NATURE, SCOPE AND IMPORTANCE OF INTERNATIONAL ORGANISATIONS

Prepared by

DR. AFROZ ALAM
ASSISTANT PROFESSOR OF POLITICS NATIONAL LAW UNIVERSITY, ORISSA E-MAIL: afrozalam2@gmail.com afroz@nluo.ac.in

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NATURE, SCOPE AND IMPORTANCE OF ORGANISATIONS
Structure
1.0 Objectives 1.1 Introduction 1.2 Meaning and Nature of International Organisation

INTERNATIONAL

1.3 Scope and Functions of International Organisations 1.4 Kinds of International Organizations 1.4.1 Intergovernmental organizations: 1.4.2 International Nongovernmental organizations: 1.5 Examples of International Organizations 1.5.1 Global organizations 1.5.2 Regional organizations 1.5.3 Organizations with Various Membership Criteria 1.5.4 Financial International Organizations 1.6 Importance of International Organisations: 1.7 Let Us Sum Up 1.8 Some Useful Books

1.0 Objective:
The primary focus of this chapter is the nature, scope and importance of international organisations with special reference to their classification and role in the present global scenario. After going through this chapter you should be able to: • • know the meaning, nature and scope of international organisation differentiate between the different types of international organisations

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analyse the importance of international organisations in an highly interdependent and inter connected world of today

1.1 Introduction:
In contemporary global politics, international organizations play an enormous role. To most of the world, they symbolize the hope for international peace and security through global cooperation and mutual economic development. Examples of international organizations include the United Nations (UN), the World Bank (International Bank for Reconstruction and Development), the International Committee of the Red Cross, and Greenpeace. Most international organizations operate as part of one or more international regimes. An international regime is a set of rules, standards, and procedures that govern national behaviour in a particular area. Examples of international regimes include arms control, foreign trade, and Antarctic exploration. International organizations are often central to the functioning of an international regime, giving structure and procedures to the “rules of the game” by which nations must play. For example, the World Trade Organization (WTO), the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), and the European Union (EU) are key organizations that define the international trade regime.

1.2 Meaning and Nature of International Organisation
In general, international organisation stands for membership group that operates across national borders for specific purposes. The idea of international organisation reflects the cooperative arrangement instituted among states, usually by a basic agreement, to perform some mutually advantageous functions implemented through periodic meetings and staff activities. The Penguin Dictionary of International Relations defines international organisation as “formal institutional structures transcending national boundaries which are created by multilateral agreement among nation states. Their purpose is to foster international cooperation in areas such as security, law, economic and social matters, and diplomacy.”

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However, in the modern sense, an international organization, or more formally intergovernmental organization (IGO), is an organization, such as the United Nations, European Community or the WTO, with sovereign states or other IGOs as members. Such organizations function according to the principles of intergovernmentalism, which means that unanimity is required. The European Union is however an exception to this rule in some areas. Non-governmental organizations (NGOs) are private organizations that can also be international in scope. Generally and correctly used, however, the term “international organization” is reserved for intergovernmental organizations only. It is in this sense that the term “international organization” is used in this lesson. Bennett identifies the characteristics of international organisation that include: 1. a permanent organisation to carry on a continuing set of functions; 2. voluntary membership of eligible parties; 3. a basic instrument stating goals, structure, and methods of operation; 4. a permanent secretariat to carry on continuous administrative, research, and information functions. Legally speaking, the nature of an international organization is different from other organisations in the sense that the former must be established by a treaty providing it with legal recognition, and usually, in order to safeguard state sovereignty, operates at the level of consent, recommendation, and cooperation rather than through compulsion or enforcement. International organizations so established are subjects of international law, capable of entering into agreements among themselves or with states. Thus international organizations in a legal sense are distinguished from mere groupings of states, such as the G-8 and the G-77, neither of which have been founded by treaty, though in non-legal contexts these are sometimes referred to as international organizations as well. International organizations must also be distinguished from treaties; while all international organizations are founded on a treaty, many treaties (e.g., the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA)) do not establish an international organization and rely purely on the parties for their administration.

1.3 Scope and Functions of International Organisations

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International organizations also differ in its scope of functions, membership and membership criteria. In terms of scope, international organisations perform a varied number of useful functions within the state system. Their chief function is to provide the means of cooperation among states in areas in which cooperation provides advantages for all or large number of nations. They not only work as a platform to take cooperative decisions but also the administrative tool for translating the decisions into action. They also provide multiple channels of communication among governments so that areas of accommodation may be explored and easy access will be available when problem arise. In conflict situations, if states are willing to explore the possibilities of accommodation and compromise, modern international organisations have made available a new dimension beyond the previously existing channels of diplomacy and peaceful settlement. The United Nations, the Specialised Agencies, and regional organisations provide multiple and continuous contact points through which accommodation can be reached. We must note that international organisations generally have no independent means of carrying out coercion. But states, needing to minimise the effects of conflict, find the many and diverse agencies of international organisation useful for that end. The United Nations, for example, provides several major organs whose functions include the resolution of conflict. In other situations not involving conflict, as in some of the technical work of international organisations, cooperation is facilitated by the existence of these organisations for reaching agreements that have mutual advantages for all state concerned. The fundamental idea and reality underlying modern international organisations involve diplomacy, treaties, conferences, rules of warfare, the regulation of the use of force, peaceful settlement of disputes, the development of international law, international trade, international economic cooperation, international social cooperation, cultural

relationship, world travel, world communications, cosmopolitanism, universalism, peace movements, the formation of leagues and federations, international administration, collective security, and movements for world government. The role of international organisations in the contemporary world order depends on their legal recognition by the international community. In other words, the organisation is a

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subject of international laws and capable of enforcing them by bringing international claims. It can make treaties; it can coordinate with other organisations to avoid unsound competition or duplication of efforts. To perform their functions effectively, international organisations are endowed with certain privilege and immunities. The agents and servants who perform the functions of international organisations also possess privilege and immunities. International organisations are also entitled to the grant of privileges and immunities for their asset, properties and representatives. Privileges for the representatives may include from personal arrest or detention and from seizer of their personal baggage, and in respect of words written or spoken and all acts done by them in their capacity as representatives; immunity from legal process of every kind; inviolability for all papers and documents; the rights to use codes and to receive papers or correspondence by courier or in sealed bags; freedom from direct taxes; and immunity from jurisdiction.

Check Your Progress 1 Note: Use the space given below for your answer. Also check your answer with the model answer given at the end of the Unit. Q. 1 What do you mean by the international organisation? Briefly discuss the major characteristics of the international organisations. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Q. 2 Discuss the important functions of international organisations. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

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1.4 Kinds of International Organizations
Modern International organizations may be classified, broadly, into two main categories: intergovernmental organizations (IGOs) and international nongovernmental organizations (INGOs). 1.4.1 Intergovernmental organizations: Intergovernmental organizations have national governments as members. Hundreds of IGOs operate in all parts of the world. Member nations have created each of these organizations to serve a purpose that those nations find useful. Membership can range from as few as two member nations to virtually all nations. The UN and its various agencies are IGOs. So are most of the world’s economic coordinating institutions, such as the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF). The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) seeks to coordinate the production and pricing policies of its 12 member states. The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) seeks to regulate the flow of nuclear technology to developing nations. The WTO helps negotiate and monitor agreements among 128 nations to lower trade barriers. Military alliances, such as the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and the Southeast Asia Treaty Organization (SEATO), and political groupings, such as the Arab League, and the African Union are also IGOs. In general, regional IGOs have experienced more success than global ones, and those with specific purposes have worked better than those with broad aims. 1.4.2 International Nongovernmental organizations: International Nongovernmental organizations are private organizations whose

memberships and activities are international in scope. NGOs do not possess the legal status of national governments. However, the UN and other international forums recognize many NGOs as important political institutions. Examples of NGOs include the Roman Catholic Church, Greenpeace, the International Olympic Committee, and the

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International Committee of the Red Cross. Although multinational corporations (MNCs) share many characteristics of NGOs, they are not international organizations because they do not coordinate the actions of members for mutual gain. The IGOs can be further categories on the basis of the nature of their functioning, global and regional membership, membership criteria, and cultural or historical links. Membership of some organizations (global organizations) is open to all the nations of the world. This category includes the United Nations and its specialized agencies and the World Trade Organization. Other organizations are only open to members from a particular region or continent of the world, like European Union, African Union, and ASEAN and so on. Finally, some organizations base their membership on other criteria: cultural or historical links (the Commonwealth of Nations, La Francophonie, the Community of Portuguese Language Countries, the Latin Union), level of economic development or type of economy (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), Organization of Petroleum-Exporting Countries (OPEC), or religion (Organization of the Islamic Conference).

1.5 Examples of International Organizations
1.5.1 Global organizations • • • • • • United Nations, its specialized agencies, and associated organizations INTERPOL International Hydrographic Organization World Trade Organization Universal Postal Union International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement

1.5.2 Regional organizations Europe: • European Union (EU) • Council of Europe (COE) • Economic Commission for Europe (ECE) • European Free Trade Association (EFTA) • European Space Agency (ESA) • European Patent Organisation Asia:

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• Asia Cooperation Dialogue (ACD) • Asian Development Bank (ADB) • East Asian Summit (EAS) • Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) • South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) • Gulf Cooperation Council • Colombo Plan Eurasia: • Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) • Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) • Eurasian Economic Community • Central Asian Cooperation Organization • TRACECA • GUAM • Organization of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation (BSEC) Africa: • African Union • Conseil de l'Entente • Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) • Southern African Development Community (SADC) • Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) • Arab Maghreb Union Western Hemisphere: • Organization of American States (OAS) • South American Community of Nations • Mercosur • Andean Community • Caribbean Community (CARICOM) • Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) • Central American Parliament • Rio Group • NAFTA • Cooperation System of the American Air Forces(SICOFAA) Trans-atlantics: • North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) • Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) Arctic Ocean: • Arctic Council Indian Ocean: • Indian Ocean Rim Association for Regional Cooperation (IOR-ARC) • Indian Ocean Commission (IOC) Pacific: • Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC)

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• • • • • • • • • • • • • • •

Pacific Islands Forum Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP) Secretariat of the Pacific Community Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) Organization of Petroleum-Exporting Countries (OPEC) Commonwealth of Nations La Francophonie Comunidade dos países de língua portuguesa (CPLP) Organization of Ibero-American States (OEI) Association of Caribbean States (ACS) Unión Latina Non-Aligned Movement Arab League Organization of the Islamic Conference Advisory Centre on WTO Law

1.5.3 Organizations with Various Membership Criteria

1.5.4 Financial International Organizations • Bank for International Settlements • International Monetary Fund (IMF) • World Bank Group Check Your Progress 2 Note: Use the space given below for your answer. Also check your answer with the model answer given at the end of the Unit. Q. 1 Differentiate between intergovernmental organisations and international nongovernmental organisations. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

1.6 Importance of International Organisations:

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While there are less than 200 governments in the global system, there are approximately 300 intergovernmental organisations (IGOs), such as the UN, NATO, the European Union, or the International Coffee Organisation; and 5800 international nongovernmental organisations (INGOs), such as Amnesty International, the Baptist World Alliance, the International Chamber of Shipping, or the International Red Cross, plus a similar number of less-well-established international caucuses and networks of NGOs. All these IGOs and INGOs play a regular part in global politics and transnational socio-economic activities. However, the importance of international organisations has increased in the present interconnected and inter-dependent world. The increasing interdependence forced the modern state to search the areas of mutual advantage such as trade, communications, economic development, and world peace. Since the states must, in so many areas, cooperate, adjust, accommodate, and compromise to promote their common welfare, to solve problems not limited to national boundaries, and to lessen conflict, it is entirely logical for them to create elaborate agencies of international organisations for these ends. It is also logical to assume that they will continue to be used by states as indispensable though limited tools for a wide variety of purposes. Since the trend of world events is toward increased contacts and a growing diversity of problems, we may reasonably expect international organisations to also become increasingly diverse in number and purposes rather than to diminish in significance. One sign of the important role of international organizations is how they have endured as international power relations shift. In 1991, the Soviet Union dissolved and the Cold War between the Soviet Union and the United States ended. At this time, one might have expected the NATO military alliance to Russia and other formerly Communist countries in Eastern Europe ceased to pose a threat to the capitalist democracies of Western Europe. One might have expected NATO, which defended Western European nations, to go out of business, but it did not. Similarly, the creation of the WTO did not cause smaller free-trade associations such as NAFTA to end. Instead, the mosaic of International Organisations continues to expand, particularly as new communications and

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information-processing technologies make international groups more practical and effective. The interdependence of nations in the modern world means that no single nation can dictate the outcome of international conflicts. Nor can private groups and individuals rely on national governments to solve major world problems. Therefore, both governments and individuals will continue to turn to International Organisations as an important way to address these problems and to protect their own interests. As the world shrinks, the line between domestic and international problems becomes increasingly blurred. International events have their international implications. In this situation, the international organisations may serve as useful tools of the states for their mutual cooperation. Check Your Progress 3 Note: Use the space given below for your answer. Also check your answer with the model answer given at the end of the Unit. Q. 1 How could international organisation have a significant effect upon global politics? ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

1.7 Let Us Sum Up
To sum up, international organisations of all types transcend country boundaries. The growth of science and technology, means of communication and the consequent interdependence of the states accelerated the formations of intergovernmental and nongovernmental organisations. New global problems have arisen that demands global treatment. Among these are population, food supply, energy supplies, mass poverty, environmental controls, outer space, the oceans and seabed, and insurance against human

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annihilation. In this situation, international organisations serve a useful function in channelling a portion of state interactions and providing vehicles for increased cooperation. Thus, the international organisations have become indispensable in the current global system.

1.8 Some Useful Books
1) LeRoy Bennett, International Organisations: Principles and Issues, New Jersey: Prentice Hall Inc., 1998 2) Kalpana Rajaram (ed.), International Organisations, Conferences and Treaties, New Delhi: Spectrum Books, 2005. 3) Jean E. Krasno (ed.), The United Nations: Confronting the Challenges of a Global Society, London: Lynne Rienner Publishers, 2004 4) John Baylis and Steve Smith, The Globalisation of World Politics: An Introduction to International Relations, New York: Oxford University Press, 2001

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