among their membership, that have activities in several states, and that are created through a formal intergovernmental agreement such as a treaty, charter, or statute.

These organizations range in size from 3 members (North American Free Trade Agreement [NAFTA]) to more than 190 members Universal Postal Union [UPU]. Within these IGOs, members can be limited to one geographic region, for example the Organization of American States (OAS), the European Union (EU) or even the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) or they may come from all geographic regions such as members of the World Bank and IMF.

Some IGOs are designed for solitary purposes such as the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries [OPEC]), whilst others have been developed for multilateral purposes, for example the United Nations [UN]. Most IGOs though, are not global in membership but are in fact regional, wherein a commonality of interest motivates states to cooperate on issues directly affecting them. Most are small in membership and designed to address specific functions. It must also be noted that IGOs are recognized subjects of international law with separate standing from their member states.

According to Karns and Mingst, IGOs function for purposes of gathering, analyzing, and disseminating data, providing a place for negotiations, creating norms and defining standards of behavior through legally binding treaties, monitoring compliance with rules, adjudicating disputes and also taking enforcement measures and for allocating resources, providing technical assistance and relief and deploying forces. Kenneth Abbott and Duncan Snidal (1998) suggest that IGOs “allow for the centralization of collective activities through a concrete and stable organizational structure and a supportive administrative apparatus.

This increases the efficiency of collective activities and enhance the organization’s ability to affect the understandings, environment, and interests of states. ” In their book on International Organization Karns and Mingst say that “IGOs do not only create opportunities for their member states, but also exercise influence and impose constraints on their member states’ policies and processes” which aids in forcing governments to take positions on international or domestic issues of concern.

They also facilitate the creation of principles, norms, and rules of behavior with which states must align their policies if they wish to benefit from reciprocity. For example, China’s admission to the World Trade Organization and how this has affected its national policies and required extensive governmental reforms. Secondly, International Non Governmental Organizations; herein referred to as INGOs will be discussed. INGOs are institutions that are established by non-state actors or at least one side of these organizations is not states.

They can generally be defined as private, voluntary, non-profit, self-governing, professional organizations with a distinctive legal character concerned with public welfare aims. INGOs unlike IGOs are not created by treaties or states but rather private people and organizations and usual encompass more than three states and therefore cannot be bilateral. They employ limited resources to make rules, set standards, procreate principles and broadly represent more ‘humanity’ than states and other actors do.

There are many kinds of NGOs such as transnational, government organized, government-regulated and initiated, business and industry, donor-organized, donor-dominated, people’s organizations, operational, advocacy, transnational social movements, quasi, and anti-governmental NGOs. Their number increased (more than 23,000 in the early 1990s) and their effectiveness for transnational politics became more relevant in recent decades. They have become “crucial participants in the international policy process” says Brown (1995).

Some INGOs are formed to dvocate a particular cause such as human rights, peace, or environmental protection. While others are established to provide services such as disaster relief, humanitarian aid in war-torn societies, or development assistance. Many INGOs are transnational federations involving formal, long-term links among national groups. Examples include the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, the World Wildlife Fund, Transparency International, Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, and Save the Children.

INGOs’ governance functions parallel many functions provided by IGOs and, like IGOs, they can be analyzed as both pieces of and actors in global governance. As pieces of governance, INGOs function to provide processes at many levels to pressure or persuade individuals, governments, IGOs, corporations, and other actors to improve human rights records, protect the environment, tackle corruption, create a ban on landmines, or intervene in conflicts such as that in the Darfur region of Sudan.

Some IGOs, such as the International Labour Organization (ILO), World Tourism Organization, and the UN Joint Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS), provide for INGOs roles in their governance. As a result of global trends to privatize activities previously controlled by governments, services once provided by governments or IGOs are now often contracted out to INGOs. INGOs are important pieces of global governance because of the ways they enable individuals to act publicly through creating networks, and volunteering and this makes them useful links between the domestic and international communities and institutions.

In this sense, they function as communicators among multiple levels of governance. Both Intergovernmental Organisations and International Non-governmental Organizations are of growing significance in the international community. The proliferation of non-state actors has recently led some observers of international relations to conclude that states are declining in importance and that non-state actors are gaining status and influence. New theories of international relations such as the “complex interdependence” of Robert Keohane and Joseph Nye (1989) were formed in order to explain new developments.

Kegley and Wittkoph (1995) accurately point out that “as the world grown smaller, the mutual dependence of nation-states and other transnational political actors on one another has grown” Their significance can be noted not only through their international presence but also through their voice and ability to hold governments accountable for not abiding by the standards set forth through their organizations. The benefits of these two types of all the international organizations has usually been seen through its welfare improvement of member countries and its importance lies in the following:

1. International organizations, such as International Trade Centre and World Trade Organization, assist member countries in promoting fair trade with each other. 2. The aim of the international organizations, such as Natural Capitalism and International Development Research Centre, is to enhance sustainable economic development in the world. 3. The World Bank and Institute of International Finance are international organizations that provide monetary help to member countries. 4. The purpose of the incorporation of international organizations, such as Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) and World Food Programme, is to provide food security to member nations.

5. The endeavor of international organizations, such as Global Environment Facility and United Nations Environment Programme, is to ensure environmental protection. 6. The protection of human rights is ensured by international organizations, such as the ICJ and Amnesty International. 7. Emergency/disaster relief is taken care of by several international organizations, such as the International Committee of the Red Cross and ReliefWeb. 8. The WHO helps member countries promote health care and facilities. Most countries though, perceive that there are benefits to participating in IGOs and international regimes even when it is costly. South Africa never withdrew from the UN over the long years when it was repeatedly condemned for its policies of apartheid. Iraq did not withdraw from the UN when it was subject to more than a decade of stringent sanctions.

China spent fourteen years negotiating the terms of its entry into the international trade system and undertaking changes in laws and policies required to bring itself into compliance with WTO rules. Additionally , INGOs too are increasingly active today at all levels of human society and governance, from local or grassroots communities to national and international politics. Many national-level groups, often called interest or pressure groups, are now linked to counterpart groups in other countries through networks or federations.

International NGOs, like IGOs, may draw their members from more than one country, and they may have very specific functions or be multifunctional. IGOs have been proven to decrease the cost of information gathering which is more important for poor and small countries. Without the UN, many states are unable to obtain information about the international society and politics. Activities of IGOs, such as the UN and the IMF, are decisive for most small countries. They may impose their principles on them more easily than on big powers.

Most governments; especially in less developed countries face serious resource constraints limiting their ability to apply the provisions of regimes to areas and activities under their jurisdiction. And in spite of the fact that international organizations are utilized by powerful nation-states, these states do not hold full power over IGOs. IGOs however do have notable influence in international and on the most powerful state, the United States (Karns and Mingst). IGOs have been especially successful in their effectiveness in economic issue areas is also considerably high.

For example, the IMF and the World Bank are very effective in money flowing, debt management and financing debt issues between the rich and poor countries. Though still effective, IGOs are less influential in issues of high politics such as political and security issues. INGOs too play an increasingly important role in world politics through agencies, such as Greenpeace and Amnesty International who draw attention to issues of world-wide concern, promote international co-operation and they have a significant impact on the global dissemination of ideas, values and knowledge.

One of the major challenges being faced by international organizations however is integrating developing countries on various measures. Health related issues, such as infant mortality in developing countries are also of great challenge. Some other challenges that international organizations are facing are in the filed of intellectual property rights, trade in services and investment measures in relation to trade. Also seen as future difficulties in the international system is the issue of multilateral liberalization due to growing regionalism and the reformation of world trade.

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