International Organizations History and Context: Vocabulary, concepts and organizational typology © Tamar Khuntsaria
International Organizations • What is an international organization? An organization with an international membership, scope or presence • Who are members of international organizations? state and non-state actors – depending on the type of organization • Renewed interest towards IOs They are in an extraordinary period of transition Their role in world politics and the scope of their activities has greatly increased • What purpose do international organizations serve? Connecting members, bridging gaps, encouraging peace and security, economic development, etc…
International Organizations • Today’s topics of discussion: • History of IOs and tendencies of their emergence as crucial players in the world politics • Some major international organizations (more specifically IGOs), such as UN and EU that are selected on the basis of their significance to the world and regional politics, that will be discussed in terms of their structures and functions. • Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) • Multinational Corporations (MNCs) • These issues will be discussed in more detail and in the scope of specific political-economic themes during the following classes
Types of international organizations • IGOs are formal institutions comprised primarily of sovereign states (referred to as member states), or of other intergovernmental organization (e.g. UN, EU, NATO, IMF, G8, etc). • They can be multi or general-purpose organizations, taking up any international issue, such as UN. • They can also have narrow mandate focusing on a specific economic, political, social or military issue, examples: ILO, WHO. • Spillover - cooperation in one issue area may affect another issue area • Membership can be open to all actors, or limited by some objective criteria (e.g. EU, NATO conditionality)
Types of international organizations • International NGOs – essentially nonprofit, private organizations that engage in a variety of international activities (e.g. Amnesty International, Greenpeace, International Committee for Red Cross, Worldvision International, etc.) • Types of NGOs (alternative names): independent sector, volunteer sector, civil society, grassroots organizations, transnational social movement organizations, private voluntary organizations, self-help organizations and non-state actors • Financing – mostly membership dues, charitable contributions and private sourcing.
Types of international organizations • NGOs roles in the world politics: • Information gathering with people on the ground, interaction with other NGOs, IGOs and MNCs. • Consult and expertise. • Carrying out policies of states and IGOs. • Private interactions involving with various transactions to bring together groups and individuals. • Participate in international politics by defining goals, providing information, and giving expert advice • Pressure governments and IGOs through direct and indirect lobbying • NGOs are instrumental in setting international norms and executing international policy
Types of international organizations • MNCs – for-profit firms that have subsidiaries in two or more countries and engage in transnational production activities involving movement of goods and services across national boundaries (e.g. Wal-Mart, McDonalds, General Motors, Boeing, Adidas, etc). • Some large multilateral corporations, given their large economic influence as well as their extensive financial resources, can have a powerful influence in local economies as well as the world economy and play an important role in international relations and globalization. • In addition to efforts by multinational corporations to affect governments, there is much government action intended to affect corporate behavior. The threat of nationalization (forcing a company to sell its local assets to the government or to other local nationals) or changes in local business laws and regulations can limit a multinational's power.
Types of international organizations • Four broad categories of MNCs: • MNCs involved in Agriculture and extractive industries, including gas and oil explorations (British Petroleum (BP), Statoil (Norwegian), Exxon (US), Amoco (US), etc). • MNCs involved in the provision of financial services, such as multinational banks, brokers and insurance companies. • MNCs as industrial corporations involved in manufacture of goods (Motorola, Sony, Volkswagen, etc).
Types of international organizations • International Regimes – informal principles, rules, norms, and decision-making procedures that are codified in charters, treaties and international law (e.g. International Protocols, Conventions, systems, etc). • International actors, when formally organized, many of them can be considered intergovernmental organizations. • Often form in response to a need to coordinate behavior among countries around issues, such as security, trade, finance, investment, information, communication, human rights, environment, etc. • E.g. In its absence, telecommunications between countries would have to be governed by numerous bilateral agreements, which would become impossibly complex to administer worldwide. A regime such as ITU serves simultaneously as a forum, a multilateral treaty, and a governing body to standardize telecommunications across countries efficiently. The IMF, Biological Weapons Convention, and Kyoto Protocol are other examples of international regimes.
History of IGOs • The earliest modern precedents to today’s IGOs: • The Concert of Europe (1815-1914) - The balance of power that existed in Europe from the fall of Napoleon to the outbreak of WWI. This was a result of a custom, following the era of Napoleon and the French Revolution, adopted by the old great powers of Europe. The Concert would meet from time to time in an International Conference, or Congress, in order to plan a solution by mutual agreement (concert), whenever some problem arose that threatened peace between European nations. A mechanism to enforce the decisions of the Congress of Vienna. • The Congress of Vienna - A forum for international collaboration on European security and commerce. A multipurpose IGO created by the European great powers to reestablish order and stability on the continent after the Napoleonic Wars. • The League of Nations (1919-1939) - President Woodrow Wilson considered its architect, established after WWI, having universal membership, predeceasing UN. UN embraces most of the League’s principles and structures. • Failure of the League: politically challenged by Japan-China conflict in Manchuria (1931) and the Italy-Ethiopia conflict (1935). The outbreak of WWII ended the League’s history. However, its legacy lives on.
History of IGOs • The post WWII era – massive proliferation of IGOs and other IOs (over 20,000). • From the League of Nations to UN: Creation of UN System in 1945. The founders – victorious allies of WWII – meet in San Francisco to found a multipurpose IGO first envisioned by the League of Nations. • UN designed to be center of multilateral diplomacy in postwar word politics. Aiming at restoring peace and maintaining security, establish friendly relations among nations, address economic, social, cultural and humanitarian problems, and to promote respect for universal human rights. • Universal membership, currently up to 192 countries (all countries in the world, except Vatican and Kosovo) • Headquartered in New York. • Six official languages: Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Russian and Spanish. • UN system structured around five principle organs, together with its several agencies and autonomous organizations, comprise the UN family of IGOs.
The UN System • The General Assembly – serves as quasi legislative body, functions assigned by the UN Charter are fivefold: • Deliberates and considers any issue that arises under the Charter. Addresses any issues related to international peace, security and disarmament and bring to the attention of Security Council. Its decision, however, is non-binding. • Responsible to initiate studies and make recommendations for promoting political cooperation • Responsible for promoting international cooperation in economic, social, cultural, educational and health fields. • Drafts and approves the UN budget. • Oversees the UN bureaucracy. • Based on liberal democratic principles of political equality and majority rule. Simple majority vote deciding most issues. 2/3 required to decide on important issues.
The UN System • The Security Council – main organ with primary responsibility to maintain international peace and security • Unlike the Assembly the Security Council's decisions are binding on member states. • Limited membership: composed of permanent and non-permanent elective members, headed by a president, an office that rotates among members. • Permanent members (P5) include five great powers victors of WWII: US, UK, Russia, France and China • Each P5 posses right of veto over the Council decision, which allows one member to kill the Council action. • Ten elected members selected from and by the Assembly • Absent a veto, Security Council resolutions are passed by an affirmative vote of nine members.
The UN System • The International Court of Justice (ICJ)- known as World Court is the primary judicial organ of the UN, based in the Hague, Netherlands. • Main functions are to settle legal disputes submitted to it by member states and to give advisory opinions on legal questions submitted to it by duly authorized international organs, agencies and the UN General Assembly. • composed of fifteen judges elected to nine year terms by the Un General Assembly and the UN Security Council from a list of persons nominated by the national groups in the Permanent Court of Arbitration. • Elections take place every three years, with one-third of the judges retiring each time, in order to ensure continuity within the court.
The UN System • The Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) – composed of 54 member states, assists the General Assembly in promoting international economic and social cooperation and development. • ECOSOC’s functions include information gathering, advising member nations, and making recommendations. • The president is elected for a one-year term and chosen amongst the small or middle powers represented on ECOSOC. • ECOSOC meets once a year in July for a four-week session.
The UN System • The Secretariat - one of the principal organs of the United Nations and it is headed by the UN Secretary General, assisted by a staff of international civil servants worldwide. • It provides studies, information, and facilities needed by UN bodies for their meetings and carries out tasks as directed by the UN bodies. • Ban Ki-moon – current UN Secretary-General, proceeded by Kofi Annan
The UN System • Current challenges to UN System: • Tendency towards failure in decision making in the Security Council due to the veto right of each P5, the interests of which often overlap. (these topics will be further discussed in next classes) • Tension between UN and US, which is the largest contributor but also the largest debtor to UN. • US withdrawing from Kyoto Protocol and International Criminal Court. • 9/11 raising questions about the appropriate role of UN. • US invasion of Iraq in 2003 without UN authorization.
The European Union • The EU is a comprehensive, multipurpose regional organization that has been under construction since WWII. • The EU traces its origins to the European Coal and Steel Community formed among six countries (Belgium, France, Italy, Luxemburg, the Netherlands and West Germany) in 1951 and the treaty of Rome extending this cooperation to atomic energy (EURATOM) and establishing European Economic Community in 1957. • It is an economic and political union of 27 member states, located primarily in Europe. It was established by the treaty of Maastricht (city in Amsterdam), which was signed in February 1992 and came into force in November 1993. • The EU operates through a hybrid system of intergovernmentalism and supranationalism. In certain areas it depends upon agreement between the member states. However, it also has supranational bodies, able to make decisions without unanimity between all national governments.
The European Union EP Brussels EP Strasbourg Central Bank Commission • The institutions are not concentrated in a single city: they are instead based across three cities, Brussels, Luxembourg and Strasbourg. • The Treaty of Amsterdam (arranging locations) states that the Commission and Council would be based in Brussels, the Courts in Luxembourg and the Parliament in Strasbourg. • However some departments of the Commission and meetings of the Council take place in Luxembourg, while the Parliament has its committees and some sessions in Brussels and its secretariat in Luxembourg. • Of the new institutions, the Central Bank is based in Frankfurt, while the European Council is based in Brussels, but has some extraordinary meetings elsewhere.
The European Union • The European Council – Intergovernmental body of the EU, consisting of heads of EU member states/governments and representing the political leadership of the EU. • Formally established by the Single European Act in 1985 and strengthened by Maastricht Treaty in 1992. • The European Council meets twice a year with representatives of other EU institutions to coordinate EU policy with national policies and interests. • Influential body as most of the political and military decisions are still made at the national level. • Current Presidency taken after France: The Check Republic, President Mirek Topolanek.
The European Union • The Council of Ministers – another intergovernmental body of the EU, a chief decision making body made up of relevant ministers (depending on a subject matter discussed in the Council) from the governments of the member states. • The Council is thus a fluid body whose composition changes depending on the issue area. • The Council is a political institution, often influenced by individual national interests as members of the Council represent their national governments to the EU.
The European Union • The European Commission – supranational body and the bureaucratic arm of the EU, generator of most of the proposals and initiatives. • Formally reporting to the Council of Ministers, but yet exercising a great deal of autonomy. • The Commission members (25 appointed for four year term) are responsible to further the interests of EU as opposed to the interests of their own countries. • Power to initiate policy proposals. • Power to execute EU policies. • Power to control - guardian of EU Treaties. • Current president preceded by Romano Prodi – Jose Manuel Barroso (Portugal)
The European Union • The European Parliament – responsible for overseeing the Commission, although its legislative powers are limited. • Advises Council and Commission on proposals and approves the Commission’s overall budget. • 732 MEPs - directly elected by the voters in Europe. • The Parliament represents Europe's broad political spectrum: European Socialists, the Christian Democrats, the Greens, etc… • Voting involves all three: Commission (normally initiated legislative proposals), EP (passes the law) and Council (passes the law). • Codecision process, involving two readings and seven steps. • Assent, EP obtains Council’s assent before deciding on certain important issues • Consultation, based on the Commission’s proposal, Council consults EP, ECOSOC and Committee of the Regions. • The Parliaments power and influence remains symbolic in comparison with the Commission and the Council. • President Hans-Gert Pottering (2004-2009 term) – German conservative politician
The European Union • The European Court of Justice – created by the Treaty of Paris in 1958 to adjudicate any legal dispute • Located in Luxembourg, Luxembourg • Composed of 27 justices appointed by their national governments who are assisted by 8 Advocates-Generals. • The Judges and Advocates-Generals are appointed by common accord of the governments of the member states and hold office for a renewable term of 6 years. • It is the responsibility of the Court of Justice to ensure that the law is observed in the interpretation and application of the Treaties of the EU and of the provisions laid down by the competent Community institutions.
International Organizations • Summary: • Types of international organizations • History of international organizations • Two major international organizations • Discussion: • What IO or IOs do you consider particularly important players in the world politics? Why? • What specific IO or IOs you think play important role in shaping political-economic context of South Caucasus? Why? Give examples? • Discuss the role of EU and UN in South Caucasus. • Questions?