What is the World Trade Organization?
Simply put: the World Trade Organization (WTO) deals with the rules of trade between nations at a global or near-global level. But there is more to it than that.
There are a number of ways of looking at the WTO. It’s an organization for liberalizing trade. It’s a forum for governments to negotiate trade agreements. It’s a place for them to settle trade disputes. It operates a system of trade rules. (But it’s not Superman, just in case anyone thought it could solve — or cause — all the world’s problems!)
From 1948 to 1994, the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) provided the rules for much of world trade and presided over periods that saw some of the highest growth rates in international commerce. It seemed well-established, but throughout those 47 years, it was a provisional agreement and organization.
Meanwhile, 15 countries had begun talks in December 1945 to reduce and bind customs tariffs. With the Second World War only recently ended, they wanted to give an early boost to trade liberalization, and to begin to correct the legacy of protectionist measures which remained in place from the early 1930s.
This first round of negotiations resulted in a package of trade rules and 45,000 tariff concessions affecting $10 billion of trade, about one fifth of the world’s total. The group had expanded to 23 by the time the deal was signed on 30 October 1947. The tariff concessions came into effect by 30 June 1948 through a “Protocol of Provisional Application”. And so the new General
Agreement on Tariffs and Trade was born, with 23 founding members (officially “contracting parties”).
Miscellaneous income is earned from rental fees and sales of WTO print and electronic publications. The WTO also manages a number of trust funds, which have been contributed by Members. These are used in support of special activities for technical cooperation and training meant to enable least-developed and developing countries to make better use of the WTO and draw greater benefit from the multilateral trading system. The WTO’s total budget for the year 2009 is as follows:
Where countries have faced trade barriers and wanted them lowered, the negotiations have helped to liberalize trade. But the WTO is not just about liberalizing trade, and in some circumstances its rules support maintaining trade barriers — for example to protect consumers or prevent the spread of disease.
About the IMF
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) is an organization of 186 countries, working to foster global monetary cooperation, secure financial stability, facilitate international trade, promote high employment and sustainable economic growth, and reduce poverty around the world.
The IMF works to foster global growth and economic stability. It provides policy advice and financing to members in economic difficulties and also works with developing nations to help them achieve macroeconomic stability and reduce poverty.
The IMF currently has a near-global membership of 186 countries. To become a member, a country must apply and then be accepted by a majority of the existing members. In June 2009, the former Yugoslav republic of Kosovo joined the IMF, becoming the institution’s 186th member.
Upon joining, each member of the IMF is assigned a quota, based broadly on its relative size in the world economy. The IMF’s membership agreed in May 2008 on a rebalancing of its quota system to reflect the changing global economic realities, especially the increased weight of major emerging markets in the global economy. For more on the quota and voice reform, please go to the section on Country Representation in the Governance section).
The IMF’s main goal is to ensure the stability of the international monetary and financial system. It helps resolve crises, and works with its member countries to promote growth and alleviate poverty. It has three main tools at its disposal to carry out its mandate: surveillance, technical assistance and training, and lending. These functions are underpinned by the IMF’s research and statistics.
The primary mission of the IMF is to provide financial assistance to countries that experience serious financial and economic difficulties using funds deposited with the IMF from the institution’s 186 member countries. Member states with balance of payments problems, which often arise from these difficulties, may request loans to help fill gaps between what countries earn and/or are able to borrow from other official lenders and what countries must spend to operate, including covering the cost of importing basic goods and services. In return, countries are usually required to launch certain reforms, which have often been dubbed the “Washington Consensus”. These reforms are thought to be beneficial to countries with fixed exchange rate policies that may engage in fiscal, monetary, and political practices which may lead to the crisis itself. For example, nations with severe budget deficits, rampant inflation, strict price controls, or significantly over-valued or under-valued currencies run the risk of facing balance of payment crises. Thus, the structural adjustment programs are at least ostensibly intended to ensure that the IMF is actually helping to prevent financial crises rather than merely funding financial recklessnes.
Since 1988, Arts for the Aging, Inc., (AFTA) has been providing artistic outreach services to psychologically and physically impaired seniors in senior day care centers and not-for-profit nursing homes in the metropolitan Washington, DC area. AFTA’s mission is to work closely with these senior day care centers and foster participation of seniors in creative and stimulating art activities, allowing them to enjoy an enhanced and healthy aging process as well as feel a deep sense of accomplishment and enjoyment. Although AFTA programs serve seniors with a broad range of age related impairments, emphasis is on those suffering from age related dementia, including Alzheimer’s. Seventy to eighty percent of senior day care center participants have a mild to moderate form of dementia.
AFTA has realized that the elderly are not a homogeneous group. Unfortunately, a large segment of this population is disadvantaged by poverty, ill health and social isolation. AFTA provides 85 programs monthly in more than 50 senior centers in the metropolitan Washington DC area and is proud that the seniors served are reflective of the diversity of Washington. AFTA does not charge for its programs.
Objective of AFTA
AFTA’s art programs include dance, drawing, drumming, music, painting, poetry, sculpture, cultural outings, art lectures and intergenerational programming. Some of the benefits that AFTA has observed from the programs include: working with clay sustains hand joint mobility, which in turn facilitates the participant’s ability to feed and dress themselves; body and dance movement foster balance and help prevent falls; musical activities have the capacity to stimulate as well as calm and to reawaken personal and historical memories related to the era when it was popular, allowing our elderly to actively reminisce in a healthy fashion; the visual arts increase cognitive abilities and hand eye coordination; and including children in the programs increased self-esteem and communication between results in generations. Medical researchers agree on the beneficial relationship between artistic activity and an older person’s well being.
Success of AFTA
The success of AFTA’s workshops is measured by the response of the participants not by the quality of the artwork. AFTA’s intention is not to create artists but instead enhance the quality of life of the participating seniors. Anecdotal observations from program directors and AFTA staff during and after AFTA classes include improvements in alertness, verbalization and socialization skills, lessening of anxiety, passivity and agitation and occasional stimulation of short-term memory. Many center staff members have indicated that these benefits often continue for hours or even days after the art classes had taken place.
What is Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation?
Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation, or APEC, is the premier forum for facilitating economic growth, cooperation, trade and investment in the Asia-Pacific region.
APEC is the only inter governmental grouping in the world operating on the basis of non-binding commitments, open dialogue and equal respect for the views of all participants. Unlike the WTO or other multilateral trade bodies, APEC has no treaty obligations required of its participants. Decisions made within APEC are reached by consensus and commitments are undertaken on a voluntary basis.
APEC has 21 members – referred to as “Member Economies” – which account for approximately 40.5%1 of the world’s population, approximately 54.2%1 of world GDP and about 43.7%2 of world trade.
APEC’s 21 Member Economies are Australia; Brunei Darussalam; Canada; Chile; People’s Republic of China; Hong Kong, China; Indonesia; Japan; Republic of Korea; Malaysia; Mexico; New Zealand; Papua New Guinea; Peru; The Republic of the Philippines; The Russian Federation; Singapore; Chinese Taipei; Thailand; United States of America; Viet Nam.
Purpose and Goals
APEC was established in 1989 to further enhance economic growth and prosperity for the region and to strengthen the Asia-Pacific community.
Since its inception, APEC has worked to reduce tariffs and other trade barriers across the Asia-Pacific region, creating efficient domestic economies and dramatically increasing exports. Key to achieving APEC’s vision are what are referred to as the ‘Bogor Goals’ of free and open trade and
Free and open trade and investment helps economies to grow, creates jobs and provides greater opportunities for international trade and investment. In contrast, protectionism keeps prices high and fosters inefficiencies in certain industries. Free and open trade helps to lower the costs of production and thus reduces the prices of goods and services – a direct benefit to all.
APEC also works to create an environment for the safe and efficient movement of goods, services and people across borders in the region through policy alignment and economic and technical cooperation.
Headquarters – General inquiries
International Fund for Agricultural Development
Via Paolo di Dono, 44
00142 Rome, Italy
Fax +39-065043463 – E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
IFAD’s mission is to enable poor rural people to overcome poverty.
The International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), a specialized agency of the United Nations, was established as an international financial institution in 1977 as one of the major outcomes of the 1974 World Food Conference. The Conference was organized in response to the food crises of the early 1970s that primarily affected the Sahelian countries of Africa. The conference resolved that “an International Fund for Agricultural Development should be established immediately to finance agricultural development projects primarily for food production in the developing countries”. One of the most important insights emerging from the conference was that the causes of food insecurity and famine were not so much failures in food production, but structural problems relating to poverty and to the fact that the majority of the developing world’s poor populations were concentrated in rural areas.
IFAD is dedicated to eradicating rural poverty in developing countries. Seventy-five per cent of the world’s poorest people – 1.05 billion women, children and men – live in rural areas and depend on agriculture and related activities for their livelihoods.
Working with rural poor people, governments, donors, non-governmental organizations and many other partners, IFAD focuses on country-specific solutions, which can involve increasing rural poor peoples’ access to financial services, markets, technology, land and other natural resources.
IFAD’s Strategic Framework for 2007-2010
IFAD’s goal is to empower poor rural women and men in developing countries to achieve higher incomes and improved food security.
IFAD will ensure that poor rural people have better access to, and the skills and organization they need to take advantage of:
Natural resources, especially secure access to land and water, and improved natural resource management and conservation practices
Improved agricultural technologies and effective production services
A broad range of financial services
Transparent and competitive markets for agricultural inputs and produce
Opportunities for rural off-farm employment and enterprise development
Local and national policy and programming processes
All of IFAD’s decisions – on regional, country and thematic strategies, poverty reduction strategies, policy dialogue and development partners – are made with these principles and objectives in mind. As reflected in the strategic framework, IFAD is committed to achieving the Millennium Development Goals, in particular the target to halve the proportion of hungry and extremely poor people by 2015.
Membership in IFAD is open to any state that is a member of the United Nations or its specialized agencies or the International Atomic Energy Agency. The Governing Council is IFAD’s highest decision-making authority, with 165 Member States represented by a Governor and Alternate Governor and any other designated advisers. The Council meets annually. The Executive Board, responsible for overseeing the general operations of IFAD and approving loans and grants, is composed of 18 members and 18 alternate members. The President, who serves for a four-year term (renewable once), is IFAD’s chief executive officer and chair of the Executive Board.
The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC)
1st OPEC Conference, Baghdad, September 10–14, 1960, OPEC Board of Governors, Geneva, September 3, 1962, 7th OPEC Conference, Jakarta, November 23–28, 1964
73rd (Extraordinary) OPEC Conference, Geneva, January 28–30, 1985, OPEC Press Conference, Vienna, December 14, 1987, 107th OPEC Conference, Vienna, March 23, 1999
Venezuela was the first country to move towards the establishment of OPEC in the 1960s by approaching Iran, Iraq, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia in 1949, suggesting that they exchange views and explore avenues for regular and closer communication among petroleum-producing nations. In 10-14 September 1960, at the initiative of the Venezuelan Energy and Mines minister Juan Pablo Pérez Alfonzo and the Saudi Arabian Energy and Mines minister Abdullah al-Tariki, the governments of Iraq, Iran, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and Venezuela met in Baghdad to discuss ways to increase the price of the crude oil produced by their respective countries. OPEC was founded in Baghdad, triggered by a 1960 law instituted by American President Dwight Eisenhower that forced quotas on Venezuelan and Persian Gulf oil imports in favor of the Canadian and Mexican oil industries. Eisenhower cited national security, land access to energy supplies, at times of war. When this led to falling prices for oil in these regions, Venezuela’s president Romulo Betancourt reacted by seeking an alliance with oil producing Arab nations as a preemptive strategy to maintain the continued autonomy and profitability of Venezuela’s oil resources.
The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) is a permanent, intergovernmental Organization, created at the Baghdad Conference on September 10–14, 1960, by Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and Venezuela. The five Founding Members were later joined by nine other Members: Qatar (1961); Indonesia (1962) – suspended its membership from January 2009; Socialist People’s Libyan Arab Jamahiriya (1962); United Arab Emirates (1967); Algeria (1969); Nigeria (1971); Ecuador (1973) – suspended its membership from December 1992-October 2007; Angola (2007) and Gabon (1975–1994). OPEC had its headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland, in the first five years of its existence. This was moved to Vienna, Austria, on September 1, 1965.
OPEC’s objective is to co-ordinate and unify petroleum policies among Member Countries, in order to secure fair and stable prices for petroleum producers; an efficient, economic and regular supply of petroleum to consuming nations; and a fair return on capital to those investing in the industry.
The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) was created in 1960 to unify and protect the interests of oil-producing countries. OPEC allows oil-producing countries to guarantee their income by coordinating policies and prices among them. This unified front was created primarily in response to the efforts of Western oil companies to drive oil prices down. The original members of OPEC included Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, and Venezuela. OPEC has since expanded to include seven more countries (Algeria, Angola, Indonesia, Libya, Nigeria, Qatar, and United Arab Emerates) making a total membership of 12.
OPEC Functions Include:
Organizing Conferences, Ceremonies and
Press and Media Relations
A national law introducing more restrictive speed limits was instituted, as well as a year-round Daylight Savings Time. The OPEC oil embargo also drove auto manufacturers to produce smaller and more fuel-efficient vehicles. Even after the embargo ended, oil prices continued to rise, and the United States economy continued to suffer.
The United Nations Children’s Fund (or unicef; pronounced was created by the United Nations General Assembly on December 11, 1946, to provide emergency food and healthcare to children in countries that had been devastated by World War II. In 1953, UNICEF became a permanent part of the United Nations System and its name was shortened from the original United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund but it has continued to be known by the popular acronym based on this old name. Headquartered in New York City, UNICEF provides long-term humanitarian and developmental assistance to children and mothers in developing countries.
UNICEF relies on contributions from governments and private donors and UNICEF’s total income for 2006 was $2,781,000,000. Governments contribute two thirds of the organization’s resources; private groups and some 6 million individuals contribute the rest through the National Committees. UNICEF’s programs emphasize developing community-level services to promote the health and well-being of children. UNICEF was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1965 and the Prince of Asturias Award of Concord in 2006.
Structure of the organization and staff
The heart of UNICEF’s work is in the field, with staff in over 190 countries and territories. More than 200 country offices carry out UNICEF’s mission through a unique program of cooperation developed with host governments. Seven regional offices guide their work and provide technical assistance to country offices as needed.
Overall management and administration of the organization takes place at its headquarters in New York. UNICEF’s Supply Division is based in Copenhagen and serves as the primary point of distribution for such essential items as lifesaving vaccines, antiretroviral medicines for children and mothers with HIV, nutritional supplements, emergency shelters, educational supplies, and more. Guiding and monitoring all of UNICEF’s work is a 36-member Executive Board which establishes policies, approves programs and oversees administrative and financial plans. The Executive Board is made up of government representatives who are elected by the United Nations Economic and Social Council, usually for three-year terms.
Recently, UNICEF has begun partnerships with world-class athletes and teams to promote the organization’s work and to raise funds. Lionel Messi wearing the shirt with the Unicef logo on it.
On 7 September 2006, an agreement between UNICEF and the Catalan association football club FC Barcelona was reached whereby the club would donate 5,000,000 euros per year to the organization for five years. As part of the agreement, FC Barcelona will wear the UNICEF logo on the front of their shirts, which will be the first time a football club sponsored an organization rather than the other way around. It is also the first time in FC Barcelona’s history that they have had another organization’s name across the front of their shirts.
|Formation||27 December 1944|
|President||Robert B. Zoellick|
|Main organ||Board of Directors|
|Parent organization||World Bank Group|
The World Bank is an international financial institution that provides leveraged loans to developing countries for capital programs. The World Bank has a stated goal of reducing poverty.
The World Bank differs from the World Bank Group, in that the World Bank comprises only two institutions: International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD) and International Development Association (IDA). Whereas the latter incorporates these two in addition to three more: International Finance Corporation (IFC), Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA), and International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID).
The World Bank is one of two institutions created at the Bretton Woods Conference in 1944. The International Monetary Fund, a related institution is the second. Delegates from many countries attended the Bretton Woods Conference. The most powerful countries in attendance were the United States and United Kingdom which dominated negotiations.
The World Bank’s current focus is on the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), lending primarily to “middle-income countries” at interest rates which reflect a small mark-up over its own (AAA-rated) borrowings from capital markets; while the IDA provides low or no interest loans and grants to low income countries with little or no access to international credit markets. The IBRD is a market-based nonprofit organization, using its high credit rating to make up for the relatively low interest rate on its loans, while the IDA is funded primarily by periodic “replenishments” (grants) voted to the institution by its more affluent member countries. The Bank’s mission is to aid developing countries and their inhabitants to achieve development and the reduction of poverty, including achievement of the MDGs, by helping countries develop an environment for investment, jobs and sustainable growth, thus promoting economic growth through investment and enabling the poor to share the fruits of economic growth.
The World Bank sees the five key factors necessary for economic growth and the creation of an enabling business environment as:
1. Build capacity: Strengthening governments and educating government officials.
2. Infrastructure creation: implementation of legal and judicial systems for the encouragement of business, the protection of individual and property rights and the honoring of contracts.
The World Bank is active in the following areas:
- Agriculture and Rural Development
- Conflict and Development
- Development Operations and Activities
- Economic Policy
- Financial Sector
- Health, Nutrition and Population
The International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD) has 186 member countries, while the International Development Association (IDA) has 168 members. Each member state of IBRD should be also a member of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and only members of IBRD are allowed to join other institutions within the Bank (such as IDA).
The World Bank has long been criticized by non-governmental organizations and academics, including its former Chief Economist Joseph Stiglitz who is equally critical of the International Monetary Fund, the US Treasury Department, US and other developed country trade negotiators and indigenous rights groups, such as Survival International. Critics argue that the so-called free market reform policies which the Bank advocates are often harmful to economic development if implemented badly, too quickly (“shock therapy”), in the wrong sequence or in weak, uncompetitive economies.
|Membership||7 member countries: Bangladesh, India, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Bhutan and Nepal.|
|-||Chairmanship||India (since 2006)|
|Establishment||June 6, 1997|
Bay of Bengal Initiative for MultiSectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC) is an international organisation involving a group of countries in South Asia and South East Asia. The member countries of this group are: Bangladesh, India, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Bhutan and Nepal.
On 6 June 1997, a new sub-regional grouping was formed in Bangkok and given the name BIST-EC (Bangladesh, India, Sri Lanka, and Thailand Economic Cooperation). Myanmar attended the inaugural June Meeting as an observer and joined the organization as a full member at a Special Ministerial Meeting held in Bangkok on 22 December 1997, upon which the name of the grouping was changed to BIMST-EC. Nepal was granted observer status by the second Ministerial Meeting in Dhaka in December 1998. Subsequently, full membership has been granted to Nepal and Bhutan in 2004. In the first Summit on 31 July 2004, leaders of the group agreed that the name of the grouping should be known as BIMSTEC or the Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation.
Eligibility: Countries seeking membership should satisfy the conditions of territorial contiguity to, or direct opening into, or primary dependence on the Bay of Bengal for trade and transportation purposes.
Procedure: All applications should be submitted in writing to the Chairman of BIMSTEC. The decision on admitting new members will be taken on the basis of consensus by all the BIMSTEC members. Institutional Structure and Arrangements The BIST-EC Declaration provides for the following institutional mechanisms.
South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation
Members • Observers
|Membership||8 member states|
|-||Secretary General||Sheel Kant Sharma|
|December 8, 1985|
The South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) is an economic and political organization of eight countries in Southern Asia. In terms of population, its sphere of influence is the largest of any regional organization: almost 1.5 billion people, the combined population of its member states. It was established on December 8, 1985 by Bangladesh, Bhutan, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan, India and Sri Lanka. In April 2007, at the Association’s 14th summit, Afghanistan became its eighth member.
SAARC has intentionally laid more stress on “core issues” mentioned above rather than more decisive political issues like the Kashmir dispute and the Sri Lankan civil war. However, political dialogue is often conducted on the margins of SAARC meetings. SAARC has also refrained itself from interfering in the internal matters of its member states. During the 12th and 13th SAARC summits, extreme emphasis was laid upon greater cooperation between the SAARC members to fight terrorism.
Vision, Mission, Goal:
• Sri Lanka
• European Union
• Myanmar (Burma)
• South Korea
• United States
The People’s Republic of China has shown its interest in joining SAARC. While Pakistan and Bangladesh support China’s candidature, India is more reluctant about the prospect of Chinese membership, while Bhutan does not even have diplomatic relations with China. However, during the 2005 Dhaka summit, India agreed on granting observer status to the PRC along with Japan. During the 14th summit, Nepal along with Pakistan and Bangladesh, announced their support for the membership of China. China seeks greater involvement in SAARC, however, finds it too early to apply for full membership.
The Association of Southeast Asian Nations, commonly abbreviated ASEAN (generally pronounced AH-see-ahn, occasionally AH-zee-ahn in English, the official language of the bloc), is a geo-political and economic organisation of 10 countries located in Southeast Asia, which was formed on 8 August 1967 by Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore and Thailand. Since then, membership has expanded to include Brunei, Burma (Myanmar), Cambodia, Laos, and Vietnam. Its aims include the acceleration of economic growth, social progress, cultural development among its members, the protection of the peace and stability of the region, and to provide opportunities for member countries to discuss differences peacefully.
ASEAN was preceded by an organization called the Association of Southeast Asia, commonly called ASA, an alliance consisting of the Philippines, Malaysia and Thailand that was formed in 1961. The bloc itself, however, was established on 8 August 1967, when foreign ministers of five countries– Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, and Thailand– met at the Thai Department of Foreign Affairs building in Bangkok and signed the ASEAN Declaration, more commonly known as the Bangkok Declaration. The five foreign ministers– Adam Malik of Indonesia, Narciso Ramos of the Philippines, Abdul Razak of Malaysia, S. Rajaratnam of Singapore, and Thanat Khoman of Thailand– are considered as the organisation’s Founding Fathers.
The ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) is a formal, official, multilateral dialogue in Asia Pacific region. As of July 2007, it is consisted of 27 participants. ARF objectives are to foster dialogue and consultation, and promote confidence-building and preventive diplomacy in the region. The ARF met for the first time in 1994. The current participants in the ARF are as follows: all the ASEAN members, Australia, Bangladesh, Canada, the People’s Republic of China, the European Union, India, Japan, North Korea, South Korea, Mongolia, New Zealand, Pakistan, Papua New Guinea, Russia, Timor-Leste, United States and Sri Lanka. The Republic of China (also known as Taiwan) has been excluded since the establishment of the ARF, and issues regarding the Taiwan Strait is neither discussed at the ARF meetings nor stated in the ARF Chairman’s Statements.
Free Trade Area
The foundation of the AEC is the ASEAN Free Trade Area (AFTA), a common external preferential tariff scheme to promote the free flow of goods within ASEAN. The ASEAN Free Trade Area (AFTA) is an agreement by the member nations of ASEAN concerning local manufacturing in all ASEAN countries. The AFTA agreement was signed on 28 January 1992 in Singapore. When the AFTA agreement was originally signed, ASEAN had six members, namely, Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore and Thailand. Vietnam joined in 1995, Laos and Myanmar in 1997, and Cambodia in 1999. The latecomers have not fully met the AFTA’s obligations, but they are officially considered part of the AFTA as they were required to sign the agreement upon entry into ASEAN, and were given longer time frames in which to meet AFTA’s tariff reduction obligations.
The ASEAN Football Championship is a biennial Football competition organized by the ASEAN Football Federation, accredited by FIFA and contested by the national teams of Southeast Asia nations. It was inaugurated in 1996 as Tiger Cup, but after Asia Pacific Breweries terminated the sponsorship deal, “Tiger” was renamed “ASEAN”.
Western countries have criticized ASEAN for being too soft in its approach to promoting human rights and democracy in the junta-led Myanmar. Despite global outrage at the military crack-down on peaceful protesters in Yangon, ASEAN has refused to suspend Myanmar as a member and also rejects proposals for economic sanctions. This has caused concern as the European Union, a potential trade partner, has refused to conduct free trade negotiations at a regional level for these political reasons. International observers view it as a “talk shop”, which implies that the organization is “big on words but small on action”.
Commonwealth of Nations
|Headquarters||Marlborough House, London, United Kingdom|
|Membership||54 sovereign states (list)|
|-||Head of the Commonwealth||Queen Elizabeth II (since 6 Feb. 1952)|
|-||Secretary-General||Kamalesh Sharma (since 1 Apr. 2008)|
|-||Chairperson-in-Office||Patrick Manning (since 27 Nov. 2009)|
|-||Several relevant dates including: Balfour Declaration||18 November 1926|
|-||Statute of Westminster||11 December 1931|
|-||London Declaration||28 April 1949|
The Commonwealth of Nations, often referred to as the Commonwealth and previously as the British Commonwealth, is an intergovernmental organisation of fifty-four independent member states, all but two of which were formerly part of the British Empire. The member states co-operate within a framework of common values and goals as outlined in the Singapore Declaration. These include the promotion of democracy, human rights, good governance, the rule of law, individual liberty, egalitarianism, free trade, multilateralism and world peace.
The Commonwealth is not a political union, but an intergovernmental organisation through which countries with diverse social, political and economic backgrounds are regarded as equal in status. Its activities are carried out through the permanent Commonwealth Secretariat, headed by the Secretary-General; biennial Meetings between Commonwealth Heads of Government; and the Commonwealth Foundation, which facilitates activities of non-governmental organizations in the so-called “Commonwealth Family”. The symbol of this free association is the Head of the Commonwealth, which is a ceremonial position currently held by Queen Elizabeth II.
While not all current members were once British colonies, the Commonwealth is generally considered to be the successor to the British Empire. In 1884, while visiting Australia, Lord Rosebery described the changing British Empire, as some of its colonies became more independent, as a “Commonwealth of Nations”.
Conferences of British and colonial Prime Ministers had occurred periodically since 1887, leading to the creation of the Imperial Conferences in 1911. The formal organisation of the Commonwealth developed from the Imperial Conferences, where the independence of the self-governing colonies and especially of dominions was recognised. The Irish Oath of Allegiance, agreed in 1921, included the Irish Free State’s “adherence to and membership of the group of nations forming the British Commonwealth of Nations.”
In the Balfour Declaration at the Imperial Conference in 1926, Britain and its dominions agreed they were “equal in status, in no way subordinate one to another in any aspect of their domestic or external affairs, though united by common allegiance to the Crown, and freely associated as members of the British Commonwealth of Nations.” These aspects to the relationship were eventually formalised by the Statute of Westminster in 1931 (Australia, New Zealand and Newfoundland had to ratify the statute for it to come into effect; which Newfoundland never did and Australia and New Zealand did in 1942 and 1947 respectively).
British overseas territories”, still held by the United Kingdom today, partly owing to the rise of independence movements in the subject territories and partly owing to both the British Government’s straitened circumstances resulting from the cost of the war and a progressive domestic movement to decolonize.
In April 1949, following the London Declaration, the word “British” was dropped from the title of the Commonwealth to reflect its changing nature. Burma (a.k.a. Myanmar, 1948), and Aden (1967) are the only former colonies not to have joined the Commonwealth upon post-war independence. Among the former British protectorates and mandates, those which never became members of the Commonwealth are Egypt (independent in 1922), Iraq (1932), Transjordan (1946), Palestine (most of which became the state of Israel in 1948), Sudan (1956), British Somaliland (which became part of Somalia in 1960, although it has since declared itself independent as Somaliland), Kuwait (1961), Bahrain (1971), Oman (1971), Qatar (1971), and the United Arab Emirates (1971).
dropped in the 1940s) became informally known as the “Old Commonwealth”, and planners in the interwar period, like Lord David Davies, who had also taken “a prominent part in building up the League of Nations Union” in Great Britain, in 1932 founded the New Commonwealth Movement, of which Winston Churchill was the president. The New Commonwealth was a society which aimed at the creation of an international air force to be the arm of the League of Nations, to allow nations to disarm and safeguard the peace. Some of these ideas were reflected in the United Nations Charter, drafted in Dumbarton Oaks (21 August to 7 October 1944) and San Francisco (25 April to 26 June 1945). After the war, particularly since the 1960s when some of the Commonwealth countries disagreed with poorer, African and Asian (or New Commonwealth) members about various issues at Commonwealth Heads of Government meetings. Accusations that the old, “White” Commonwealth had different interests from African Commonwealth nations in particular, and charges of racism and colonialism, arose during heated debates about Rhodesia in the 1960s and 1970s, the imposition of sanctions against apartheid-era South Africa in the 1980s and, more recently, about whether to press for democratic reforms in Nigeria and then Zimbabwe
Objectives and activities
The Commonwealth’s objectives were first outlined in the 1971 Singapore Declaration, which committed the Commonwealth to the institution of world peace; promotion of representative democracy and individual liberty; the pursuit of equality and opposition to racism; the fight against poverty, ignorance, and disease; and free trade. To these were added opposition to discrimination on the basis of gender by the Lusaka Declaration of 1979 (which mostly concerned racism), and environmental sustainability by the Langkawi Declaration of 1989. These objectives were reinforced by the Harare Declaration in 1991.
The Commonwealth’s current highest-priority aims are on the promotion of democracy and development, as outlined in the 2003 Aso Rock Declaration, which built on those in Singapore and Harare and clarified their terms of reference, stating: “We are committed to democracy, good governance, human rights, gender equality, and a more equitable sharing of the benefits of globalisation.” The Commonwealth website lists its areas of work as: Democracy, Economics, Education, Gender, Governance, Human Rights, Law, Small States, Sport, Sustainability, and Youth.
The Commonwealth has long been distinctive as an international forum where highly developed economies (such as the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, Singapore, and New Zealand) and many of the world’s poorer countries seek to reach agreement by consensus. This aim has sometimes been difficult to achieve, as when disagreements over Rhodesia in the late 1960s and 1970s and over apartheid in South Africa in the 1980s led to a cooling of relations between the United Kingdom and African members
Head of the Commonwealth
Queen Elizabeth II, current Head of the Commonwealth
Under the formula of the London Declaration, Queen Elizabeth II is the Head of the Commonwealth, a title that is currently individually shared with that of Commonwealth realms. However, when the monarch dies, the successor to the crown does not automatically become Head of the Commonwealth. The position is symbolic: representing the free association of independent members. Sixteen members of the Commonwealth, known as Commonwealth realms, recognise the Queen as their head of state. The majority of members, thirty-three, are republics, and a further five have monarchs of different royal houses.
The main decision-making forum of the organisation is the biennial Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM), where Commonwealth Heads of Government, including (amongst others) Prime Ministers and Presidents, assemble for several days to discuss matters of mutual interest. CHOGM is the successor to the Meetings of Commonwealth Prime Ministers and earlier Imperial Conferences and Colonial Conferences dating back to 1887. There are also regular meetings of finance ministers, law ministers, health ministers, etc. Members in Arrears, as Special Members before them, are not invited to send representatives to either ministerial meetings or CHOGMs.
Marlborough House, in London, is the headquarters of the Commonwealth Secretariat, which is the main intergovernmental institution of the Commonwealth.
The Commonwealth Secretariat, established in 1965, is the main intergovernmental agency of the Commonwealth, facilitating consultation and cooperation among member governments and countries. It is responsible to member governments collectively. The Commonwealth of Nations is represented in the United Nations General Assembly by the Secretariat, as an observer.
Based in London, the Secretariat organizes Commonwealth summits, meetings of ministers, consultative meetings and technical discussions; it assists policy development and provides policy advice, and facilitates multilateral communication among the member governments. It also provides technical assistance to help governments in the social and economic development of their countries and in support of the Commonwealth’s fundamental political values.
The Commonwealth Foundation is an intergovernmental organisation, resourced by and reporting to Commonwealth governments, and guided by Commonwealth values and priorities. Its mandate is to strengthen civil society in the achievement of Commonwealth priorities: democracy and good governance, respect for human rights and gender equality, poverty eradication and sustainable, people-centred and sustainable development, and to promote arts and culture
Mostly due to their history of British rule, many Commonwealth nations possess certain identifiable traditions and customs that are elements of a shared Commonwealth culture. Examples include common sports such as cricket and rugby, driving on the left, the Westminster system of parliamentary democracy, common law, widespread use of the English language, designation of English as an official language, military and naval ranks, and the use of British rather than American spelling conventions (see English in the Commonwealth of Nations). None of these is universal amongst, nor exclusive to, the Commonwealth, but are more commonly found within its members than elsewhere.
Main article: List of members of the Commonwealth of Nations
The Commonwealth comprises fifty-four of the world’s countries (including one currently suspended member), across all six inhabited continents. The members have a combined population of 2.1 billion people, almost a third of the world population, of which 1.17 billion live in India and 94% live in Asia and Africa combined. After India, the next-largest Commonwealth countries by population are Pakistan (176 million), Bangladesh (156 million), Nigeria (154 million), the United Kingdom (61 million) and South Africa (49 million). Tuvalu is the smallest member, with 12,000 people.
The land area of the Commonwealth nations is about 31,500,000 km2 (12,200,000 sq mi), or about 21% of the total world land area. The three largest Commonwealth nations by area are Canada at 10,000,000 km2 (3,900,000 sq mi), Australia at 7,700,000 km2 (2,970,000 sq mi), and India at 3,300,000 km2 (1,270,000 sq mi). The Commonwealth members have a combined gross domestic product (measured in purchasing power parity) of $10.6 trillion, 66% of which is accounted for by the four largest economies: India ($3.3 trillion), the United Kingdom ($2.3 trillion), Canada ($1.3 trillion), and Australia ($800 billion).
The status of “Member in Arrears” is used to denote those that are in arrears in paying subscription dues to the Commonwealth. The status was originally known as “special membership”, but was renamed on the Committee on Commonwealth Membership’s recommendation. Currently, there is one Member in Arrears: Nauru. Nauru joined as a special member, but was a full member from 1 May 1999 to January 2006, when it reverted.
New members must “as a general rule” have a direct constitutional link to an existing member. In most cases, the existing member is a former colony of the United Kingdom, but some have links to other countries, either exclusively or more directly (e.g. Samoa to New Zealand, Papua New Guinea to Australia, and Namibia to South Africa). The first member to be admitted without having any constitutional link to the British Empire or a Commonwealth member was Mozambique, a former Portuguese colony. It was admitted in 1995 following its first democratic elections and South Africa’s re-admission in 1994. Mozambique’s controversial entry led to the Edinburgh Declaration and the current membership guidelines. In 2009, Rwanda became the second Commonwealth member admitted to not have any such constitutional links.
Objectives and activities
The Commonwealth’s objectives were first outlined in the 1971 Singapore Declaration, which committed the Commonwealth to the institution of world peace; promotion of representative democracy and individual liberty; the pursuit of equality and opposition to racism; the fight against poverty, ignorance, and disease; and free trade. To these were added opposition to discrimination on the basis of gender by the Lusaka Declaration of 1979 (which mostly concerned racism), and environmental sustainability by the Langkawi Declaration of 1989. These objectives were reinforced by the Harare Declaration in 1991.
The Commonwealth’s current highest-priority aims are on the promotion of democracy and development, as outlined in the 2003 Aso Rock Declaration, which built on those in Singapore and Harare and clarified their terms of reference, stating: “We are committed to democracy, good governance, human rights, gender equality, and a more equitable sharing of the benefits of globalisation.” The Commonwealth website lists its areas of work as: Democracy, Economics, Education, Gender, Governance, Human Rights, Law, Sport, Sustainability, and Youth.
The Commonwealth has long been distinctive as an international forum where highly developed economies (such as the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, Singapore, and New Zealand) and many of the world’s poorer countries seek to reach agreement by consensus. This aim has sometimes been difficult to achieve, as when disagreements over Rhodesia in the late 1960s and 1970s and over apartheid in South Africa in the 1980s led to a cooling of relations between the United Kingdom and African members.
The European Union (EU) is an economic and political union of 27 member states, located primarily in Europe. Committed to regional integration, the EU was established by the Treaty of Maastricht on 1 November 1993 upon the foundations of the European Economic Community. With almost 500 million citizens, the EU combined generates an estimated 30% share (US$18.4 trillion in 2008) of the nominal gross world product and about 22% of the PPP gross world product.
The EU has developed a single market through a standardised system of laws which apply in all member states, ensuring the free movement of people, goods, services, and capital. It maintains common policies on trade agriculture, fisheries and regional development. Sixteen member states have adopted a common currency, the euro, constituting the Euro zone. The EU has developed a limited role in foreign policy, having representation at the WTO, G8, G20 and at the UN. It enacts legislation in justice and home affairs, including the abolition of passport controls by the Schengen agreement between 22 EU and 3 non-EU states.
As an international organisation, the EU operates through a hybrid system of supranationalism and intergovernmentalism. In certain areas, decisions are made through negotiation between member states, while in others, independent supranational institutions are responsible without a requirement for unanimity between member states. Important institutions of the EU include the European Commission, the Council of the European Union, the European Council, the Court of Justice of the European Union, and the European Central Bank. The European Parliament is elected every five years by member states’ citizens, to whom the citizenship of the European Union is guaranteed.
The EU traces its origins from the European Coal and Steel Community formed among six countries in 1951 and the Treaty of Rome formed in 1957 by the same states. Since then, the EU has grown in size through enlargement, and in power through the addition of policy areas to its remit.
After the end of the Second World War, moves towards European integration were seen by many as an escape from the extreme forms of nationalism which had devastated the continent. One such attempt to unite Europeans was the European Coal and Steel Community which, while having the modest aim of centralized control of the previously national coal and steel industries of its member states, was declared to be “a first step in the federation of Europe” The originators and supporters of the Community include Jean Monnet, Robert Schuman, Paul Henri Spaak and Alice de Gasper. The founding members of the Community were Belgium, France, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands and West Germany.
In 1957, these six countries signed the Treaties of Rome which extended the earlier cooperation within the European Coal and Steel Community and created the European Economic Community, (EEC) establishing a customs union and the European Atomic Energy Community (Euratom) for cooperation in developing nuclear energy In 1967 the Merger Treaty created a single set of institutions for the three communities, which were collectively referred to as the European Communities (EC), although commonly just as the European Community.
In 1973 the Communities enlarged to include Denmark, Ireland and the United Kingdom. Norway had negotiated to join at the same time but Norwegian voters rejected membership in a referendum and so Norway remained outside. In 1979 the first direct, democratic elections to the European Parliament were held.
Greece joined in 1981, and Spain and Portugal in 1986. In 1985 the Schengen Agreement led the way toward the creation of open borders without passport controls between most member states and some non-member states. In 1986 the European flag began to be used by the Community and the Single European Act was signed.
The Iron Curtain’s fall enabled eastward enlargement. (Berlin Wall)
In 1990, after the fall of the Iron Curtain, the former East Germany became part of the Community as part of a newly united Germany. With enlargement toward Eastern and Central Europe on the agenda, the Copenhagen criteria for candidate members to join the European Union were agreed.
The European Union was formally established when the Maastricht Treaty came into force on 1 November 1993, and in 1995 Austria, Sweden and Finland joined the newly established EU. In 2002, euro notes and coins replaced national currencies in 12 of the member states. Since then, the eurozone has increased to encompass sixteen countries, with Slovakia joining the eurozone on 1 January 2009. In 2004, the EU saw its biggest enlargement to date when Malta, Cyprus, Slovenia, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, and Hungary joined the Union.
On 1 January 2007, Romania and Bulgaria became the EU’s newest members and Slovenia adopted the euro. In June 2009 the 2009 elections which later led to a renewal of Barroso’s Commission Presidency and in July of that year Iceland formally applied for EU membership. On 1 December 2009 the Lisbon Treaty came into force after a protracted and controversial birth. This reformed many aspects of the EU but in particular created a permanent President of the European Council, the first of which is Herman van Rompuy, and a strengthened High Representative, Catherine Ashton.
The European Union is composed of 27 sovereign Member States: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, and the United Kingdom.
Several territories associated with member states that are outside geographic Europe are also not part of the EU (such as Greenland, Aruba, the Netherlands Antilles, and all the non-European British overseas territories). Some overseas territories are part of the EU even though geographically not part of Europe, such as the Azores, the Canary Islands, Madeira, Lampedusa, French Guiana, Guadeloupe, Martinique and Réunion, Ceuta and Melilla. As well, although being technically part of the EU, EU law is suspended in Northern Cyprus as it is under the de facto control of the Turkish Republic of North Cyprus, a self-proclaimed state that is recognised only by Turkey.
The European Parliament forms one half of the EU’s legislature. The 736 (soon to be 750) Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) are directly elected by EU citizens every five years. Although MEPs are elected on a national basis, they sit according to political groups rather than their nationality. Each country has a set number of seats and in some cases is divided into sub-national constituencies. The Parliament and the Council of Ministers pass legislation jointly in nearly all areas under the ordinary legislative procedure. This also applies to the EU budget. Finally, the Commission is accountable to Parliament, requiring its approval to take office, having to report back to it and subject to motions of censure from it. The President of the European Parliament carries out the role of speaker in parliament and represents it externally. The president and vice presidents are elected by MEPs every two and a half years.
EU member states have a standardised passport design, burgundy coloured with the name of the member state, Coat of Arms and with the words “European Union” given in their official language(s) at the top; in this case that of the United Kingdom.
Foreign policy cooperation between member states dates from the establishment of the Community in 1957, when member states negotiated as a bloc in international trade negotiations under the Common Commercial Policy. Steps for a more wide ranging coordination in foreign relations began in 1970 with the establishment of European Political Cooperation which created an informal consultation process between member states with the aim of forming common foreign policies. It was not, however, until 1987 when European Political Cooperation was introduced on a formal basis by the Single European Act. EPC was renamed as the Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP) by the Maastricht Treaty.
The EU participates in all G8 summits. (Heiligendamm, Germany, Economy of the European Union
In the UN, as an observer and working together, the EU has gained influence in areas such as aid due to its large contributions in that field (see below). In the G8, the EU has rights of membership besides chairing/hosting summit meetings and is represented at meetings by the presidents of the Commission and the Council. In the World Trade Organization (WTO), where all 27 member states are represented, the EU as a body is represented by Trade Commissioner Benita Ferrero-Waldner.
Since its origin, the EU has established a single economic market across the territory of all its members. Currently, a single currency is in use between the 16 members of the euro zone. If considered as a single economy, the EU generated an estimated nominal gross domestic product (GDP) of US$18.39 trillion (15.247 trillion international dollars based on purchasing power parity) in 2008, amounting to over 22% of the world’s total economic output in terms of purchasing power parity, which makes it the largest economy in the world by nominal GDP and the second largest trade bloc economy in the world by PPP valuation of GDP. It is also the largest exporter , and largest importer of goods and services, and the biggest trading partner to several large countries such as India and China.
The creation of a European single currency became an official objective of the EU in 1969. However, it was only with the advent of the Maastricht Treaty in 1993 that member states were legally bound to start the monetary union no later than 1 January 1999. On this date the euro was duly launched by eleven of the then fifteen member states of the EU. It remained an accounting currency until 1 January 2002, when euro notes and coins were issued and national currencies began to phase out in the euro zone, which by then consisted of twelve member states. The euro zone has since grown to sixteen countries, the most recent being Slovakia which joined on 1 January 2009
The EU is working to improve cross-border infrastructure within the EU, for example through the Trans-European Networks (TEN). Projects under TEN include the Channel Tunnel, LGV Est., the Fréjus Rail Tunnel, the Oresund Bridge and the Brenner Base Tunnel. In 2001 it was estimated that by 2010 the network would cover: 75,200 kilometers (46,700 mi) of roads; 78,000 kilometers (48,000 mi) of railways; 330 airports; 270 maritime harbors; and 210 internal harbours.
Among the many languages and dialects used in the EU, it has 23 official and working languages: Bulgarian, Czech, Danish, Dutch, English, Estonian, Finnish, French, German, Greek, Hungarian, Italian, Irish, Latvian, Lithuanian, Maltese, Polish, Portuguese, Romanian, Slovak, Slovene, Spanish, and Swedish. Important documents, such as legislation, are translated into every official language. The European Parliament provides translation into all languages for documents and its plenary sessions. Some institutions use only a handful of languages as internal working.
In 1994, the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) came into effect, creating one of the world’s largest free trade zones and laying the foundations for strong economic growth and rising prosperity for Canada, the United States, and Mexico. Since then, NAFTA has demonstrated how free trade increases wealth and competitiveness, delivering real benefits to families, farmers, workers, manufacturers, and consumers.
The NAFTA partners have created this website to provide Canadians, Americans, and Mexicans with information about how NAFTA works and the many ways in which it has improved the
lives of North Americans.
What is NAFTA
406 million people producing goods and services worth over 11 trillion $US; daily trade volumes worth nearly 1.8 billion $US, and 19.8 million jobs created scince 1994; 1.3 trillion $US in direct foreing investments, or about 28% of the worldwide total.
NAFTA is a trade treaty which aims at eliminating customs duties on transactions between Canada, Mexico and the United States.
The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and its parallel agreements on the environment and labor issues came into force on 1 January 1994, five years after the Canada-US Free Trade Agreement (FTA).
NAFTA has created the largest free trade zone in the world with 406 million people producing more than $US 11 billion worth of goods and services.
The agreement establishing NAFTA stipulates that Canada, the United States and Mexico must pursue a certain number of common objectives.
NAFTA has substantially liberalized trade in services and has opened government procurement markets, including procurement in services and construction markets. The agreement makes it illegal for the parties to discriminate between national and foreign producers in the trading of services, government markets and investment. Unlike the FTA between Canada and the United States,all services are included in the free trade agreement as long as they have not been explicitly exempted from the provisions of NAFTA. The agreement enumerates the exclusions indicated by the different levels of government in each country, following a scheduled timetable.
Do you make big plans but can’t seem to follow through with them? What’s the first step to reaching your goal? Do you know what you want but don’t know how to get it?
To dream a goal is not difficult to do. Most of us have no shortage of hopes and ambitions, and indeed these are the stuff of life. Yet at the same time many people draw up elaborate and impressive plans to reach their goals that somehow never come to pass. Some don’t even reach the point of drawing up a plan, while others attribute failure or success to a matter of luck.
Making goals a reality, whether for an individual or an organization, is the subject of Targets and Goals. More than just a program to “motivate” people, here are the practical tools for anyone to achieve the goals they set.
The Asian Development Bank (ADB) is a multilateral development finance institution whose mission is to reduce poverty in the Asia Pacific region. Although the ADB claims to operate in the interest of Asia’s poorest citizens, civil society groups have long been concerned about the ADB’s role in promoting sustainable and equitable growth in the region.
The ADB was founded in 1966 with the goal of eradicating poverty in the region. With over 1.9 billion people living on less than $2 a day in Asia, the institution has a formidable challenge. It plays the following functions for countries in the Asia Pacific region:
• Provides loans and equity investments to its developing member countries (DMCs)
• Provides technical assistance for the planning and execution of development projects and programs and for advisory services
• Promotes and facilitates investment of public and private capital for development
• Assists in coordinating development policies and plans of its DMCs
Though publicly financed by taxpayer dollars, ADB activities (and those of other multilateral development banks) are often carried out without the informed participation of affected people, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), or, in many cases, the elected officials in the borrowing countries. A global movement to reform the MDBs has based its activities on the assumption that sustainable development and poverty alleviation are impossible without informed public participation in the decision making process.
Civil society concerns with the ADB include:
• Access to information about the ADB’s operations
• Public participation in the design, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of ADB projects
• The social and environmental impacts of ADB programs and projects, and the Bank’s accountability for those impacts
• The ADB’s private sector lending
• The ADB’s role in regional and sub-regional economic cooperation
The Bank Information Center, in collaboration with its partners, works toward democratizing the ADB so that social and environmental considerations are incorporated in the Banks’ decision making processes and operations.
Supporting Human Development
ADB’s main human development objective is to reduce poverty by improving the health, living standards, and livelihood of people in its DMCs. This is done by strengthening institutions; building capacity; reforming policy; and providing loans and technical assistance in education, health and nutrition, water supply and sanitation, and urban sectors.
No country or region has done well in reducing poverty without first providing widespread basic education and health services. Education helps to empower the poor, to enhance their income-earning potential, and to improve the quality of their lives. Without basic education-without basic skills and knowledge-the poor lack the tools essential for breaking the poverty cycle. People with basic education are more productive and more likely to earn higher incomes. Where attention has been paid to educating women, multiple benefits have been obtained: educated women have lower fertility rates and their children have lower infant mortality rates; and educated mothers are more likely to use health services and to send their children to school.
The 40-year anniversary of the establishment of the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) brings with it many aspirations for the Muslim world and the OIC.
During the past 40 years, the OIC has made great strides in becoming an institutionalized intergovernmental organization serving the Muslim Ummah and taking its rightful place among the influential international organizations in the world. It has expanded in membership; created successful subsidiary, specialized and affiliate organs as well as standing committees; and established itself an effective partner with international
organizations in the world scene.
The Third OIC Extraordinary Summit held in December 2005 was a decisive turning point in the contemporary history of the Muslim world. The Summit adopted a Ten-Year Program of Action (TYPOA), which as a blueprint of transformation, deals with all domains needing reform individually and collectively within the OIC system, in addition to drawing guidelines for the joint Islamic action undertaken in all fields of development and international relations.
One of the aspirations and hopes of the Muslim world is to live in peace and mutual respect with other nations and communities; that the kind of insulting, defaming and condescending attitudes towards their religion,
culture and way of life, which were on the rise during the past few years, would be halted. Not to be left behind, one of the fundamental aspirations of the Muslim world is to accelerate the process of socio-economic progress and reach a higher position in development. Already there are indicators of some Member States on the right path of development and progress.
The Options Industry Council (OIC) was created as an industry cooperative to increase awareness, knowledge and responsible use of exchange-listed options among retail investors, their financial advisors and institutional investors. Options are a versatile but complex product, and that is why OIC hosts options seminars, webcasts and podcasts, distributes software and literature and maintains a web site and Help Desk – all focused on options education.
OIC was formed in 1992. Today, its sponsors include the Boston Options Exchange, Chicago Board Options Exchange, International Securities Exchange, NASDAQ OMX PHLX, NASDAQ Options Market, NYSE Amex Options, NYSE Arca Options and The Options Clearing Corporation (OCC). The OIC Roundtable is the independent governing body of the Council and includes representatives from the exchanges, member brokerage firms and OCC. These organizations have one goal in mind: to provide a financially sound and efficient marketplace where investors can hedge investment risk and find new opportunities for profiting from market participation.
What are the primary objectives of the African Union and how will it work and it is similar to the European Union?
Irrespective of which continent is focus of study, regional integration projects at all levels of progress are underway. Promoting regional political co operation and economic interdependence are considered as important as they promote an atmosphere of regional security.
Africa is playing its part in this movement by establishing its own regional integration project, a political union known as the African Union (AU). Born out of the Site Declaration of September 1999, the African Union aims to establish itself as a comprehensive, multi tasking organization with solid institutions. It aims to be more proactive in the economic and the social development of Africa, which has allowed it to ascend from its predecessor, the Organization of African States, whose primary achievement was the liberation of African states from their colonial powers.
The modeling of the African Union is more ambitious of its European counterpart, the European Union (EU), which is undoubtedly the world’s most successful regional integration project. The development of the European Union was a staggered and gradual process that has taken many shapes, names and agendas since 1951, from the first European regional integration project, the European Coal and Steel Community to the current composition and recent accession of ten new members of the European Union.
Unlike the Europe, the African continent faces a series of problems that were not present during the early development of European integration, such as a violent history of continuous coup d’états and the rapid spread of diseases such as HIV/AIDS, constant natural disasters and subsequent food shortages combined religious and ethnic tensions. This essay aims to interpret the aims and objectives of the African Union and analyze its planned structure and discuss the likelihood of it succeeding.
Defend the sovereignty, territorial integrity and independence of its Member States.
Accelerate the political and socio-economic integration of the continent.
Promote and defend African common positions on issues of interest to the continent and its peoples;
Encourage international cooperation, taking due account of the Charter of the United Nations and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights;
Promote peace, security, and stability on the continent;
Promote democratic principles and institutions, popular participation and good governance;
Promote and protect human and peoples’ rights in accordance with the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights and other relevant human rights instruments;
Establish the necessary conditions which enable the continent to play its rightful role in the global economy and in international negotiations;
Promote sustainable development at the economic, social and cultural levels as well as the integration of African economies;
Promote cooperation in all fields of human activity to raise the living standards of African peoples;
Coordinate and harmonize policies between existing and future Regional Economic Communities for the gradual attainment of the objectives of the Union;
Advance the development of the continent by promoting research in all fields, in particular in science and technology;
Work with relevant international partners in the eradication of preventable diseases and the promotion of good health on the continent.
These aims range from promoting the advancement of science and technology to raising the living standards of Africa’s citizens. Within these broad aims there is a series of goals known as the Millennium Development Goals.
The success of the African Union depends primarily on the ability to learn from the failures of the Organization of African States, one of which was the inability of the Organization to foster peace within its own membership.
Regional security was a priority for the success of the European Union with universal consensus that conflict between states is to the detriment of regional economic and social integration, this may be a lesson that needs to be learnt before the African Union can become an effective political institution.
Combining the ongoing issues of guaranteeing the legitimacy and security of existing states, the strengthening of democracy within African states and Union institutions, dealing with continental issues such as HIV/AIDS and debt readjustment will determine the effectiveness of the African Union.
It is imperative that the African Union learns the lessons from its mentor in the European Union. The most important thing to acknowledge that the process to successful and long term regional integration is a long and arduous one, with a multitude of concessions needed to be made by all member states to achieve their goals. The complexity of the economic legislation that needs to be introduced to all fifty three African Union members will be time consuming and difficult to the relay to the African people.
The Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic (SADR-Western Sahara) was admitted to the OAU in February 1982, following recognition by 26 of the 50 members, but its membership was disputed by Morocco and other states which claimed that a two-thirds majority was needed to admit a state whose existence was in question. Morocco withdrew from the OAU (with effect from November 1985) and was not a party to the establishment of the African Union.
The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO; pronounced is a specialized agency of the United Nations established on 16 November 1945. Its stated purpose is to contribute to peace and security by promoting international collaboration through education, science, and culture in order to further universal respect for justice, the rule of law, and the human rights and fundamental freedoms proclaimed in the UN Charter. It is the heir of the League of Nations’ International Commission on Intellectual Cooperation.
UNESCO has 193 Member States and seven Associate Members. The organization is based in Paris, with over 50 field offices and many specialized institutes and centers throughout the world. Most of the field offices are “cluster” offices covering three or more countries; there are also national and regional offices. UNESCO pursues its objectives through five major programs: education, natural sciences, social and human sciences, culture, and communication and information. Projects sponsored by UNESCO include literacy, technical, and teacher-training programmers international science programmers; the promotion of independent media and freedom of the press; regional and cultural history projects, the promotion of cultural diversity; international cooperation agreements to secure the world cultural and natural heritage (World Heritage Sites) and to preserve human rights; and attempts to bridge the worldwide
UNESCO implements its activities through the five programmers areas of Education, Natural Sciences, Social and Human Sciences, Culture, and Communication and Information.
• Education: UNESCO is providing international leadership in creating learning societies with educational opportunities for all; it supports research in Comparative education; and provides expertise and fosters partnerships to strengthen national educational leadership and the capacity of countries to offer quality education for all. This includes the
o Eight specialized Institutes in different topics of the sector
o UNESCO Chairs, an international network of 644 UNESCO Chairs, involving over 770 institutions in 126 countries.
o Environmental Conservation Organisation
o Organization of the International Conference on Adult Education (CONFINTEA) in an interval of 12 years
• UNESCO also issues public ‘statements’ to educate the public:
o Seville Statement on Violence: A statement adopted by UNESCO in 1989 to refute the notion that humans are biologically predisposed to organised violence.
• Designating projects and places of cultural and scientific significance, such as:
o International Network of Geoparks
o Biosphere reserves, through the Programme on Man and the Biosphere (MAB), since 1971
o City of Literature; in 2007, the first city to be given this title was Edinburgh, the site of Scotland’s first circulating library. In 2008, Iowa City, Iowa became the City of Literature.
o Endangered languages and linguistic diversity projects
o Masterpieces of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity
o Memory of the World International Register, since 1997
o Water Resource Management, through the International Hydrological Programme (IHP), since 1965
o World Heritage Sites
• Encouraging the “free flow of ideas by images and words” by:
o Promoting freedom of expression, press freedom and access to information, through the International Programmed for the Development of Communication and the Communication and Information Programmed
o Promoting universal access to ICTs, through the Information for All Programmed (IFAP)
o Promoting Pluralism and cultural diversity in the media
• Promoting events, such as:
o International Decade for the Promotion of a Culture of Peace and Non-Violence for the Children of the World: 2001–2010, proclaimed by the UN in 1998
o World Press Freedom Day, 3 May each year, to promote freedom of expression and freedom of the press as a basic human right and as crucial components of any healthy, democratic and free society.
o Criança Esperance in Brazil, in partnership with TV Globe, to raise funds for community-based projects that foster social integration and violence prevention.
o International Literacy Day
o International Year for the Culture of Peace
• Founding and funding projects, such as:
o Migration Museums Initiative: Promoting the establishment of museums for cultural dialogue with migrant populations.
o UNESCO-CEPES, the European Centre for Higher Education: established in 1972 in Bucharest, Romania, as a de-centralized office to promote international co-operation in higher education in Europe as well as Canada, USA and Israel. Higher Education in Europe is its official journal.
o Free Software Directory: since 1998 UNESCO and the Free Software Foundation have jointly funded this project cataloguing free software.
o FRESH Focusing Resources on Effective School Health.
o OANA, the Organization of Asia-Pacific News Agencies
o International Council of Science
o UNESCO Goodwill Ambassadors
o ASOMPS, Asian Symposium on Medicinal Plants and Spices, a series of scientific conferences held in Asia
o Botany 2000, a programmed supporting taxonomy, and biological and cultural diversity of medicinal and ornamental plants, and their protection against environmental pollution.
IEEA, a nonprofit organization from the U.S.A., exists to place qualified native English speakers into conversational English teaching positions in Hainan, China. IEEA also directs anyone wanting to study Chinese to the Haikou College of Economics and Technique, home of IEEA.
In March 2000, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Beijing licensed IEEA to introduce skilled English teachers to Hainan schools.
Although NOT a school, IEEA helps connect Hainan schools to Western schools and individuals who want to teach or study in China. If Hainan province does not interest you, IEEA can introduce you to proper officials in every province, a service we offer to help curb misunderstandings that often arise when East meets West for the first time.
Anyone wishing to study or teach in China must understand that policies made by the Ministry of Education or Provincial Education Officials are firm with few exceptions. To keep informed of all educational and foreign resident issues in China, IEEA attends the annual SAFEA (State Administration of Foreign Experts Affairs) conference hosted by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. As mentioned earlier, SAFEA and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has also issued IEEA a cerficate recognizing legal permision granted to the IEEA as an overseas company authorized to select and place teachers and other foreign experts within China. The certificate can be seen on the sidebar.
IEEA also has several ongoing poverty-relief projects in Hainan. We are presently working with the Hainan government to assist a poverty-stricken group of Li minority students, by replacing student and teacher desks, classroom doors, and dorm beds. We also provide students with scholarships to the Haikou College of Economics and Technique. If you are interested in helping these minority students, please contact us and let us know how you would like to help.
The IAEA is the world´s center of cooperation in the nuclear field. It was set up as the world´s “Atoms for Peace” organization in 1957 within the United Nations family. The Agency works with its Member States and multiple partners worldwide to promote safe, secure and peaceful nuclear technologies.
The IAEA Secretariat is headquartered at the Vienna International Centre in Vienna, Austria. Operational liaison and regional offices are located in Geneva, Switzerland; New York, USA; Toronto, Canada; and Tokyo, Japan. The IAEA runs or supports research centers and scientific laboratories in Vienna and Seibersdorf, Austria; Monaco; and Trieste, Italy. See Offices and Contacts.
The IAEA Secretariat is a team of 2200 multi-disciplinary professional and support staff from more than 90 countries. The Agency is led by Director General Yukiya Amano and six Deputy Directors General who head the major departments. See IAEA Staff.
IAEA programmers and budgets are set through decisions of its policymaking bodies – the 35-member Board of Governors and the General Conference of all Member States. Reports on IAEA activities are submitted periodically or as cases warrant to the UN Security Council and UN General Assembly. See Policy Bodies.
IAEA financial resources include the regular budget and voluntary contributions. The Regular Budget for 2008 amounts to € 277 million. The target for voluntary contributions to the Technical Co-operation Fund for 2008 is $80 million.
IAEA Mission & Programmers
The IAEA´s mission is guided by the interests and needs of Member States, strategic plans and the vision embodied in the IAEA Statute. Three main pillars – or areas of work – underpin the IAEA´s mission: Safety and Security; Science and Technology; and Safeguards and Verification. See Our Work.
General Information about the IAEA Program
Developing countries have to import sterilized tissue allograft at great cost for use in transplant surgery (in orthopedic reconstruction, treatment for cancer, trauma and high velocity impact damage), the treatment of burns, leprosy and intractable skin wounds and pressure sore ulcers in their own patients. A femur to save a limb at US $10,000 or 30 grams of bone chips at US $ 3,000 to fill a hole in a bone cavity caused by a tumor is out of the question for all except the very rich countries. With the improvement of the health sector in the developing countries in the last 30 years, more and more patients were treated using sterilized tissues imported from developed countries at a very high price, increasing significantly the cost of this treatment in the developing world. Many developing countries are not in a position to cover this increase cost for the treatment of patients and have asked the IAEA for assistance to produce their own tissues, based on the IAEA experience in the radiation technology, which was successfully developed to sterilize disposable medical products. This experience was considered by many developing countries as an important method to be used for the sterilization of their own tissues at a lower cost.
The willingness to donate bodies after death to provide the tissues often depends on the culture, religion and certainly on the extent of public education. A “Public Awareness Strategy for Tissue Banks” has been produced by the IAEA to support workshops and national programmers to be organized during 2003-2004 in the framework of the IAEA Programmed.
Established in 1964, UNCTAD promotes the development-friendly integration of developing countries into the world economy. UNCTAD has progressively evolved into an authoritative knowledge-based institution whose work aims to help shape current policy debates and thinking on development, with a particular focus on ensuring that domestic policies and international action are mutually supportive in bringing about sustainable development.
The organization works to fulfill this mandate by carrying out three key functions:
• It functions as a forum for intergovernmental deliberations, supported by discussions with experts and exchanges of experience, aimed at consensus building.
• It undertakes research, policy analysis and data collection for the debates of government representatives and experts.
• It provides technical assistance tailored to the specific requirements of developing countries, with special attention to the needs of the least developed countries and of economies in transition. When appropriate, UNCTAD cooperates with other organizations and donor countries in the delivery of technical assistance.
The Secretary-General of UNCTAD is Dr. Supachai Panitchpakdi (Thailand), who took office on 1 Sept.
In performing its functions, the secretariat works together with member Governments and interacts with organizations of the United Nations system and regional commissions, as well as with governmental institutions, non-governmental organizations, the private sector, including trade and industry associations, research institutes and universities worldwide.
In a videoconference between the Virtual Institute (VI) and its Brazilian core member, the University of Campinas (UNICAMP), on 12 November, UNCTAD’s Alfredo Calcagno presented the findings of the Trade and Development Report (TDR) 2009 to an interested audience of professors and students.
Calcagno, Senior Economic Affairs Officer at UNCTAD’s Division of Globalization and Development Strategies, elaborated on the channels through which the crisis has spread from developed to developing economies, the short-term policy responses taken by governments, and the demand for fundamental reforms at the national and international levels. He also stressed the need for effective climate change mitigation, and emphasized the development and growth opportunities for emerging countries related to greening the economy.
The School of International Relations in Iran will hold two international conferences during the first trimester of 2010.
The First International Conference on Services Export is scheduled for February 16-17, and the Second International Conference on Renewable Energies for March 2-4. Both events will be held in Tehran.
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The Australia, New Zealand, United States Security Treaty (ANZUS or ANZUS Treaty) is the military alliance which binds Australia and New Zealand and, separately, Australia and the United States to cooperate on defense matters in the Pacific Ocean area, though today the treaty is understood to relate to attacks in any area.
The treaty came about following the close cooperation of the United States, Australia and New Zealand during World War II, when Australia had come under attack by a foreign power, Japan, for the first time in its history. Following the end of World War II, the United States was eager to normalize relations with Japan, particularly as the Korean War was still raging a short distance from Japan. With the involvement of China and possibly the Soviet Union in Korea, the Cold War was threatening to become a full-scale war. However, Australia and New Zealand in particular were extremely reluctant to finalize a peace treaty with Japan which would allow for Japanese rearmament. Both countries relented only when an Australian and New Zealand proposal for a three-way security treaty was accepted by the United States.
The resulting treaty was concluded at San Francisco on September 1, 1951, and entered into force on April 29, 1952. The treaty bound the signatories to recognize that an armed attack in the Pacific area on any of them would endanger the peace and safety of the others. It stated ‘The Parties will consult together whenever in the opinion of any of them the territorial integrity, political independence or security of any of the Parties is threatened in the Pacific’. The three nations also pledged to maintain and develop individual and collective capabilities to resist attack.
In 1985, the nature of the ANZUS alliance changed significantly. Due to a current of anti-nuclear sentiment within New Zealand, tension had long been present between ANZUS members as the United States is a declared nuclear power. France, a naval power and a declared nuclear power, had been conducting nuclear tests on South Pacific Islands. Following the victory of the New Zealand Labour Party in elections in 1984, Prime Minister David Lange barred nuclear-powered or nuclear-armed ships from using New Zealand ports or entering New Zealand waters. Reasons given were the dangers of nuclear weapons, continued French nuclear testing in the South Pacific, and opposition to US President Ronald Reagan’s policy of aggressively confronting the Soviet Union.
After the end of the Second World War, moves towards European integration were seen by many as an escape from the extreme forms of nationalism which had devastated the continent. One such attempt to unite Europeans was the European Coal and Steel Community which, while having the modest aim of centralized control of the previously national coal and steel industries of its member states, was declared to be “a first step in the federation of Europe”. The originators and supporters of the Community include Jean Monnet, Robert Schuman, Paul Henri Spaak and Accede de Gaspers. The founding members of the Community were Belgium, France, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands and West Germany.
There is, however, one issue and common concern today that is uniting Africans beyond these short term economic and trade interests: Climate Change. A symbolic demonstration of this new unity was displayed in recent days, when all African delegates walked out of UN climate change meetings in Barcelona. Their main concern is that Africa will suffer disproportionally from the effects of global warming, and the tentative carbon reduction targets being discussed prior to Copenhagen are far short of the mark.
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