International Organizations History and Context: Vocabulary, concepts and organizational typology
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 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…
Types of international organizations • Intergovernmental Organizations are formal institutions comprised primarily of sovereign states (referred to as member states), or of other intergovernmental organization • They can be multi or general-purpose organizations • They can also have narrow mandate focusing on a specific economic, political, social or military issue • Membership can be open to all actors, or limited by some objective criteria
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) • 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. • 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).
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.