UN & regional forums

 

United Nations

The United Nations (UN) is an intergovernmental organization to promote international co-operation. A replacement for the ineffective League of Nations, the organization was established on 24 October 1945 after World War II in order to prevent another such conflict. At its founding, the UN had 51 member states; there are now 193. The headquarters of the United Nations is in Manhattan, New York City, and experiences extraterritoriality. Further main offices are situated in Geneva, Nairobi and Vienna. The organization is financed by assessed and voluntary contributions from its member states. Its objectives include maintaining international peace and security, promoting human rights, fostering social and economic development, protecting the environment, and providing humanitarian aid in cases of famine, natural disaster, and armed conflict.

During the Second World War, US President Franklin D. Roosevelt initiated talks on a successor agency to the League of Nations, and the United Nations Charter was drafted at a conference in April–June 1945; this charter took effect 24 October 1945, and the UN began operation. The UN’s mission to preserve world peace was complicated in its early decades by the Cold War between the US and Soviet Union and their respective allies. The organization participated in major actions in Korea and the Congo, as well as approving the creation of the state of Israel in 1947. The organization’s membership grew significantly following widespread decolonization in the 1960s, and by the 1970s its budget for economic and social development programmes far outstripped its spending on peacekeeping. After the end of the Cold War, the UN took on major military and peacekeeping missions across the world with varying degrees of success.

The UN has six principal organs: the General Assembly (the main deliberative assembly); the Security Council (for deciding certain resolutions for peace and security); the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) (for promoting international economic and social co-operation and development); the Secretariat (for providing studies, information, and facilities needed by the UN); the International Court of Justice (the primary judicial organ); and the United Nations Trusteeship Council (inactive since 1994). UN System agencies include the World Bank Group, the World Health Organization, the World Food Programme, UNESCO, and UNICEF. The UN’s most prominent officer is the Secretary-General, an office held by South Korean Ban Ki-moon since 2007. Non-governmental organizations may be granted consultative status with ECOSOC and other agencies to participate in the UN’s work.

The organization won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2001, and a number of its officers and agencies have also been awarded the prize. Other evaluations of the UN’s effectiveness have been mixed. Some commentators believe the organization to be an important force for peace and human development, while others have called the organization ineffective, corrupt, or biased.

Source: Wikipedia

Visit the homepage of the United Nations

 

European Union

The European Union (EU) is a politico-economic union of 28 member states that are located primarily in Europe. It covers an area of 4,324,782 km2, with an estimated population of over 508 million. The EU operates through a system of supranational institutions and intergovernmental-negotiated decisions by the member states. The institutions are: the European Parliament, the European Council, the Council of the European Union, the European Commission, the Court of Justice of the European Union, the European Central Bank, and the Court of Auditors. The European Parliament is elected every five years by EU citizens.

The EU has developed a single market through a standardised system of laws that apply in all member states. Within the Schengen Area, passport controls have been abolished. EU policies aim to ensure the free movement of people, goods, services, and capital, enact legislation in justice and home affairs, and maintain common policies on trade,  agriculture,  fisheries, and regional development.  The monetary union was established in 1999 and came into full force in 2002. It is currently composed of 19 member states that use the euro as their legal tender.

The EU traces its origins from the European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC) and the European Economic Community (EEC), formed by the Inner Six countries in 1951 and 1958, respectively. In the intervening years, the community and its successors have grown in size by the accession of new member states and in power by the addition of policy areas to its remit. The Maastricht Treaty established the European Union under its current name in 1993 and introduced European citizenship. The latest major amendment to the constitutional basis of the EU, the Treaty of Lisbon, came into force in 2009.

Covering 7.3% of the world population, the EU in 2014 generated a nominal gross domestic product (GDP) of 18.495 trillion US dollars, constituting approximately 24% of global nominal GDP and 17% when measured in terms of purchasing power parity. Additionally, 26 out of 28 EU countries have a very high Human Development Index, according to the UNDP. In 2012, the EU was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. Through the Common Foreign and Security Policy, the EU has developed a role in external relations and defence. The union maintains permanent diplomatic missions throughout the world and represents itself at the United Nations, the WTO, the G8, and the G-20. Because of its global influence, the European Union has been described as a current or as a potential superpower.

Source: Wikipedia

Visit the homepage of the European Union

 

ASEAN

The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) is a political and economic organisation of ten Southeast Asian countries. It was formed on 8 August 1967 by Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, and Thailand. Since then, membership has expanded to include Brunei, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar (Burma), and Vietnam. Its aims include accelerating economic growth, social progress, and sociocultural evolution among its members, protection of regional peace and stability, and opportunities for member countries to resolve differences peacefully.

Source: Wikipedia

Visit the homepage of ASEAN

 

APEC

Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) is a forum for 21 Pacific Rim member economies that promotes free trade throughout the Asia-Pacific region. It was established in 1989 in response to the growing interdependence of Asia-Pacific economies and the advent of regional trade blocs in other parts of the world; to fears that highly industrialised Japan (a member of G8) would come to dominate economic activity in the Asia-Pacific region; and to establish new markets for agricultural products and raw materials beyond Europe.

Source: Wikipedia

Visit the homepage of APEC

 

African Union

The African Union (AU) is a continental union consisting of 54 countries in Africa. The only African state that is not a member is Morocco, although Burkina Faso and the Central African Republic have had their memberships suspended due to the recent coup d’état and ongoing civil war respectively. The AU was established on 26 May 2001 in Addis Ababa and launched on 9 July 2002 in South Africa, with the aim of replacing the Organisation of African Unity (OAU). The most important decisions of the AU are made by the Assembly of the African Union, a semi-annual meeting of the heads of state and government of its member states. The AU’s secretariat, the African Union Commission, is based in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

Source: Wikipedia

Visit the homepage of the African Union

 

Arab League

The Arab League, formally, the League of Arab States, is a regional organization of Arab countries in and around North Africa, the Horn of Africa and Arabia. It was formed in Cairo on 22 March 1945 with six members: Kingdom of Egypt, Kingdom of Iraq, Transjordan (renamed Jordan in 1949), Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, and Syria. Yemen joined as a member on 5 May 1945. Currently, the League has 22 members, although Syria’s participation has been suspended since November 2011, as a consequence of government repression during the ongoing uprising and civil war.

The League’s main goal is to “draw closer the relations between member States and co-ordinate collaboration between them, to safeguard their independence and sovereignty, and to consider in a general way the affairs and interests of the Arab countries”.

Through institutions such as the Arab League Educational, Cultural and Scientific Organization (ALECSO) and the Economic and Social Council of the Arab League’s Council of Arab Economic Unity (CAEU), the Arab League facilitates political, economic, cultural, scientific, and social programmes designed to promote the interests of the Arab world.

Source: Wikipedia

Visit an English-language website about the Arab League