The Times Guide to World Organisations: Their Role & Reach in the New World Order

The Times Guide to World Organisations: Their Role & Reach in the New World Order

The Times Guide to World Organisations: Their Role & Reach in the New World Order

The Times Guide to World Organisations: Their Role & Reach in the New World Order


EU, WTO, NATO, OSCE, UNPROFOR- the post–Cold War world is drowning in an alphabet soup of international organizations that proliferate in every sphere, achieving ever-higher profiles and spending ever-larger sums of money. The Times Guide to World Organisations lists every major world organization, detailing its leading staff, budget and resources, and current involvement in world issues. Breaking new ground in analyzing the significance, structure, and history of international organizations, this volume will become the indispensable guide to making sense of the New World Order.



It is a paradox of our time that just as the frontiers of the state are being rolled back at national level, the demands we make on international organisations to tackle world problems are on the increase. Everywhere government is being re-invented and the functions of national and local administration devolved to agencies or even privatised. Yet globally, from Bosnia and Rwanda to the protection of the environment, we look to the vast United Nations bureaucracy and a proliferating number of international aid agencies to solve painful and complex issues. When they fail, we blame not the people and leaderships who created the problems -- whether famine, ethnic conflict or pollution -- but the un bodies and non-governmental organisations (NGOs) seeking to help them. It is almost as if a late 20th-century law is at work: the greater the number of organisations devised to bring order to an unruly world, the more unruly and disordered the world becomes.

The notion that international organisations can bring order to the world stems from the foundation of the League of Nations at the end of the First World War, above all from the conviction of us president Woodrow Wilson that future conflict could be avoided if nations could be persuaded to band together to defend the principles of independence and self-determination. in the event, the League was undermined by the refusal of the United States to join it and, later, by the the great power rivalries and extremist political ideologies of the 1930s. With the outbreak of the Second World, however, the ideal of a world organisation to safeguard peace was given further impetus, culminating in 1945 with the founding of the United Nations. If it is arguable that it was the signing of the Atlantic Charter by Roosevelt and Churchill in 1941 which was the first step on the road which lead to the United Nations, it is beyond question that the drive toward a form of world governance was firmly under way before the end of the war. the Bretton Woods Conference, for example, which gave rise to the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF), took place in 1944, as did, more significantly still, the Dumbarton Oaks Conference, at which the Allies laid the foundations of the un. Similarly, the founding conference of the un itself was held while the war against Japan was still being fought. It was at this momentous conference in June 1945 that the lofty principles of the un were first, ringingly, announced: "To save succeeding generations from the scourge of war, which twice in our lifetime has brought untold sorrow to mankind; and to reaffirm faith in fundamental human rights, the dignity of the human person, the equal rights of men and women and of nations large and small".

It is striking that the majority of the organisations described in this book were formed to help reconstruct a devastated Europe after the war against Nazi Germany. Equally striking, however, is the fact that as Europe revived the work of the agencies did not fade . . .

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