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International Organizations. Internationalization Globalization Conflict and cooperation on the international scale Reducing conflict and enhancing cooperation Issues: How to provide for human security How to facilitate social development How to protect and advance human rights

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  • Globalization
  • Conflict and cooperation on the international scale
  • Reducing conflict and enhancing cooperation
  • Issues:
    • How to provide for human security
    • How to facilitate social development
    • How to protect and advance human rights
  • Organizing an international order
  • As an alternative to international anarchy
  • 1. The oldest method: an empire
    • Direct compulsion of the weak by the strong, or:
    • “Hegemonic stability”
  • 2. A more democratic approach: sovereign states
    • Voluntary agreements between sovereign states to work out and maintain international rules ofbehaviour (international law)
    • Where are the guarantees that states will abide by the rules?
  • 3. The states must be democratic
    • Democratic in what sense? Have elections?
  • 4. Transform societies to establish conditions for social justice, equality, development, well-being
International governance and state sovereignty

Are they at odds?

  • International governance presumes limits on national sovereignty –
  • But many states feel they are not sovereign enough
  • So, the issue is not how much sovereignty, but what kind of sovereignty?
    • Sovereignty to control a nation’s resources?
    • Sovereignty to ignore international environmental protection rules?
    • Sovereignty to violate human rights?
On the one hand:
  • The sovereign state remains the key organizing principle of the global society
  • The nation-state is considered the legitimate political unit
  • Empires are no longer considered legitimate
  • Struggle for state sovereignty is continuing –
    • power to regulate economic forces in the interests of the nation is clearly insufficient
    • Inequalities of power among states
      • “Concert of Great Powers”
      • The Superpowers
      • Nuclear vs. non-nuclear states
The proliferation of sovereign states has a positive impact on world politics
    • The greater the number of sovereign states,
    • The more dispersedthe power in the global society
    • The more collective the international governance
    • Multilateralism vs. unilateralism
On the other hand, sovereignty can be abused. It can be invoked:
    • To violate human rights
    • To justify acts of aggression
    • To violate international law
    • To ignore international opinion
  • Nationalism has two faces:
    • National liberation
    • Imperialism
The key variable: democracy
  • The more democratic a state,
    • the less likely are its rulers to abuse sovereignty
    • the more cooperative and responsible it will be in its relations with other states
    • the more interested it will be in democratic international governance

Democracy enhances sovereignty by giving the state a strong base in society -

And it also limits it by making the rulers more accountable both domestically and internationally

But what about cases when democracy destroys a state?

Or makes it incapable of any independent actions?

In such cases, a state may go authoritarian to defend its sovereignty

Should democratic states tolerate this authoritarianism?

  • Or should they violate state sovereignty in the name of democracy?
  • Current consensus: only in extreme cases
International organizations are created on the basis of interests and concerns which transcend interstate borders
  • Examples:
    • Universal Postal Union Universal Postal Union, UPU: Worldwide postal organization
    • International Red Cross/Red Crescent International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) - Home
    • International Labour Organization International Labour Organization - ILO Web site
    • World Health Organization WHO | World Health Organization
    • Greenpeace
    • Amnesty International Amnesty International - Working To Protect Human Rights Worldwide
    • Medecins Sans Frontieres/Doctors Without Borders Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) U.S. Web Site
    • The Trilateral Commission The Trilateral Commission
    • North Atlantic Treaty Organization
Structures and networks of the growing global society
  • What do they do?
  • What goals do they pursue?
  • What impact do they make on the human condition?
  • World government or global governance?
Types of international organizations

By membership:

  • States: Intergovernmental organizations (IGOs)
    • Global (UN, IMF))
    • Regional (NAFTA, EU, NATO)
  • Investors: Transnational corporations (TNCs)
  • Individuals: Civil society organizations (CSOs)
    • Legitimate
    • Illegitimate (terrorist groups, organized crime structures)
By focus of activity:
  • International security
  • Trade and investment
  • Economic development
  • Human rights
  • Social problems
  • Protection of the environment
  • Political agendas
  • Others

UNIVERSAL (all of the above) – The United Nations system

What interests, what forces determine the activities of these organizations?
    • Powerful states weigh in on political issues
    • TNCs weigh in on economic issues
  • The global society is shaped by the structures of power in the same way as are national societies:
    • those possessing more power will have more say in making policy
  • So, the challenge is to develop international organizations in such a way as to reduce the inequalities of power
  • The struggle for a democratic global society -
  • The best path to a viable international order
Issues in the struggle
  • How representative are the IGOs?
  • Do the IGOs have influence over TNCs?
  • Do CSOs have influence over IGOs?
  • The status quo:
    • IGOs are dominated by the most powerful states
    • They have lesspower than TNCs
    • CSOs have minimum impact on IGOs
  • Concentration of political, economic and military power on a global scale
An alternative model, based on democratic principles:
    • Power in IGOs would be distributed more equally between states
    • IGOs would be directly accountable to citizens
    • CSOs would have real influence on IGOs
  • As a result, international institutions have a greater amount of democratic power -
  • To counterbalance the current concentration of state/corporate power
Citizens will have more control over nation-states and IGOs
  • The power gap between major powers and the other states will be reduced
  • The global society will have more control over the TNCs
  • Can it be done?
The United Nations System
  • Welcome to the UN. It's your world.