List of international organizations in the world

INTERNATIONAL  ORGANIZATIONS 

UNITED NATIONS ORGANIZATION 

The UN is an association of sovereign states bound by a Charter (Constitution) to maintain international peace and security. 

• It is the world’s largest international organization; a successor to the League of Nations.

• How the name United Nations was coined? The US President, Franklin D. Roosevelt,

used the name United Nations in the ‘Declaration by United Nations’ on 1 January

1942 during the Second World War, when representatives of 26 nations pledged support to continue fi ghting together against the Axis Powers. 

• UN Charter: On 26 June 1945, the United Nations Charter (Constitution) was signed by the delegates of 49 countries at San Francisco (US). 

• There were originally 50 nations invited to the San Francisco Conference.

• Poland did not attend because the composition of her new government was not announced until late for the conference. 

• Therefore, the space was left for the signature of Poland, one of the original signatories of the UN Declaration. 

• The generally recognized government in Poland was formed on 28 June 1945 and

on 15 October 1945, Poland signed the Charter, thus becoming one of the original members. 

Foundation Day of the UN

• The UN formally came into existence on 24 October 1945, when governments of China, France, the United Kingdom, the former USSR, the United States and a majority of other states ratifi ed the UN Charter. 

• 24 October is celebrated as the United Nations Day throughout the world. First Regular Session of the UN 

• The fi rst regular session of the UN was held in London in January 1946 and Trygve

Lie (Norway) was elected the fi rst Secretary General of the UN. Headquarters of the UN 

• These are located on the First Avenue, UN Plaza, New York City, United States of America. 

The UN Flag and the Emblem

• The UN General Assembly adopted the UN fl ag on 20 October 1947.

• The white UN emblem is superimposed on a light blue background.

• The emblem consists of the global map projected from the North Pole and embraced in twin olive branches (symbol of peace). 

• The UN fl ag is not to be subordinated to any other fl ag in the world.

• The UN Emblem was approved on 7 October 1946.

Aims and Objectives

The main objectives of the UN are:

1. To maintain peace and security in the world.

2. To work together to remove poverty, disease and illiteracy and encourage respect for

each other’s rights of basic freedom.

3. To develop friendly relations among nations.

4. To be a centre to help nations achieve these common goals.

Membership of the UN

• Admission of Members: New members are admitted to the General Assembly on the

recommendation of the Security Council and two-thirds of the members should vote

in favour. Members are expelled or suspended in the same manner.

• Permanent Members: There are fi ve permanent members of the Security Council: China, France, Russia, UK and US. 

• Veto: A negative vote by a permanent member bars action by the Security Council and is called a veto. Each permanent member enjoys the power to veto. 

• Membership: When the UN Charter was signed, there were only 50 members. As of

1 July 2009, the UN has 193 members. The following nations were admitted to the

UN from 2000: Tuvalu, East Timor, Serbia, Switzerland, Montenegro. In 1994: Palau,

a newly independent Pacifi c nation which had been under the trusteeship of the USA.

South Sudan is the newest member of the UN.

• Non-members

1. Switzerland Taiwan.

2. In addition, several other small states like Nauru, Tonga, Vatican City are also not

members of the UN.

Organization of the UN

The principal bodies of the UN are as follows:

1. The General Assembly

2. The Security Council

3. The Economic and Social Council

4. International Court of Justice

5. Trusteeship Council

6. Secretariat

• Quick Facts

—Membership: 193 member states

—Established: 24 October 1945 (United Nations Day)

—Secretariat Staffi ng on 1st January 2014: 50000 approx.

—Current UN Peace Keeping Operations: 16

—Offi cial Languages: Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Russian, Spanish

—Nobel Prize 2001 was awarded equally between UN Secretary General Kofi Anan

and the United Nations itself on 10 December 2001.

The General Assembly (GA)

• Headquarters: New York

• Membership: Consists of all member states of the UN. Each member can send five delegates but each nation has only one vote. 

• Functions: All other UN bodies report to the General Assembly. It discusses and makes recommendations on any subject covered under the UN Charter except those with which the Security Council may be dealing. 

• Meetings: The General Assembly meets every year in regular sessions beginning on the third Tuesday in September. 

Security Council (SC)

• Headquarters: New York

• Membership: The Security Council has 15 members—five permanent members

enjoying veto power. (i) China, (ii) France, (iii) Russia, (iv) UK and (v) US and

10 non-permanent elected members. The non-permanent members are elected by the

General Assembly. They retire on rotation every two years.

• Function: The Security Council is responsible for international peace and security.

Any nation, irrespective of its membership of the UN can put forth its problem before

the Council. The Security Council can recommend peaceful solutions or if necessary, may order use of force to restore peace.  

The Economic and Social Council

• Headquarters: New York

• Membership: Consists of representatives of 54 member-countries elected by a two-

thirds majority in the General Assembly. One-third of the members are elected every

year to serve for a period of three years and one-third of the members retire annually.

• Functions: The Economic and Social Council carries on the functions of the UN with

regard to international economic, social, cultural, educational, health and related matters.

The International Court of Justice (ICJ)

• Headquarters: The Hague (Netherlands)

• Membership: Consists of 15 judges who are elected by the General Assembly and the

Security Council for a term of nine years.

• Functions: It gives advisory opinion on legal matters to the bodies and special agencies

of the UN and considers the legal disputes brought before them.

• Justice R. S. Pathak, Chief Justice of India, was elected judge of the ICJ on 18 April 1989.

• He became the third Indian on whom this honour has been bestowed.

• The other two were Mr Justice B. N. Rao and Mr Justice Nagendra Singh.

The Trusteeship Council

• Headquarters: New York

• Membership: There are fi ve permanent members of the Security Council plus those

• Functions: To safeguard the interest of inhabitants of territories which are not yet fully

self-governing and are governed by an administering country.

The Secretariat

• Headed by: A Secretary-General who is appointed by the General Assembly on the

recommendation of the Security Council.

Tenure: Five years and eligible for re-election after the term expires.

• Functions: It is the chief administrative offi ce of the UN which coordinates and supervises the activities of the UN. 

Secretary-Generals of the UN

1. Trygve Lie (Norway) 1946–52

2. Dag Hammarskjold (Sweden);s killed in an air crash) 1953–61

3. U. Thant (Myanmar) 1962–71

4. Dr Kurt Waldheim (Austria) 1972–81

5. Javier Perez De Cuellar (Peru) 1982–91 (two terms)

6. Dr Boutros Boutros-Ghali (Egypt) 1992–1997

7. Kofi Annan (Ghana) 1997–2007 (two terms)

8. Ban Ki-moon (South Korea) 2007–till date

Agencies Related to the United Nations

• Working in collaboration with the UN in various economic, social, scientifi c and technical fi elds are a group of inter-governmental organizations. 

• These agencies are related to the UN through special agreements.nations who administer Trust Territories.

Changing Role of United Nations

• The work of the United Nations reached every corner of the globe.

• Although best known for peacekeeping, peacebuilding, conflict prevention and

humanitarian assistance, there are many other ways the United Nations and its System

(specialized agencies, funds and programmes) aff ect our lives and make the world a better place. 

• The organization works on a broad range of fundamental issues, from sustainable

development, environment and refugees protection, disaster relief, counter terrorism, disarmament and non-proliferation, to promoting democracy, human rights,  

governance, economic and social development and international health, clearing

landmines, expanding food production and more, in order to achieve its goals and

coordinate eff orts for a safer world for this and future.

EUROPEAN UNION

• European Union (EU) evolved from European Community (EC).

• EU was established on 7 February 1992 and came into eff ect on 1 November 1993.

• The historical roots of EU lie in the second World War. The idea of European

Integration was concieved to prevent such killing and destruction ever happening

again. It was fi rst proposed by the French foreign minister Robert Suhuman in a speech on 9 May 1950. 

• This date, the ‘birthday’ of what is now the EU is celebrated annually as ‘Europe Day’.

• The EU family of democratic European countries are committed to work together for peace and prosperity and no single state will replace the existing states. 

• Its member states have set up common institution to which they delegate some of their

sovereignty, so that the decisions on specifi c matters of joint interest can be made

democratically at European level.

• The pooling of sovereignty is also called ‘European Integration’.

• There are five EU institutions, each playing specific role:

1. European Parliament (elected by the people of the member states)

2. Council of the European Union (represents the governments of the member states)

3. European Commission (driving force and executive body)

4. Court of Justice (ensuring compliance with the law)

5. Court of Auditors (controlling sound and lawful, management of the EU budget)

• These are flaunted by fi ve important bodies:

1. European Economic and Social Committee (expresses the opinions of organized civil society on economic and social issues) 

2. Committee of Regions (expresses the opinions of regional and local authorities)

3. European Central Bank (responsible for monetary policy and managing the Euro)

4. European Ombudsman (deals with citizens’ complaints about maladministration by any EU institution or body) 

5. European Investment Bank (helps achieve EU objectives by fi nancing investment projects) 

• A number of agencies and other bodies complete the system.

• The rule of law is fundamental to the EU decisions and the procedures are based on

the treaties which are agreed by all EU members.

• Member States: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark,

Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, lreland, ltaly, Latvia, Lithuania,

Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia,

Spain, Sweden and United Kingdom.

—Romania and Bulgaria became members in January 2007 which brought the EU’s

membership total to 27 countries.

—Croatia became 28th member of the EU on 1 July 2013.

• Membership Applicants: Turkey, Iceland and former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Montenegro and Serbia are the 5 candidate countries. 

• Bosnia and Herzegovina and Albania are offi cially recognized as potential candidates.

• Kosova is also listed as potential candidate but European Commission does not list it

as an independent country.

THE COMMONWEALTH

• The Commonwealth, originally called the British Commonwealth of Nations, is an

association of sovereign and independent states which formally made up the British Empire.

• It came into being in 1947.

• Constitution: The Commonwealth has no written constitution. However, most of the

member-countries have common constitutional features and they are bound together

by common ideals and interest.

• Purpose and Objectives: Within the diversity, all members of Commonwealth

hold certain common principles. It is by pursuing these ideals and principles

that the commonwealth is able to influence international society for the benefit

of mankind.

• Membership: There are 51 member-countries (South Africa joined as 51st member

in May 1994) which include about a quarter of the world’s people. Members of the

commonwealth are represented in other commonwealth countries by diplomatic

offi cers called High Commissioners (in the place of an ambassador representing Non

Commonwealth countries).

• Head of the Commonwealth: The British monarch (Queen Elizabeth II) is the symbolic

head. The other member-nations have their own heads of state but acknowledge the

Queen as the head of the Commonwealth.

• Secretary-General: Kamlesh Sharma, an Indian diplomat became the Common wealth

Secretary General on 1 April 2008.

THE NONALIGNED MOVEMENT NAM

• Founder-Members of NAM

1. Marshal Tito—President of former Yugoslavia

2. Dr Sukarno—President of Indonesia

3. G. A. Nasser—President of Egypt

4. Pt Jawaharlal Nehru—fi rst Prime Minister of India.

• The credit of evolving the concept of NAM goes to Pt. Nehru.

• Established: A conference of like-minded nations was held in April 1955 in Indonesia

(Bandung) which became the forum for the birth of NAM.

• Basic Principles of NAM

1. Mutual respect for each other’s territorial integrity and sovereignity

2. Mutual non-aggression

3. Mutual non-interference in each other’s aff airs

4. Equality and mutual benefi t

5. Peaceful coexistence

• These principles are collectively known as Panchsheel and are the basic guidelines for

the functioning of the NAM.

• Membership: 118 (South Africa joined as 109th member in May 94)

SOUTH ASIAN ASSOCIATION FOR REGIONAL COOPERATION

SAARC

• Origin of SAARC: The idea of the SAARC was fi rst mooted in 1979 by the former

Bangladesh President Zia-ur-Rahman during his visit to Sri Lanka.

• Date of Formation: 8 December 1985 at Dhaka.

Membership

1. Bhutan

2. Bangladesh

3. India

4. The Maldives

5. Pakistan

6. Nepal

7. Sri Lanka

• Purpose

1. To promote the welfare of the people of South Asia

2. To improve the security environment in the region

3. To accelerate economic growth and cultural development

4. To combat terrorism

• Secretariat: Kathmandu (Nepal)

OTHER WORLD ORGANIZATIONS

The European Economic Community (EEC)

• Also known as the European Common Market (ECM).

• Established: On 25 March 1957, with its headquarters at Brussels in Belgium. It

was brought into existence by the Treaty of Rome on 25 March 1957 and started functioning on 1 January 1958. 

• Purpose: To promote a common market and economic prosperity among member-

countries and create a single market for free import and export among member-

countries. The Treaty of Rome also guarantees certain rights to the citizens of all member-nations. 

• Members: Initially signed by six countries: Belgium, France, Luxembourg,

Netherlands, former Federal Republic of Germany and Italy. Later Britain, Ireland,

Norway and Denmark joined but, Norway withdrew. With Greece, Spain and Portugal

joining recently EEC now has 12 member-states (1993).

Caribbean Community (CARICOM)

• Established: On 1 August 1973 with its headquarters at Georgetown (Guyana). This

organization was formed by the Caribbean Free Trade Association (CARIFTA).

• Purpose: Coordinates economic policies and development of member-states,

formulates common external trade, tariff and policy and has programmes to aid the less developed member-countries.

• Members: Anguilla, Antigua, Barbados, Belize, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana,

Jamaica, Montserrta, St Kitts-Nevis, St Lucia, St Vincent, Trinidad and Tobago.

Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC)

• Established: OPEC is a permanent, intergovernmental organization created at the

Baghdad Conference on 10–14 September 1960 by Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia

and Venezuela with its headquarters at Geneva, Switzerland. The headquarters wer

moved to Vienna in 1965. The international oil companies’ announcement that they

were reducing prices of Middle East Crude oil led to the formation of the OPEC.

• Purpose: To control production and pricing of crude oil.

• Members: Algeria, Angola, Ecuador, Gabon, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, Libya,

United Arab Emirates, Nigeria, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Venezuela. Membership of

OPEC is open to any country with substantial exports of crude petroleum. In September

1992, Ecuador suspended its membership, from December 1992–December 2007 and

Iran said it would stay alone in the oil market.

Arab League (League of Arab States)

• Established: On 22 March 1945 with its headquarters at Cairo which were later shiftedto Tunisia, Tunis in 1979 when Egypt’s membership was suspended. After Iraq’s

invasion of Kuwait in August 1990, the headquarters were shifted from Tunisia 

• Purpose: To foster unity particularly among Muslim nations and maintenance of Arabsolidarity.

• Members: Algeria, Bahrain, Comoros, Djibouti, Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon,

Libya, Mauritania, Morocco, Oman, Palestine, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Sudan,

Syria, Tunisia, United Arab Emirates and Republic of Yemen.

European Free Trade Association (EFTA)

• Established in May 1960 with headquarters in Geneva.

• Purpose: Members agreed to remove all tariff s on trade of industrial goods between

them and to aid the creation of a single West European market to help boost world

trade. EFTA countries have free trade agreements with the EEC and there is now freetrade between 16 West European countries.

• Members: Founder members were Austria, Denmark, Norway, Portugal, Sweden,

Switzerland and the UK. Iceland joined in 1970. Denmark and the UK left the

organization in December 1972. Now its members are Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway

and Switzerland.

Central Treaty Organization (CENTO)

• Established: In 1955 by a few West Asian countries with headquarters at Ankara,Turkey.

• Purpose: A defensive organization against Russian interference.

• Members: Until 1958, the organization was known as the Baghdad Pact which started

with fi ve member nations: (i) UK, (ii) Turkey, (iii) Iran, (iv) Pakistan and (v) Iraq

(which withdrew in 1959). US support came in 1958.

— Turkey, Iran and Pakistan withdrew in 1979 which spelled the end of theorganization.

Benelux Economic Union

• Established: In 1958 with its headquarters in Brussels, Belgium.

• Purpose: Belgium, Netherlands and Luxembourg formed the Benelux Economic

Union in 1958 for purposes of economic unity.

• Members: Belgium, Netherlands and Luxembourg.

North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO)

• Established: On 4 April 1949 with its headquarters in Brussels, Belgium.

• Purpose: The member countries promised to maintain and develop their individual

and collective capacity to resist armed attack and consult each other if any of the

member nations was threatened politically. They agreed that an armed attack against

any of them would be countered by combined action.

• Members: The treaty was signed in 1949 by the representative of Belgium, Canada,

Denmark, France, Iceland, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, the

UK and USA. Greece and Turkey joined in 1952 and former West Germany and Spain

in 1955 and 1982, respectively. The other members are Bulgaria, Czech Republic,

Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithiana, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia making up total 26 member countries.

The Group of 77

• Established: In 1964 under the auspices of the UN.

• Purpose: To defend the economic and trade interests of the developing world.

• Members: It now comprises 130 developing countries from Asia, Africa and LatinAmerica.

South-East Asia Treaty Organization (SEATO) 

• Established: On 8 September 1954 with its headquarters in Bangkok, Thailand.

• Purpose: To provide collective defence and economic cooperation in south-east Asia.

• Members: Australia, France, New Zealand, Pakistan, the Philippines, Thailand, the

United Kingdom and US. Pakistan withdrew from the organization in 1973. SEATO

was ultimately disbanded in 1977.

Colombo Plan

• Established: In 1950 with headquarters in Colombo.

• Purpose: To promote the development of newly independent Asian member-countries.

• Members: Started as a group of seven Commonwealth countries, it now has26 member countries.

Organization of African Unity (OAU)

• Established: On 25 May 1963 with its headquarters at Addis Ababa (Ethopia).

• Purpose: To promote African unity and solidarity, put an end to colonialism in Africa

and to coordinate the political, economic, defence, health, scientifi c and culturalpolicies of its members.

• Members: It consists of all 51 independent African countries except the white

dominated states and territories of the South. It was disbanded on 9 July 2002 by its

last chairperson, SA President Thabo Mbeki and replaced by African Union.

Organization of American States (OAS)

• Established: On 30 April 1948 with its headquarters in Washington DC. The OAS was

formed at the Ninth Conference of American States in Bogota (Colombia).

—An international conference took place in Geneva (Switzerland) in 1864 where 26

governments were represented. The conference led to the Geneva Convention and the emblem motto of Red Cross was adopted. 

• Red Cross Day: World Red Cross and Red Crescent day is celebrated on 8 May the

birthday of its founder, Henri Dunant.

• Motto: Charity in War.

• Symbol: Red Cross on a white background. It is the reverse of the fl ag of Switzerland.

• The Red Cross completed 131 years on 8 May 1993 and in its 126th year, it adopted the slogan: 

‘125 years at work—and still developing.’

• In the Middle-East, a Red Crescent replaces the Red Cross, while in Iran a lion or sun

is used as the symbol.

• The organization was awarded the Noble Prize in 1917, 1944 and 1963.

• It has about 200 million members from 131 countries of the world.

• The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) constitutes with the league of

Red Cross societies, the International Red Cross.

• The League of Red Cross Societies was founded in 1929.

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