The organisation that help with matters of war and peace are called international organisations. They also help different countries to cooperate for better living conditions for all of us. An international organisation is not a super state having the authorities over its members rather it is created by states. Once created, it can help members states to resolve their problems peacefully. It can also help to check some challenging issue that can only be dealt when everyone works together, e.g. diseases, global warming, atmospheric temperature etc.
The United Nation (UN)
(i) The Untied Nations was established in 1945 immediately after the Second World War. It was a successor to the league of nations which was formed after the First World War.
(ii) The objective of United Nations is to prevent international conflict and to facilitate cooperation among states.
(iii) In the UN Security Council, there are fiver permanent members (United Kingdom, United States of America, Russia, France and China) and other non-permanent members who are elected after every two years. The most important public figure of the UN is the Secretary General.
(iv) There are different structures and agencies of UN. These include World Health Organisations (WHO), the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the Untied Nations Human Rights Commission (UNHRC), the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) etc.
Reform of the United Nations after the Cold War
(i) Reforms and improvement are necessary for any organisation to perform better. The UN is also not an exception.
(ii) There have been demands to bring reforms in the UN. Two demands have been raised i.e. reform of the organisation’s structures and processes and , a review of the issues that fall within the jurisdiction of the organisation.
(iii) On the reform of structures and processes, there has been the demand to increase the membership of permanent and non-permanent in UN Security Council.
(iv) On the issues within the jurisdiction of the UN, some countries want the organisation to paly a greater role in peace and security missions.
(v) While some other countries want the role of UN to be confined to development and humanitarian work.
Reform of Structures and Processes of the UN
(i) A resolution was adopted by the UN General Assembly in 1992 over the reforms in the security council. The resolution reflected three main complaints.
(ii) To look into the complaints over the restructuring of the UN, on 1st January, 1997, the UN Secretary General Kofi Annan initiated an inquiry into how the UN should be reformed.
(iii) Criteria for inclusion of a new member was decided. Some of them were that a new member must be a major economic and military power, a substantial contributor to the UN budget etc.
(iv) Different governments saw advantages in some criteria and disadvantages in other depending on their interests and aspirations. A demand to abolish the veto power altogether was also raised. Many perceived the veto to be in conflict with the concept of democracy and sovereign equality in the UN.
(v) Permanent members have two privileges i.e. veto power and permanency in the security council.
(vi) By veto power means that if a permanent member cast a veto in a negative manner then it may state the decision.
(vii) Without veto power, there is the danger that the great powers would lose interest in the world body and without their support the body would be ineffective.
Jurisdiction of the UN
(i) A meeting was held in September 2005 to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the United Nation and to review the situation.
(ii) The leaders in this meeting decided some steps that should be taken to make the UN more relevant in the changing content.
(iii) Steps include establishment of a Human Rights Council, creation of a democracy fund, an agreement to wind up the trusteeship council etc.
India and the UN Reforms
(i) India has always supported the restructuring of the United Nations. It believes that a strengthened and revitalised UN is desirable in a changing world.
(ii) The most important demand of India is regarding the restructuring of the security council. It supports an increase in the number of both permanent and non-permanent members.
(iii) It also urges that an expandable council, with more representative, will enjoy greater support in the world community.
(iv) India itself wishes to be a permanent member in a restructured UN. India is the world’s largest democracy and the second most populous country in the world.
(v) The country’s economic emergence on the world stage is another factor that perhaps justifies India’s claim to a permanent seat in the Security Council.
(vi) Despite India’s wish to be a permanent veto holding member of the UN, some countries question its inclusion. They are concerned about Indo-Pak relations, India’s nuclear capabilities etc.
The UN in a Unipolar World
(i) It is believed by many countries that the reform and restructuring of the UN could help the UN cope better with a unipolar world in which the US was the most powerful country.
(ii) The US stands as the only superpower after the disintegration of USSR hence US power cannot be easily checked.
(iii) Within the UN, the influence of the US is considerable. As the single largest contributor to the UN, the US has unmatched financial power.
(iv) The UN is not therefore a great balance to the US. Nevertheless, in a unipolar world in which the US is dominant, the UN can and has served to bring the US and the rest of the world into discussion over various issues.
(v) The UN is an imperfect body, but without it the world would be worse off.
(vi) It is important for people to use and support the UN and other international organisations in ways that are consistent with their own interests.
Other International Organisations
(i) The international Monetary Fund (IMF) is an international organisation that looks upon international financial institutions and regulations. It has 188 member countries. The G-8 members (the US , Japan, Germany, France, UK, Italy, Canada, Russia), China and Saudi Arabia have more than 52 per cent votes in IMF.
(ii) World Bank is an important international organisation created during Second World War in 1944. It provides loans and grants to the members countries, especially developing countries.
(iii) World Trade Organisation (WTO) is an international organisation set up in 1995 as the successor to the General Agreement on Trade and Tariffs (GATT). It sets the rules for global trade. It has 157 members countries.
(iv) International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) is an international organisation established in 1957. It seeks to promote the peaceful use of nuclear energy and to prevent its use for military purpose.
(v) Amnesty International is an international Non-Government Organisation (NGO) which campaigns for the protection of human rights all over the world.
(vi) Human Rights Watch is an international NGO which is involved in research and advocacy on human rights.