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INTERNATIONAL ORGANIZATIONS Russian Academy of National Economy and Public Administration (RANEPA) Undergraduate (BA) Program in International Relations 36 hours’ interactive F2F course Spring 2022
Tatyana Gennadijevna Leonova: email@example.com
Lecture 2 The United Nations: From the League of Nations to the Modern UN System
March 4, 2022
Global Order and Global Governance
Pre-history of the United Nations: up to 1945
Evolution of the United Nations System
The United Nations’ System structure, main bodies and operating modalities
The UN criticism and need for reform
Global order: concept genesis and evolution
The idea of a universal association of humankind goes back to hundreds if not thousands of years
Some works claim that ancient Chinese philosophers and Greek sages were arguing even then for the establishment of a world order
Others suggest that Catholic theologians in the Middle Ages proposed some form of universal governance, Christian in construction, but reaching out to all peoples
Concept of “Perpetual Peace”
The Duke of Sully: a plan for a Christian republic, a confederation of the European Christian nations (1634)
Abbot Saint-Pierre: The Project for Perpetual Peace in Europe/Projet pour rendre la paix perpétuelle en Europe (1713)
Immanuel Kant: Perpetual Peace (1795)
Immanuel Kant. Perpetual Peace: A Philosophical Sketch 1795.
"No secret treaty of peace shall be held valid in which there is tacitly reserved matter for a future war”
"No independent states, large or small, shall come under the dominion of another state by inheritance, exchange, purchase, or donation”
"Standing armies shall in time be totally abolished”
"No state shall by force interfere with the constitution or government of another state”
"No state shall, during war, permit such acts of hostility which would make mutual confidence in the subsequent peace impossible: such are the employment of assassins (percussors), poisoners (venefici), breach of capitulation, and incitement to treason (perduellio) in the opposing state”
“Three Definitive Articles would provide not merely a cessation of hostilities, but a foundation on which to build a peace:
"The civil constitution of every state should be republican”
"The law of nations shall be founded on a federation of free states"
"The law of world citizenship shall be limited to conditions of universal hospitality”
Why these ideas were expressed?
These were efforts to find a way out of the international anarchy, to escape the repeated struggles between cities, monarchies, and states, and to establish long-lasting peace
All of them sought to constrain selfish, sovereign power, usually by some form of league of nations that would take action against a country that broke the existing order
The proposed mechanisms were reactive, assuming humankind’s propensity (inclination) to conflict but trusting that such dangerous drives could be headed off
These all were actually meant to be devices to constrain national egoism; as St.-Pierre argued, all members must be placed in a “mutual state of dependence.”
Global governance refers to the way in which global affairs are managed
Global governance typically involves a range of actors including states, as well as regional and international organizations, now also INGOs (!)
Global governance is an international process of consensus-forming which generates guidelines and agreements that affect national governments and international corporations
The process of international organization, during which sovereign states start getting into groups to coordinate their national policies and jointly develop some unified policies and rules in the international landscape, is called
is the practice of coordinating national policies in groups of three or more states
2005, Robert Keohane, After Hegemony: Cooperation and discord in the World Economy
These days – new interconnected global challenges (geopolitical, economic, environmental, social and technological) are prompting proliferation and diversification of actors, forums, and their arrangements, which causes certain fragmentation of global governance – i.e. emergence of the so called “contested multilateralism” (!)
Modern Contested Multilateralism (конкурентная многосторонность)
“Contested multilateralism” is perceived positively as it is considered that institutional and organizational diversity could produce better outcomes in dealing with persisting and emerging global challenges, and could fill existing governance gaps;
Hard and soft law international governance:
Bretton-Woods and UN System institutions (40ies of XX century) – formal, hard law, broadly multilateral, heavily organized bureaucracies
New informal multilateral institutions (end of XX century) – smaller membership, lighter legal obligations (soft law), less bureaucracy, greater reliance on flexible voluntary approaches with absence of legally binding commitments).
These new informal groupings set their agenda and engage with established formal international organizations in pursuing global governance matters. Some of them even assume leading roles on certain topics (e.g. G20 – on global financial regulation)
Precursors of the United Nations
The European Concert of Nations (1815 – 1914)
The International Committee of the Red Cross (1864)
The Universal Postal Union
The International Telecommunication Union
The League of Nations (1918-1946)
League of Nations
63 member states
The Council: 4 permanent members (United Kingdom, France, Italy, and Japan) and 4 rotating members
Establishment of the International Labor Organization (review of labor legislation)
Agreements on civil aviation
Settlement of a few international disputes
League of Nations (ambitions)
It is a definite guaranty of peace.
It is a definite guaranty by word against aggression.
It is a definite guaranty against the things which have just come near bringing the whole structure of civilization into ruin.
Its purposes are declared, and its powers are unmistakable.
It is not in contemplation that this should be merely a league to secure the peace of the world. It is a league which can be used for cooperation in any international matter
Woodrow Wilson, 1919
the 28th President of the United States (1913-1921)
League of Nations: Causes of Its Failure
The LN was not a truly global organization (USA did not join, Germany and Russia (USSR) – in&out, Japan - out)
The United Kingdom was not ready to perform a peacemaking function within the LN
There was no balance of forces that was typical for the period of the European Concert of Nations
The European economies were unstable during the period between the two world wars
There were no real mechanisms to resolve international conflicts
How the UN was founded:
The first "Declaration by United Nations" dates back to January 1, 1942, when representatives of 26 nations joined the “Atlantic Charter” and pledged their governments to continue fighting together to defeat the Hitler coalition powers and to obtain a "just" peace.
In August 1944 delegates from China, the Soviet Union, the United Kingdom, and the United States met at Dumbarton Oaks, a private estate in Washington, D.C., to draw up the basic blueprint for the new international organization.
In March 1945, during the Yalta Conference, the basic rule of “great power unanimity” named as “veto power” was agreed upon;
The UN Charter was signed in San Francisco on June 26, 1945 by 50 states (so called – UN founders).
On October 24, 1945 the USSR ratified the UN Charter as the 29th state, and the United Nations officially came into existence.
The creation of the UN is considered to be the main outcome of the Second World War
It has marked the establishment of the modern world order
Charter of the United Nations
Chapter 1: The purposes of the United Nations are: to maintain international peace and security, and to provide for socioeconomic development of all nations.
Chapter 2: Membership criteria: «all peace-loving states» (new members should be “recommended” by the Security Council).
Chapters 6 and 7: stipulate the Security Council's power:
to investigate and mediate disputes
to authorize sanctions or the use of military force.
Three Basic Components of the United Nations (three legs of the stool)
Leg one involved measures to obtain international security
and therefore stressed cooperative diplomacy and arbitration
to settle disputes, backed up by shared military force to deter aggression or,
if that failed, to defeat the aggressors.
Leg two rested upon the belief that military security without economic
improvement was short-term and futile. Global instruments, whether within
the UN family or “in relationship” to the world body (such as the Bretton Woods institutions),
therefore had to be devised to rebuild the world economy.
Leg three argued that however strongly the first two legs were constructed,
the system would fold—would collapse— if it did not produce ways of improving
political and cultural understandings among peoples.
First UN meetings and the UN Headquarters
The first session of the UN General Assembly was held on January 10, 1946 at the Westminster Palace, in London, UK, and was devoted to atomic energy issues – its solely peaceful use, and liquidation of all weapons of mass destruction, including the atomic ones;
Later in January 1946 in the same place the first meeting of the UN Security Council took place (with 11 member states including the P5 – USA, UK, France, USSR and Taiwan, representing China)
On December 14, 1946 the UN GA accepted the offer from Mr. John Rockefeller Jr. to donate 8,5 mln USD to buy a piece of land in NYC to build a permanent UN Headquarters.
On January 10, 1951, the new UN HQ was officially opened in NYC, United States of America.
Membership in the United Nations
Latest new member:
South Sudan joined in 2011
Currently – 193
Plus two Observers –
Vatican and Palestine
The UN Structure
The UN is governed by six principal bodies:
Economic and Social Council,
International Court of Justice (based in Hague)
Associated with UN are 15 specialized agencies, which coordinate its operations with UN but are independent IOs – WHO, ILO, WBG, IMF and others, financed by both obligatory and voluntary contributions of its members
24 UN programs and funds – UNDP, UNCTAD, WFP, UN-Habitat, etc. – have been established for any special purpose and are being financed solely by voluntary contributions of member countries
Souce: Basic Facts about the United Nations - 2014
The UN Budget
The UN budget is based on two categories of contributions: assessed and voluntary
The assessed contributions can, in turn, be divided into three categories according to the end use of the funds:
Assessed contributions to the Regular Operating Budget (totaling about $2 billion)
Assessed contributions to UN Specialized Agencies ( $2 billion)
Assessed contributions to UN Peacekeeping Operations (ca. $5 billion)
Max contribution per country – 22% (USA), min – 0,001%(Burundi)
The amount of assessed contributions to the regular budget is set every three years by the General Assembly. In addition to the United States, the other major contributors include Japan, Germany, United Kingdom, France, Italy, Canada, Spain, and China - these nine countries combined pay for roughly 75 percent of the entire core budget of the United Nations
The main deliberative and representative organ of the UN;
Composed of representatives of all member states, each of which has one vote;
Decisions on important questions (such as on peace and security, admission of new members and budgetary matters) require a two-thirds majority. Decisions on other questions take place by simple majority;
Decisions on elections of non-permanent members of the UNSC, members of ECOSOC, UN Secretary General, budget voting, and voting on inclusion of new member states and exclusion of states – are binding
UNGA has a president and twenty-one vice presidents. GA is divided along regional lines. The presidency rotates each year among five groups of states: African, Asian, Eastern European, Latin American and the Caribbean, and Western European and other states.
The Security Council is the central organ of the entire UN system!
It has primary responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security.
The SC is granted wide powers that make it an active participant in international affairs:
it could investigate any dispute or any situation that might lead to international friction;
it is authorized to make binding decisions on economic sanctions or military action.
The SC is mandated to use its powers both as a means of preventing a conflict
and as a way of enforcing a state's compliance with a specific decision or resolution.
The wide powers granted to the Security Council is a result of the desire to build a more
effective guardian of international peace and security than the League of Nations used to be.
The SC has 5 permanent members - China, France, Russia, United Kingdom, United States
(P 5) - with a veto power (unanimity principle)
and 10 members elected for two-year terms
by the General Assembly.
SC is supposed to function permanently (!)
elaborating fast and effective decisions on behalf
of all UN states (extraordinary sessions and
Use of Veto Power by Members of the Security Council
Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC)
The key body to coordinate socioeconomic activities of the United Nations and its specialized agencies (incl. WB, IMF and WTO).
54 member states (Africa - 14, Asia - 11, Eastern Europe - 6, Latin America - 10, Western Europe and others - 13.)
Simple majority voting
Holds conferences, research, consultations with INGOs and academia
In charge of overseeing the MDGs and SDGs
UN Programs and Funds (24)
Founded to tackle some specific issue(s) in global development
Financed by voluntary contributions from member states and other donors
UN International Children Emergency Fund
Founded in 1946 to provide emergency food and healthcare to children in countries devastated by World War II.
The governing document: the Convention on the Rights of the Child.
Presently, it works with long term development agenda - to protect children’s rights, promote universal primary education and meet basic children’s needs for food, healthcare, and sanitation.
United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD)
Founded in 1964 and has been developing as the voice of the Group of 77 and the Nonaligned Movement.
The central international body promoting international trade and investment for the benefit of development, poverty reduction and integration into global economy.
In the 1970s-1980s, it focused on implementing the Declaration of the Establishment of a New International Economic Order.
Three pillars of activities:
research and policy analysis;
intergovernmental consensus building through negotiations;
technical assistance projects.
UNCTAD lobbies and coordinates, but it does not make any policy decisions
TNC Regulation in Developing Economies (United Nations Center for Transnational Corporations)
UNCTC was established in 1975 and abolished in 1999 and replaced by the Global Compact and UNCTAD’s FDI review (World Investment Reports). UNCTAD continues to play a limited role in international trade policy compared to WTO.
To prevent interference in the internal affairs of the countries where they operate and their collaboration with racist regimes and colonial administrations;
To regulate their activities in host countries, to eliminate restrictive business practices and to conform to the national development plans and objectives of developing countries, and in this context to facilitate, as necessary, the review and revision of previously concluded agreements;
To bring about assistance, transfer of technology and management skills to developing countries on equitable and favorable terms;
To regulate the repatriation of the profits accruing from their operations, taking into account the legitimate interests of all parties concerned;
To promote reinvestment of their profits in developing countries
United Nations Development Program (UNDP)
Founded in 1966.
Global focus areas:
Poverty reduction (pursuant to the Millennium Development Goals)
Crisis prevention and recovery
Energy and environment
Empowerment of women
One of the large operators of the international development assistance projects financed by bilateral and multilateral donors
World Food Program (WFP)
Founded in 1966.
The largest humanitarian organization working to prevent hunger.
Food assistance has been provided to over 2 billion people in more than 80 countries.
United Nations University
Founded in 1975.
A global research and education network headquartered in Japan.
13 centers and programs across the world.
On-line training programs
Some Specialized Agencies and Related Organizations of the United Nations
The UN specialized agencies are autonomous international
organizations working with the United Nations.
All were brought into relationship with the UN through
Some existed before the First World War.
Some were associated with the League of Nations.
Others were created almost simultaneously with the UN.
Others were created by the UN to meet emerging needs.
UN Specialized Agencies
Headquarters: Rome, Italy. The Food and Agriculture Organization leads international efforts to fight hunger. It is both a forum for negotiating agreements between developing and developed countries and a source of technical knowledge and information to aid development.
Headquarters: Montreal, Canada. The International Civil Aviation Organization develops standards for global air transport and assists its 192 Member States in sharing the world’s skies to their socio-economic benefit.
Headquarters: Rome, Italy. The International Fund for Agricultural Development, since it was created in 1977, has focused exclusively on rural poverty reduction, working with poor rural populations in developing countries to eliminate poverty, hunger and malnutrition; raise their productivity and incomes; and improve the quality of their lives.
Headquarters: Geneva, Switzerland. The International Labor Organization promotes international labor rights by formulating international standards on the freedom to associate, collective bargaining, the abolition of forced labor, and equality of opportunity and treatment.
Headquarters: Washington, DC, USA. The International Monetary Fund fosters economic growth and employment by providing temporary financial assistance to countries to help ease balance of payments adjustment and technical assistance. The IMF currently has $28 billion in outstanding loans to 74 nations.
Headquarters: London, United Kingdom. The International Maritime Organization has created a comprehensive shipping regulatory framework, addressing safety and environmental concerns, legal matters, technical cooperation, security, and efficiency.
Headquarters: Geneva, Switzerland. The International Telecommunication Union is the United Nations specialized agency for information and communication technologies. It is committed to connecting all the world's people – wherever they live and whatever their means. Through our work, we protect and support everyone's fundamental right to communicate
Headquarters: Paris, France. The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization focuses on everything from teacher training to helping improve education worldwide to protecting important historical and cultural sites around the world. UNESCO added 28 new World Heritage Sites this year to the list of irreplaceable treasures that will be protected for today's travelers and future generations.
Headquarters: Vienna, Austria. The United Nations Industrial Development Organization is the specialized agency of the United Nations that promotes industrial development for poverty reduction, inclusive globalization and environmental sustainability.
Headquarters: Madrid, Spain. The World Tourism Organization is the United Nations agency responsible for the promotion of responsible, sustainable and universally accessible tourism.
UN Specialized Agencies (cont’d)
Headquarters: Bern, Switzerland. The Universal Postal Union is the primary forum for cooperation between postal sector players. It helps to ensure a truly universal network of up-to-date products and services.
Headquarters: Geneva, Switzerland. The World Health Organization is the directing and coordinating authority on international health within the United Nations system. The objective of WHO is the attainment by all peoples of the highest possible level of health. Health, as defined in the WHO Constitution, is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.
Headquarters: Geneva, Switzerland. The World Intellectual Property Organization protects intellectual property throughout the world through 23 international treaties.
Headquarters: Geneva, Switzerland. The World Meteorological Organization facilitates the free international exchange of meteorological data and information and the furtherance of its use in aviation, shipping, security, and agriculture, among other things.
15) World Bank Group
Headquarters: Washington, DC, USA. The World Bank focuses on poverty reduction and the improvement of living standards worldwide by providing low-interest loans, interest-free credit, and grants to developing countries for education, health, infrastructure, and communications, among other things. The World Bank Group works in over 100 countries. WBG agencies:
International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD)
International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID)*
International Development Association (IDA)
International Finance Corporation (IFC)
Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA)*
* International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID) and Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA) are not specialized agencies in accordance with Articles 57 and 63 of the Charter, but are part of the World Bank Group.
International Telecommunication Union (ITU)
Founded in 1865 (at first, as the International Telegraph Union).
“We allocate global radio spectrum and satellite orbits, develop the technical standards that ensure networks and technologies seamlessly interconnect, and strive to improve access to ICTs to underserved communities worldwide”
Covers the whole ICT sector: Internet, digital broadcasting, 3D TV, and mobile technologies
International Labor Organization (ILO)
Founded in 1919 by the League of Nations and became a UN specialized agency in 1946.
Formulates policy initiatives to improve labor conditions.
Develops international labor law standards.
Assists states in implementing the standards.
Bretton Woods Institutions
The World Bank
The International Monetary Fund
World Bank Group’s Agencies
United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO)
Founded in 1946 to promote dialogue among civilizations, cultures and nations.
Areas of work:
Education for All
Supporting expressions of cultural identity
International natural and social science programs
Protecting the world natural and cultural heritage
Fostering free exchange of information, promoting freedom of the press, and enhancing developing countries’ capacity in that area.
In the 1970s, UNESCO formulated the concept of the New World Information and Communication Order.
BTW: Disagreeing with the concept (and because of alleged corruption in the UNESCO administrative bodies ), the United States and the United Kingdom left UNESCO in 1983 (the United States rejoined it in 2003).
Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO)
Founded in 1946
Providing food security
Operates in more than 130 countries:
data collection and analysis.
World Health Organization (WHO)
Founded in 1948
The key authority for health within the United Nations system
“WHO is responsible for providing leadership on global health matters by:
shaping the health research agenda,
setting norms and standards,
articulating evidence-based policy options,
providing technical support to countries and
monitoring and assessing health trends”
United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO)
Founded in 1966.
Support to developing production capacity in member countries,
Enhancing the capacity of enterprises to participate in global trade
Promoting energy efficient production
World Trade Organization (WTO) – is an independent related to UN body
Founded in 1995.
Creates a legal framework for international trade/trade policy.
Serves as a platform for negotiations to settle terms of trade disputes.
WTO has settled over 450 trade disputes.
United Nations Criticism (Examples)
Heritage Foundation: “United Nations Assessment Project” (1982-1987): “The United Nations has a long history of attacking the free enterprise system. A key element in this is the campaign against multinational corporations. . . . A leader in this attack is the New York based Center on Transnational Corporations”
The New International Economic Order is “a tool for the USSR to manipulate the Third World countries”
Reduce funding for UNCTAD and UNESCO
Too much emphasis on government control and planning in the UN assistance programs
The United Nations does not have an adequate impact on the economic development paradigm in developing countries
Contradiction between the UN basic principles of socioeconomic development and neoliberal ideology
The UN Charter does not create conditions for “preemptive strikes” to defend national interests and combat terrorism
“It is structurally flawed and operationally cumbersome. It often lacks the means of implementation even as it may serve as the source of excellent ideas.
Its different programs often duplicate work that might be better done by one centralized agency.”
The UN SC composition and operating modality is outdated as does not reflect new balance of world powers, developing world is not represented, P5 group shall either be extended or its voting modality (principle of unanimity) be abolished
The UN Reform: Why? What? How?
Until the late 1980s, the UN had been dominated by the Cold War spirit, and the two power rivalry at the UNSC that characterized it
In September 2003, a High-Level Panel on threats, challenges, and change was set up noting that "the events of the past year have exposed deep divisions among members of the United Nations on fundamental questions of policy and principle“
In December 2004 the High-level Panel Report on Threats, Challenges and Change, A more secure world: our shared responsibility came out
Collective security and the challenge of prevention
There are six clusters of threats with which the
world must be concerned now and in the decades ahead:
Economic and social threats, including poverty, infectious diseases and environmental degradation
Inter-State conflict and war
Internal conflict, including civil war, genocide and other large-scale atrocities
Nuclear, radiological, chemical and biological weapons
Transnational organized crime
https://www.securitycouncilreport.org/un-documents/document/cpr-a-59-565.php; page 11
The Challenge of Prevention
The foundation of peaceful prevention is development
Development helps combat poverty, infectious disease and environmental degradation that kill millions and threaten human security
Development is vital in helping States prevent or reverse the erosion of State capacity (deal with issues of failed and fragile states)
https://www.securitycouncilreport.org/un-documents/document/cpr-a-59-565.php; page 12
Collective security and the use of force
The Security Council is fully empowered to deal with every kind of threat that States may confront;
It is important to find ways to make the Security Council as a source of authority to work better than it has;
A set of guidelines — five criteria of legitimacy — which the Security Council (and anyone else involved in these decisions) should always address in considering whether to authorize or apply military force:
seriousness of threat,
balance of consequences
The necessity for all members of the international community, developed and developing States alike, to be much more forthcoming in providing and supporting deployable military resources.
https://www.securitycouncilreport.org/un-documents/document/cpr-a-59-565.php; page 13
A more effective United Nations for the XXI century
The UN key institutional weaknesses in current responses to threats:
The General Assembly has lost vitality and often fails to focus effectively on the most compelling issues of the day.
The Security Council will need to be more proactive in the future. For this to happen, those who contribute most to the Organization financially, militarily and diplomatically should participate more in Council decision-making, and those who participate in Council decision-making should contribute more to the Organization. The Security Council needs greater credibility, legitimacy and representation to do all that we demand of it.
There is a major institutional gap in addressing countries under stress and countries emerging from conflict. Such countries often suffer from attention, policy guidance and resource deficits.
The Security Council has not made the most of the potential advantages of working with regional and subregional organizations.
There must be new institutional arrangements to address the economic and social threats to international security (i.e. challenge of prevention)
The Commission on Human Rights suffers from a legitimacy deficit that casts doubts on the overall reputation of the United Nations.
There is a need for a more professional and better organized Secretariat that is much more capable of concerted action.
https://www.securitycouncilreport.org/un-documents/document/cpr-a-59-565.php; page 14
Need for a stronger form of global governance
“Today we have a multilateralism that has no teeth … and wherever there are teeth, as in the Security Council, there is no appetite to bite” – the UN SG Antonio Guterres
Multilateralism should evolve in two ways and become:
UN “Basic Facts about the United Nations” (2014)
Jussi Hanhimaki “The United Nations: a Very Short Introduction” (2008)
Paul Kennedy “The Parliament of Man. The Past, Present and Future of the United Nations” (2007)
Stephen C. Schlesinger “Act of Creation: The Founding of the United Nations” (2004)
В.Н.Федоров «Организация Объединенных Наций, другие международные организации и их роль в XXI веке» (2007)
The UN’s structures built in 1945 are not fit for 2020, let alone beyond it. Grand redesigns, by Doug Chayka. The Economist, Special Report, June 18th 2020 edition. https://www.economist.com/special-report/2020/06/18/the-uns-structures-built-in-1945-are-not-fit-for-2020-let-alone-beyond-it
Will the UN Security Council be Ever Reformed? https://www.dw.com/en/will-the-un-security-council-ever-be-reformed/a-41045697
Home task for Seminar 2: Global Governance and the UN System in the 21st Century
Part 1: General Discussion on Global governance
Global Order vs Global Anarchy: what the world needs?
World Government or Global Governance – what is the reality?
Inequalities of Power in international organization – give examples
International Governance and State Sovereignty – are they at odds?
Is the United Nations system an ultimate foundation of the global order and global governance?
Part 2: Reforming the United Nations
How to address key institutional weaknesses:
UN SC reform;
Internal governance reform;
Secretariat and decision making
How to make the UN more networked
How to make the UN more inclusive
Each student prepares written responses to each question for Part 1 and Part 2.
During the discussion each student is supposed to speak up and present his/hers views.
The files with written responses shall be uploaded into LMS under the Seminar 2 tagged task.