The main reason behind the formation of the international organisations in the post war era was because of what had transpired in the 1930’s. The nations of the world had reviewed the events that had almost bankrupted and devastated nations, the war had caused a disruption at a scale which had never been contemplated. The large scale destruction had urged many countries to rethink war, its pros and cons, it was then realised that the world needed an organisation that would help resolve disputes between nations, help build strong, new and independent nations.
Now what do international organisations actually mean? International organisation as defined in the Farlex English Dictionary is an international alliance involving many different countries. The definition more suited to this context would be, an International Organisation is an organisation which has different nations as its members and performs a certain activity which is in the common interest of all those member nations. The main jobs of these International Organisations is to help maintain peace between nations, but this is only half the job; Wars generally create a lot of political and financial instability/hardships for the nations directly or indirectly involved, International Organisations help overcoming these difficulties by providing assistance through cooperation of other better situated nations.
The sudden need for an international organisation was felt after the First World War. The widespread destruction and the far reaching consequences had made the nations realize that they needed to help themselves or there would be no end to global unrest and instability. After the Paris Peace Conference that ended the First World War an intergovernmental organisation was formed which came to be known as The League of Nations. It was the first permanent international organisation whose mission was to maintain world peace. League of Nations and other important International Organisations and their roles in the present International System will be discussed in detail in the paper.
What role do International Organisations play in the International System is a question that first comes to the minds of people when International Organisations are being discussed. International Organisation play a very important role in the world today; In the globalised world we live in today, everything ranging from world peace to the clothes we wear have an important link to various International Organisations. In order to understand this statement we have to go down the timeline of International Organisations;
The League of Nations was the first International Organisation in the true sense, it was an organisation whose primary objective was to maintain peace between nations. Its goals as stated in its Covenant included preventing war throug collective security and disarmament, and settling international disputes through negotiation and arbitration. Other issues in this and related treaties included labour conditions, just treatment of native inhabitants, human and drug trafficking, arms trade, global health, prisoners of war, and protection of minorities in Europe. The League of Nations had 58 members in its greatest extent, but it was soon realised that the League lacked its own armed force and depended on the Great Powers to enforce its resolutions, keep to its economic sanctions, or provide an army when needed. Sanctions could hurt League members, so they were reluctant to comply with them. Numerous reasons like this led to the downfall of the League of Nations. The onset of the Second World War showed that the League had failed its primary purpose, which was to prevent any future world war. The United Nations (UN) replaced it after the end of the war and inherited a number of agencies and organizations founded by the League.
The United Nations is an international organisation which aims to facilitate cooperation in international law, international security, economic development, social progress, human rights, and achievement of world peace. The United Nations currently has 193 member states, including every internationally recognised sovereign state other that the Vatican City. The organization has six principal organs:
General Assembly- The main deliberative assembly; The Security Council- For deciding certain resolutions for peace and security; The Economic and Social Council- For assisting in promoting international economic and social cooperation and development; The Secretariat- For providing studies, information, and facilities needed by the UN; The International Court of Justice – The primary judicial organ; The United Nations Trusteeship Council (which is currently inactive).
Other prominent UN System agencies include the World Health Organization (WHO), the World Food Programme (WFP) and United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF).
The United Nations has been credited with negotiating 172 peaceful settlements that have ended regional conflicts. Recent cases include an end to the Iran-Iraq war, the withdrawal of Soviet troops from Afghanistan, and an end to the civil war in El Salvador. The United Nations has used quiet diplomacy to avert imminent wars. The United Nations also has helped in promoting democracy in various countries, it has enabled people in over 45 countries to participate in free and fair elections, including those held in Cambodia, Namibia, El Salvador, Eritrea, Mozambique, Nicaragua and South Africa. The United Nations has also taken various steps to prevennt nuclear proliferation; Through the International Atomic Energy Agency, United Nations has helped minimize the threat of a nuclear war by inspecting nuclear reactors in 90 countries to ensure that nuclear materials are not diverted for military purposes. The above mentioned facts clearly show how the United Nations has been successful in addressing the various issues of the International System. The importance of United Nations in regard to the maintenance of a social order in the world cannot be stressed enough, but there are other International Organisations too which have an equal importance in ensuring growth and peace in the world.
Another important Organisation is the World Trade Organisation, The World Trade Organization (WTO) is an organization that intends to supervise and liberalize international trade. The organization officially commenced on January 1, 1995 under the Marrakech Agreement, replacing the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT), which commenced in 1948. The organization deals with regulation of trade between participating countries; it provides a framework for negotiating and formalizing trade agreements, and a dispute resolution process aimed at enforcing participants’ adherence to WTO agreements which are signed by representatives of member governments and ratified by their parliaments. The World Trade Organisation has a major role in liberalising the markets of many nations and convincing the nations to open up their markets to the rest of the world. This has been very advantageous because this had expanded the horizons of commerce and business in a way that has changed our outlook of the world.
North Atlantic Treaty Organisation or NATO, is an intergovernmental military alliance based on the North Atlantic Treaty which was signed on 4 April 1949. The organization constitutes a system of collective defence whereby its member states agree to mutual defence in response to an attack by any external party. NATO had helped in ending the Cold War Lines of division which proved to be an incentive for the countries of western and central Europe to overcome long standing differences. NATO has created the Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council to give a stronger political dimension to various military partnerships and has made the Partnership for Peace more operational, in order to enhance the pool of resources for joint crisis management, the benefits of which can already be seen in Bosnia and Kosovo.
It can very clearly be inferred from the text that the International Organisations have played a very important role in making the world what it is today. The International Organisations have dealt with a lot of important and pressing issues and have provided a forum for countries to come together and address and resolve disputes and issues that would have had huge implications in the future.