Back To CourseHistory 113: World History II
25 chapters | 230 lessons
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Chris has a master's degree in history and teaches at the University of Northern Colorado.
Let's say that the entire world is a city. There are many parts to the city, from firefighters to postal workers to teachers. There are apartments and stores and schools. Each part of the city has its own needs and its own problems, but it's still connected to other parts. Now, each part of the city could handle their own problems; the schools could handle their own mail, and the stores could dispose of their own trash, but it's much more efficient for the city to address these concerns.
This is sort of what the world is like right now. We are becoming more and more of a global community, and people are realizing that sometimes it's better to work together than try and handle everything on your own. In order to deal with the concerns of a global world, from human rights to international trade, organizations have emerged that are focused on the world, not just one part of it.
The most basic form of international regulation is through intergovernmental organizations, or organizations comprising several different governments, working together in international cooperation. In other words, they are not subject to the laws or policies of one single nation. There is no king or emperor or president who controls them; they are purely international, which is a pretty cool idea. If the world was a school and each department was a nation, then intergovernmental organizations would be like the administration. They are not specifically connected to one discipline but try to ensure that resources and conflicts between the departments are handled fairly.
One of the most well-known intergovernmental organizations is the United Nations, or the UN. The UN was founded in 1945 after the end of World War II to prevent such a violent international conflict from ever occurring again. The strength of the UN comes from the number of nations who participate in it. When it was first founded, there were 51 members, today there are 193. By uniting nations in a common goal of peace, the UN is able to put significant economic, political, and social pressure on non-compliant nations.
In the last few decades, the UN has substantially grown in size and power, and it is now the leading intergovernmental organization in the world. It has six branches, each tasked with a different aspect of international administration. These oversee international security, peace efforts, economic cooperation, human rights, and environmental issues. The UN also houses dozens of specific agencies focused on specific concerns, such as global heritage, famine relief, and medicine.
Although the UN is perhaps the largest intergovernmental organization, there are several others, up to 5,000 of varying degrees in size and scope. Most of them are more targeted towards specific issues than the UN. Some are concerned with the environment, others with arms control, sustainable energy production, international trade, law enforcement or cultural management. These organizations can have significant impacts on the world.
The World Bank Group, for example, attempts to reduce poverty by offering loans to help poor countries develop education, health, agriculture, and modern industries. In 2012 alone, they provided nearly $30 billion in loans and assistance to nations in need. The World Trade Organization regulates international trade to encourage open markets that are accessible to more nations. The North Atlantic Treaty Organization, or NATO, combines national defense systems to tighten international security.
There are many international organizations who are, frankly, trying to save the world. Many of them are not composed of cooperating nations but are instead private groups with an international focus. These are called non-governmental organizations or NGOs. International NGOs are primarily focused on advocacy, meaning that their goals are to influence policies or laws of certain countries. This can be achieved through campaigning, raising awareness, developing local support for a cause, fund-raising or presenting data to lawmakers.
One example of an international NGO is Amnesty International, which aims to promote human rights across the globe. This organization uses advocacy to fight violence anywhere that human rights are being abused.
Doctors Without Borders is another international NGO that raises money to send doctors to areas without adequate health systems for a short while. In 2007, for example, they were able to send 26,000 medical professionals into 60 different countries to provide care.
Greenpeace is another well-known international NGO that is focused on protecting the environment. Greenpeace relies entirely on individual donations and does not accept funds from governments or major corporations to ensure that the organization will never feel biased.
Our world is developing into more and more of a global community, and this has inspired several groups to look for global solutions.
Intergovernmental organizations bring different governments together for a common goal. These organizations are not ruled or directed by any single country, so they can represent the best interests of humanity. The most notable example is the United Nations, an organization of 193 nations designed to maintain peace and international cooperation. The UN is large enough that it can place economic, social, and political pressure on governments abusing human rights, the environment, justice or trade.
Non-governmental Organizations, or NGOs, have similar goals but are privately controlled with an international focus. International NGOs rely mostly on individual donations and often rely on tactics like advocacy, or supporting a cause through awareness, research and testifying before lawmakers. They also can use more direct action, like Doctors Without Borders, who use their fund to send health care professionals into areas without adequate medical systems. Across the world, international organizations help direct the global trade market, environment issues, human rights, and cultural heritage. Are they trying to save the world? Well, yeah.
After watching this lesson, you should be able to compare intergovernmental organizations with non-governmental organizations in terms of the goals they have for addressing global concerns.
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Back To CourseHistory 113: World History II
25 chapters | 230 lessons