International Organizations

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International organizations have been noted to be around since the mid- 19th century and such organizations do not operate for profit. An international organization is defined by the United Nations as an organization with an international membership, scope, or presence. The main objective of all the international organizations they say ,have usually been welfare and the improvement of member countries through cooperation. Karns and Mingst identify the two main types of international organizations as IGOs and INGOs which they also refer to as international and transnational structures who are actors in global governance. Global governance, they say, are the cooperative problem-solving arrangements and activities that states and other actors have put into place to deal with various issues and problems. Firstly, Intergovernmental Organizations; herein referred to as IGOs will be discussed. IGOs are organizations that include at least three states among their membership, that have activities in several states, and that are created through a formal intergovernmental agreement such as a treaty, charter, or statute. These organizations range in size from 3 members (North American Free Trade Agreement [NAFTA]) to more than 190 members Universal Postal Union [UPU]. Within these IGOs, members can be limited to one geographic region, for example the Organization of American States (OAS), the European Union (EU) or even the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) or they may come from all geographic regions such as members of the World Bank and IMF.

Some IGOs are designed for solitary purposes such as the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries [OPEC]), whilst others have been developed for multilateral purposes, for example the United Nations [UN]. Most IGOs though, are not global in membership but are in fact regional, wherein a commonality of interest motivates states to cooperate on issues directly affecting them. Most are small in membership and designed to address specific functions. It must also be noted that IGOs are recognized subjects of international law with separate standing from their member states. According to Karns and Mingst, IGOs function for purposes of gathering, analyzing, and disseminating data, providing a place for negotiations, creating norms and defining standards of behavior through legally binding treaties, monitoring compliance with rules, adjudicating disputes and also taking enforcement measures and for allocating resources, providing technical assistance and relief and deploying forces. Kenneth Abbott and Duncan Snidal (1998) suggest that IGOs “allow for the centralization of collective activities through a concrete and stable organizational structure and a supportive administrative apparatus. This increases the efficiency of collective activities and enhance the organization’s ability to affect the understandings, environment, and interests of states.” In their book on International Organization Karns and Mingst say that “IGOs do not only create opportunities for their member states, but also exercise influence and impose constraints on their member states’ policies and processes” which aids in forcing governments to take positions on international or domestic issues of concern. They also facilitate the creation of principles, norms, and rules of behavior with which states must align their policies if they wish to benefit from reciprocity. For example, China’s admission to the World Trade Organization and how this has affected its national policies and required extensive governmental reforms.

Secondly, International Non Governmental Organizations; herein referred to as INGOs will be discussed. INGOs are institutions that are established by non-state actors or at least one side of these organizations is not states. They can generally be defined as private, voluntary, non-profit, self-governing, professional organizations with a distinctive legal character concerned with public welfare aims....
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