The Legitimacy of International Organizations

The Legitimacy of International Organizations

The Legitimacy of International Organizations

The Legitimacy of International Organizations

Synopsis

Over the past 50 years, a number of developments in international relations have radically altered the environment in which international organisations operate, particularly the United Nations. These trends include the end of the Cold War, globalisation, the multiplicity of non-governmental organisations, the growing awareness of environmental issues, the emergence of new technologies such as the internet and biotechnology. This book presents the results of a two-year interdisciplinary research project and contains a range of papers that discuss the changing role of international organisations and the challenges they face.

Excerpt

Most of the intergovernmental organizations that are important today were created some fifty years ago in the aftermath of the Second World War. These include: the United Nations organization; the Bretton Woods organizations (the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank); the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT), which subsequently evolved into the World Trade Organization (WTO); and the many agencies of the United Nations family. The establishment of these organizations was the outcome of a particular political-historical bargaining process, reflecting the balance of political power as well as the political, social, and economic interests and concerns that prevailed at the time. But the purposes and functions of these organizations also embody a certain socio-philosophical and political-philosophical understanding of their legitimate role in the international system.

Over the past fifty years, fundamental changes have taken place in the operating environment of these international organizations (IOs). These changes, many of which have, of late, been lumped together under the term “globalization,” include: decolonization; growing awareness of the global nature of many social, environmental, and public health problems; multiplication of non-governmental organizations; globalization of mass media and the economy; the end of the Cold War; rapid developments in the field of biotechnology; and the emergence of the Internet. As a result of these changes, many international organizations, in particular the United Nations, have been struggling to maintain or re-establish . . .

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