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Ps 145 Final FINAL Paper

Ps 145 Final FINAL Paper

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Published by: Celine Socrates on Oct 07, 2010
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Socrates, Ma. Celine Anastasia P.2007-50486Political Science 145Alexander Magno
International Organizations: Global Governance, Global Democracy, Norm-Construction and the problem of Global Accountability
The global spread of democracy and the changing nature of the internationalsystem in the post-Cold War era have been attributed to many factors. Among these,and probably one of the most important, is the emergence of international organizationsin a global system that has become increasingly interconnected because of the process ofglobalization. Although the term was originally coined to refer to economic processes,“globalization” now encompasses a broader scope. It permeates the social, cultural, andpolitical spheres. Of course, globalization
in itself 
is not an active entity. The manner inwhich it surpasses national boundaries to seep through practically all spheres of life isnaturally done through active agents.One principal agent (and as I’ve said, probably one of the most important) inwhich “interconnection” happens are international organizations (IOs), basicallyreferring to organizations that are not state-based, and whose goals are, similarly, notconfined to any particular nation-state. International organizations are sub-groupedinto international non-governmental organizations (INGOs), and intergovernmentalorganizations (IGOs). The basic difference between the two is that the former isindependent of any government, while the latter, though still not based on any
 government, is composed of governments.From the materials I have studied, the literature on International Organizations islargely concentrated, forgive the pun, on basically four main issues, which this paperintends to assess and synthesize. Three of these issues are concerned with the impact ofIOs in general: global governance, global democracy, and norm-construction. The lastissue is concerned with the problem of global accountability.
The role of IOs in global governance
Global governance is defined by the 1995 Commission on Global Governance as“the sum of the many ways in which individuals and institutions, private and public,manage their common affairs. It is a continuing process through which conflicting ordiverse interests may be accommodated and cooperative action may be taken.”Scholars such as Barkin (2006) have studied the development of theory to aid inunderstanding the emergence and persistence of IOs and other global institutions.Karns and Mingst (2010), and Diehl (2005) argue the need for new forms of governancein the international system, largely because of the emergence of problems with a globaland multilevel scope such as global warming, transnational terrorism, pandemics, andthe meltdown of financial markets in 2008. These problems transcend territorial
borders, and states do not have a monopoly of jurisdiction in areas such as these. In thiscontext, the emergence of international organizations seems logical once it is seen as aresponse to address problems of global scope which no single state can (or would havethe incentive to) manage on their own.The role of international organizations in global governance is simple, and can besummed up to two things: norm-/custom- creation, and international monitoring.The former is done through both formal and informal mechanisms. When itcomes to formal mechanisms, it is primarily the role of IGOs, and is done basicallythrough the creation of international conventions and protocols that states areencouraged to sign. The purpose of these conventions is to coordinate state behavior inconformity with things that are generally perceived to be right. These norms andcustoms, once accepted by the states, are expected to be the “rules” in state behavior inthe international arena. Although the drafting of conventions/protocols are primarilythe role of IGOs such as the UN, INGOs are often consulted beforehand.Of course, because of state sovereignty, states always have the option not tobecome signatories to them, or even to defy them even after signing. Defiance, however,does not come cheap. Other states may have no control in sovereign decisions, but theydo have the option to impose “indirect penalties”, such as economic embargos. In thiscase, global governance via conventions does work, somehow.Some “Asian Values” scholars may argue that the established norms andcustoms, especially the peremptory norms (i.e. norms that all states are mandated tofollow because these are perceived to be basic and unquestionable, e.g. human rights)are based on Western standards, and do not take into consideration the cultural quirksthat exist elsewhere.Despite this debate on cultural values, it may be argued that the actualdetermining factor of a country signing a convention is (more than its stand on moralissues) its political interest. One good example is the Kyoto Protocol, which sets a capon greenhouse gas emissions. The United States, despite great risk in internationalpopularity, refused to sign the protocol because it has one of the greatest carbonemissions among states. Whether or not their decision-makes sincerely believed that itin the anti-global warming cause may be another issue altogether.Another example is the “Responsibility to Protect”, often categorized inInternational Relations literature as an “emerging norm”, because of the reactions to itare highly polarized. This “emerging norm” proposes the need to qualify statesovereignty with “responsibility”. It is, simply, a justification of humanitarianintervention in international law. The main proposition is that, once it is evident that astate is incapable of protecting its own people from human rights violations, other stateshave the responsibility to intervene and protect the people. Of course, though the goalis essentially good, this was not, and still is not, well-received by weak states having adifficult time managing the problems in their territory. Again, self-interest inevitablyplays a role.
The informal mechanism in which norm-construction takes place involves themedia, and shaping the public opinion of citizens. This will be discussed moreextensively in the third part of this paper.When it comes to international monitoring, IOs take a “watchdog” role to thestates. Blitt (2004) points out four ways in which IOs, particularly those advocatinghuman rights, fulfill this role: (1) information gathering, evaluation and dissemination(documentation and education), (2) monitoring and advocacy (enforcement), (3)development of human rights norms (empowerment), and (4) legal and humanitarianassistance (democratization and development). Concretely, Blitt points out that theseare usually done by carefully documenting alleged abuses, clearly demonstrating stateaccountability for those abuses under international law, and developing a mechanismfor effectively exposing documented abuse nationally and internationally.Amnesty International, for example, is an IO advocating the release of all“prisoners of conscience”, that is, “people imprisoned because of their race, ethnicity,sex, economic status, religion, or national origin, or for peacefully expressing theirpolitical belief” (Microsoft Encarta 2009). The group achieves its goals throughinterviews with the victims of human rights abuses, letter-writing campaigns, newsconferences, and fundraising events. These means, though seemingly trivial comparedwith state capacity, serve to rally public support in pressuring government officials torecognize their cause.Another organization, Doctors Without Borders (Médecins Sans Frontiéres)forwards its cause through more concrete means, by providing medical aid to morethan 80 countries. The organization recruits health professionals to volunteer for a fewmonths or a year, and it is through these volunteers’ testimonies that the organizationspeaks to the public against human rights violations.
The global spread of democracy
Few can deny the global spread of democracy in the twentieth century. Russettand Oneal (2003) argue that this, along with the emergence of internationalorganizations, and the economic interdependence that exists among states, havecontributed to the absence of inter-state wars in recent times. To further this establishedrelationship between “peace” and “democracy, economic interdependence andinternational organizations” there are also scholars who argue that the proliferation ofthe democratic ideal, in the first place, is also the result of the emergence ofinternational organizations.There are two main ways in which IOs influence democratization. One way isthrough structural incentives. Pevehouse (2002) argues that the rise of democracy as aglobal phenomenon cannot be a solely domestic process (i.e. “inside-out”), but rather,was made possible because of the structural setup in international organizations thatusually encourages the practice of democratic principles among countries. Pevehouserefers to this as democracy from the “outside-in”. The author, in this case, is referring

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