Tuesday, 27 December 2011 02:12


UN has its origin in August, 1944 at Dumbarton Oaks Conference where the representatives of USA, UK, USSR and China met to form an association for the maintenance of international peace and security. Finally, on June 26, 1945, the charter of the United Nations was signed in a conference called at “San Francisco”, which included the representatives of 51 states. The charter then came into force on 24 October, 1945; thus 24 October has been celebrated as the UN day.

Headquarters, Flag, Languages: United Nation’s Headquarter is situated in Manhattan Island of New York and the European office at Geneva.

The Flag of the UNO was adopted in October 1947. The flag includes white UN emblem (two bent olive branches, open at the top and between them is the world map) on a light blue background. The flag was adopted by the UNO in October, 1947. Official Language of UNO are French, Chinese, English, Russian, Arabic and Spanish. While the working languages are only French and English.

Aims and Objectives of UNO: The main objectives of UNO are:

  • To maintain international peace and security.
  • To develop spirit of co-operation and friendly relations among the nations.
  • To promote respect for human rights, dignity and freedom.
  • To solve international problems of social, economic, agricultural and humanitarian character.
  • To employ international machinery for the promotion of economic and social advancement of all people.

Organs of the UN: There are six main organs of UN:

1. General Assembly: It is the main body of UN and consists of the representatives of all the states. Each state may send 5 representatives in the general assembly but has only 1 vote. It meets regularly once a year, special and emergency sessions can also be summoned at the request of security council.Decision of an important matters are taken by 2/3rd majority, while in simple maters, only simple majority is enough. The assembly may discuss any matter within the scope of charter except those already referred to the Security Council. The assembly generally discuss ways of preserving peace, economic development and social progress, well being of people, peaceful use of atomic energy, human right etc. It elects its own President & Vice-President every year.

Functional of General Assembly:

(i) The membership of new states is done by the general assembly on the recommendation of Security Council.

(ii) The Judges of the International Court of Justice are elected by general assembly.

(iii) It elects the non-permanent members of security council, members of Economic and Social Council, and certain members of Trusteeship Council.

(iv) It passes entire budget of UNO.

2. Security Council: It is the executive body of UN which is responsible for maintaining international peace in the world. Its session can be summoned at 24 hour notice and if functions almost continuously, the council consists of 15 members – 5 permanent (USA, UK; Russia, France and China) and 10 non-permanent members which are elected for a term of 2 years by the General Assembly, the distribution of the numbers of non-permanent members are (1) Five members from Asian and African countries (2) two from Latin American countries (3) two from western Europe’s and other (which implies commonwealth countries) (4) and one from east European countries.

Each member of the Security Council has one vote. The approval of all permanent members is necessary. If any permanent member casts a “Veto” to show its disagreement, then no decision can be taken. The number of affirmative votes needed for a decision are at least nine which includes the vote of 5 permanent members. In the event of a threat to peace or occurrence of war between two or more countries, the security council has the power to take appropriate measures to restore peace and security.

3. Economic and Social Council: The Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) is the welfare council which coordinates the economic and social activities of the United Nations and its specialized agencies and other    organizations. This council meets at least thrice a year. It is composed of 54 members. General Assembly elects one-third members of ECOSOC every year for a period of 3 years. ECOSOC takes decision by a majority of those members present and voting. ECOSOC seeks to build a world of greater prosperity, stability and justice.

4.      The Trusteeship Council: The Prime responsibility of this council is to supervise the administration of those territories which were placed under the International Trusteeship System. This council of UNO is also known as ‘Protector of Dependent People’ who are not yet able to Govern themselves. It consists of members of states administering trust territories and permanent members of the security council to administering territories. Under the charter, the member states have to accept certain obligations to promote their development and to protect their interest and security so long as the trustee territories  are not able to govern themselves.  At present, USA is the only administering trust territory. So, the Trusteeship Council consists of only permanent members. This council meets at least once in a year.

5. Secretariat: All day today functions of the UN are performed by the Secretariat.The Secretariat is headed by the Secretary-General who is the chief Administrate Officer, and he is appointed by the General Assembly upon the recommendation of Security Council for a five-year term, which is renewable. It is his duty to implement all resolutions passed by the Security Council or the General Assembly. He makes the annual report of General Assembly and also bring to the notice of security council about any matter threatening the maintenance of international peace and Security.

Secrtary General: Ban Ki Moon

  • International Monetary Fund (IMF) HQ – Washington, D.C.

The IMF came into existence in December 1945, as one among the Bretton Wood twins when the first 29 countries signed its Articles of Agreement. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) is an international organization that oversees the global financial system by observing exchange rates and balance of payments. An unwritten rule establishes that the IMF’s managing director must be non-Italian European and that the president of the World Bank must be from the United States. IMF describes itself as “an organization of 185 countries, Montenegro being the 185th as of January 18th, 2007.

  • World Bank Group HQ – Washington, D.C.

The World Bank Group is a group of five international organizations responsible for providing finance and advice to countries for the purposes of economic development and eliminating poverty. The Bank came into formal existence on 27 December, 1945 following international ratification of the Bretton Woods agreements, it approved its first loan to France for postwar reconstruction. The World Bank Group consists of:

(i) The International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD), established in 1945, which provides debt financing on the basis of sovereign guarantees;

(ii) The International Finance Corporation (IFC), established in 1956, which provides various forms of financing without sovereign guarantees, primarily to the private sector;

(iii) The International Development Association (IDA), established in 1960, which provides concessional financing (interest-free loans or grants), usually with sovereign guarantees;

(iv) The Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA), established in 1988, which provides insurance against certain types of risk, including political risk, primarily to the private sector; and

(v) The International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID), established in 1966, which works with governments to reduce investment risk.

  • Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) HQ – Rome, Italy.

The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) is a specialized agency of the United Nations that leads international efforts to defeat hunger. FAO was founded in 16 October 1945, in Quebec City, Canada. In 1951 its headquarters were moved from Washington, D.C., United States, to Rome, Italy. As of 17 November 2007, it   had 191 members (plus one member organization, the European Community and one associate member, the Faroe Islands).

  • International Labour Organization (ILO) HQ-Geneva, Switzerland.

The International Labour Organization (ILO) is a specialized agency of the United Nations that deals with labour issues. Founded in 1919, it was formed through the negotiations of the Treaty of Versailles, and was initially an agency of the League of Nations. The ILO hosts the International Labour Conference in Geneva every year in June. The organization received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1969. Its secretariat is known as the International Labour Office. It’s a tripartite intergovernmental body of governments, employers and workers.

  • United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) HQ-Paris, France.

UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) is a specialized agency of the United Nations established in 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. As of October 2007, UNESCO had 193 member states and 6 associate members.

  • International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) HQ-Montreal, Canada.

The International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), an agency of the United Nations set up in 1944, codifies the principles and techniques of international air navigation and fosters the planning and development of international air transport to ensure safe and orderly growth. The ICAO defines the protocols for air accident investigation, followed by transport safety authorities in countries signatory to the Convention on International Civil Aviation, commonly known as the Chicago Convention.

  • World Health Organization (WHO) HQ-Geneva, Switzerland.

The World Health Organization (WHO) is a specialized agency of the United Nations that acts as a coordinating authority on international public health. Established on 7 April 1948, the agency inherited the mandate and   resources of its predecessor, the Health Organization, which had been an agency of the League of Nations.     WHO compiles the widely followed International Classification of Diseases (ICD).

  • International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) HQ-Vienna, Austria.

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) was established as an autonomous organization on July 29, 1957. It seeks to promote the peaceful use of nuclear energy and to inhibit its use for military purposes. United States President Dwight D. Eisenhower envisioned, in his “Atoms for Peace” speech before the UN General Assembly in 1953, the creation of this international body to control and develop the use of atomic energy.

  • International Telecommunication Union (ITU) HQ-Paris, France.

The International Telecommunication Union (ITU) is an international organization established to standardize and regulate international radio and telecommunications. It was founded as the International Telegraph Union in Paris in May 17, 1865, and is today the World’s oldest international organization. Its main tasks include           standardization, allocation of the radio spectrum, and organizing interconnection arrangements between different countries to allow international phone calls.

  • Universal Postal Union (UPU) HQ-Berne, Switzerland.

The Universal Postal Union (UPU) is an international organization that coordinates postal policies between member nations, and hence the worldwide postal system. Each member country agrees to the same set of terms for conducting international postal duties. It is the second oldest, international organization (after the ITU).   It was created in 1874, under the name “General Postal Union”, as a result of the Treaty of Berne signed on 9 October 1874. In 1878, the name was changed to “Universal Postal Union”.

  • International Maritime Organization (IMO) HQ-London, UK.

The International Maritime Organization (IMO), formerly known as the Inter-Governmental Maritime Consultative Organization (IMCO), was established in 1948, through the United Nations to coordinate international maritime safety and related practices. However the IMO did not enter into full force until 1958. The IMO promotes cooperation among government and the shipping industry to improve maritime safety and to prevent maritime pollution.

  • World Meteorological Organization (WMO) HQ-Geneva, Switzerland.

The World Meteorological Organization (WMO) is a specialized agency of the United Nations. It is the UN system’s authoritative voice on the state and behavior of the Earth’s atmosphere, its interaction with the oceans, and the climate produces or the resulting distribution of water resources. It originated from the   International Meteorological Organization (IMO), which was founded in 1873. Established in 1950, WMO became the specialized agency of the United Nations for meteorology (weather and climate), operational hydrology and related geophysical sciences. The WMO helped create the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate        Change (IPCC). It is also directly responsible for the creation of the Global Atmosphere Watch (GAW).

  • Interpol (International Criminal Police Organization) HQ-Lyon, France.

Established as International Criminal Police Commission in 1923 to assist international criminal police co-operation. Its work focuses primarily on public safety, terrorism, organized crime etc. It is the world’s third largest international organization after UN and FIFA.

  • International Court of Justice (ICJ) HQ-The Hague, The Netherlands

The International Court of Justice (known colloquially as the World Court or ICJ) is the primary judicial organ of the United Nations. Established in 1945 by the Charter of the United Nations, the Court began work in 1946 as the successor to the Permanent Court of International Justice. The ICJ is composed of 15 judges elected to nine year terms by the UN General Assembly and the UN Security Council from a list of persons, nominated by the national groups in the Permanent Court of Arbitration. All 192 UN members are automatically parties to the   Court’s statute. Article 94 establishes the duty of all UN members to comply with decisions of the Court involving them. If parties do not comply, the issue may be taken before the Security Council for enforcement action. It conducts its business in English and French.

  • International Criminal Court (ICC) HQ-The Hague, The Netherlands.

It is a court created under the Rome Statute of 2002 as an independent, permanent court that tries persons accused of the most serious crimes of international concern, namely genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes. The ICC is based on a treaty, joined by 104 countries. The ICC is a court of last resort. It will not act if a case is investigated or prosecuted by a national judicial system unless the national proceedings are not genuine. In addition, the ICC only tries those accused of the gravest crimes.

  • Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) HQ-The Hague, The Netherlands.

The Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) is an international agency. Its mission is to promote membership of the Chemical Weapons Convention treaty which entered into force in 1997 and mandated the elimination of “the scourge of chemical weapons forever and to verify the destruction of the   declared chemical weapons stockpiles within stipulated deadlines”.

  • United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) HQ-New York City, USA.

The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) was created on December 11, 1946. In 1953, its name was shortened from United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund.  UNICEF provides long-term humanitarian and development assistance to children and mothers in developing countries. UNICEF was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1965.

  • United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) HQ-Vienna, Austria.

United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) is a United Nations agency which was founded in 1997 as the Office for Drug Control and Crime Prevention with the intent to fight drugs and crime on an international   level. This intent is fulfilled through three primary functions: research, lobbying state government to adopt    various crime and drug based laws and treaties and assistance of said governments on the ground level. In October 2002, the United Nations Drug Control Programme (UNDCP) was merged into the UNODC.

  • United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) HQ-Geneva, Switzerland.

The United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) was established in 1963 as a permanent intergovernmental body, UNCTAD is the principal organ of the United Nations General Assembly dealing with trade, investment and development issues. UNCTAD has 191 member States.

  • United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) HQ-Gigiri, Nairobi, Kenya.

It was founded as a result of the United Nations Conference on the Human Environment in 1973. The World Meteorological Organisation and the UNEP established the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) in 1988. UNEP is also one of several implementing agencies for the Global Environment Facility (GEF). The year 2007 has been declared as International Year of the Dolphin by the United Nations and UNEP.

  • United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) HQ-New York City, USA.

The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the United Nations’ global development network, is the largest multilateral source of development assistance in the world. The UNDP is an executive board within the United Nations Economic and Social Council. The UNDP Administrator is the third highest ranking member of    the United Nations after the United Nations Secretary-General and Deputy Secretary-General. UNDP publishes an annual Human Development Report to measure and analyze developmental progress.

  • United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) HQ-Geneva, Switzerland.

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) (established December 14, 1950) protects and supports refugees at the request of a government or the United Nations and assists in their return or resettlement. It succeeded the earlier International Refugee Organization and the even earlier United Nations      Relief and Rehabilitation Administration. UNHCR was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1954 and 1981. UNHCR presently has major missions in Lebanon, South Sudan, Chad/Darfur, Iraq, Afghanistan as well as Kenya to assist and provide services to IDPs and refugees.

  • United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-HABITAT) HQ-Nairobi, Kenya.

The United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-HABITAT) is the United Nations agency for human settlements. It was established in 1978. It is mandated by the United Nations General Assembly to promote socially and environmentally sustainable towns and cities with the goal of providing adequate shelter for all.

  • United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) HQ-Vienna, Austria.

The United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), is a specialized agency in the United Nations system. UNIDO was established as a UN programme in 1966 and became a specialized agency of the United Nations in 1985.

  • United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) HQ-New York, USA.

The United Nations Fund for Population Activities was started in 1969 and renamed the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) in 1987. The United Nations Population Fund is the world’s largest international source of funding for population and reproductive health programs.

  • World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) HQ-Geneva, Switzerland.

The World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) is one of the specialized agencies of the United Nations. WIPO was created in 1967 with the stated purpose of encouraging creative activity and promoting the protection of intellectual property throughout the world. WIPO currently has 184 member states and administers 23  international treaties. Vatican City and almost all UN members are member of the WIPO. The predecessor to WIPIO was the BIRPI (French acronym for United International Bureau for the Protection of Intellectual Property), which had been set up in 1893 to administer the Berne Convention for the Protection of Library and Artistic Works and the Paris Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property. WIPO was formally created by the Convention Establishing the World Intellectual Property Organization (signed at Stockholm on July 14, 1967 and as amended on September 28, 1979).

  • World Trade Organization (WTO) HQ-Geneva, Switzerland.

The World Trade Organization (WTO) is an international organization that establishes rules for international   trade through consensus among its member states. It also resolves disputes between the members, which are all signatories to its trade agreements. Uruguay Round of General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT),  negotiations culminating in the Marrakesh Agreement that established the WTO. There are 151 member states in the organization, the latest to join being Tonga on July 27, 2007. Since its inception in 1995, the WTO has been a major focus for protests by civil society groups in many countries.

  • International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement: HQ-Geneva, Switzerland.

The International Red Cross & Red Crescent Movement is an international humanitarian movement founded in 1863, whose stated mission is to protect human life and health, to ensure respect for the human being, and to prevent and alleviate human suffering, without any discrimination based on nationality, race, religious beliefs, class or political opinions. It adopted a new symbol a hollowed out red crystal on a white background in addition to the present symbols of red cross (1863) and red crescent (1876). Red star of David was used by Israel till now. Awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in three times – 1917, 1944 and 1963.

  • World Social Forum (WSF)

The World Social Forum (WSF) is an annual meeting held by members of the anti-globalization movement to coordinate world campaigns, share and refine organizing strategies, and infrom each other about movements from around the world and their issues. It tends to meet in January when its “great capitalist rival”, the World     Economic Forum is meeting in Davos, Switzerland.

  • World Economic Forum (WEF)

The World Economic Forum (WEF) is a Geneva-based foundation whose annual meeting of top business   leaders, national political leaders (presidents, prime ministers and others), and selected intellectuals and journalists is usually held in Davos, Switzerland. There are also regional meetings throughout the year. It was founded in 1971 by Klaws M. Schwab, a business professor in Switzerland.

  • Global Water Partnership (GWP)

It is a network created by stakeholders including Sweden, The UNDP, World Bank and committee of Economic development of Australia. It has been established to ensure optimum use of scrace water resources in an integrated manner to benefit the world community.

  • Asian Development Bank (ADB) HQ-Manila, Philippines.

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) is a regional development bank established in 1966 to promote economic and social development in Asian and Pacific countries through loans and technical assistance. It is a multilateral development financial institution owned by 66 members, 47 from the region and 19 from other parts of the globe. ADB’s vision is a region free of poverty. Its mission is to help its developing member countries reduce poverty and improve the quality of life of their citizens. The highest policy-making body of the bank is the Board of Governors composed of one representative from each member state. The Board of Governors also elect the bank’s President who is the chairperson of the Board of Directors and manages ADB. Traditionally, and because Japan is one of the largest share holders of the bank, the President has always been Japanese.

  • African Development Bank (ADBP) HQ-Abidjan, Cote D’Ivoire.

Established officially in 1964 as a result of Monrovian Conference in 1961, under the auspices of the Economic Commission for Africa, the ADBP began operation in 1966 with. With the statute of a regional multilateral development bank, the African Development Bank engaged in promoting the economic development and social progress of its Regional Member Countries (RMCs) in Africa. The African Development Bank Group has two other entities: the African Development Fund (ADF) and the Nigeria Trust Fund (NTF).

  • UN Democracy Fund (UNDEF)

The UN Democracy Fund will be a voluntary fund housed in the UN Fund for International Partnership (UNFIP), but with its own Executive Head who will report to an Advisory Board of Member States on substantive matters. In order to ensure transparency and accountability, a dedicated support office will arrange for monitoring,    evaluation and auditing of the program. The idea for the Fund was first articulated by President Bush in a speech before the UN General Assembly last fall and has been embraced by the 141 nations that attended the third ministerial meeting of the Community of Democracies in Santiago, Chile in April 2005.






Trygve Lie



Dag Hammarskjold



U Thant



Kurt Waldheim



Javier Peres De Cuellar



Dr. Boutros Boutros Ghali



Kofi Annan



Ban Ki Moon

S. Korea

  • Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) HQ-Jakarta, Indonesia.

The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) is a geopolitical and economic organization of 10 countries, located in Southeast Asia. ASEAN was established on 8 August, 1967 in Bangkok by the five original Member Countries namely – Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, and Thailand. Brunei Darussalam   joined on 8 January 1984, Vietnam on 28 July 1995, Lao PDR and Myanmar on 23 July 1997, and Cambodia on 30 April 1999.

  • ASEAN Plus Three (APT)

APT is a forum that functions as a coordinator of cooperation between Association of Southeast Asian Nations and the three East Asian nations of China, Japan, and South Korea. The first leaders’ meeting was held in 1997 and the group’s significance and importance was strengthened by the Asian Financial Crisis. The grouping was institutionalized by 1999.

  • ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF)

ASEAN Regional Forum is an informal multilateral dialogue of 25 members that seeks to address security issues in the Asia-Pacific region. ARF met for the first time in 1994. The current participants in the ARF are as follows: ASEAN, Australia, Canada, People’s Republic of China, European, Union, India, Japan, North Korea,           South Korea, Mongolia, New Zealand, Pakistan, Papua New Guinea, Russia, East Timor, and the United States. Bangladesh was added to ARF as the 26th member, starting from July 28, 2006.

  • European Union (EU)

The European Union (EU) is a supranational and intergovernmental union of 27 democratic member states in Europe. It was established under the name by the Treaty on European Union (Maastricht Treaty) singed on February 7, 1992 in Maastricht, Netherlands. The Union has a single market consisting of a customs union, a currency called the euro (adopted by 13 member states), a Common Agricultural Policy, a common trade policy and a Common Fisheries Policy. The Schengen Agreement abolished passport control and customs checks for most member states within EU’s internal borders, creating, to some extent, a single area of free movement for EU citizens to live, travel, work and invest. A Common Foreign and Security Policy, and the Police and Judicial Cooperation in criminal matters have been initiated. Important EU institutions and bodies include the European Commission, the  Council of the European Union, the European Council, the European Central Bank, the European Court of Justice, and the European Parliament which is directly elected by EU citizens once every five years.

Location of European Union Institutions

Brussels :           seat of the European Commission and the Council of Ministers.

Strasbourg :      seat of the European Parliament.

Luxembourg :    seat of the European Court of Justice, the European Court of Auditors, the Secretariat of the European Parliament and the European Investment.

Frankfurt :           seat of the European Central Bank

Council of European Union

(a) Main EU decision making body.

(b) Also known as Council of Ministers.

(c) Represents interests of individual member states.

(d) Each member states represented by its own ministers.

(e) Presidency rotates between member states on six-monthly basis.

European Commission

(a) Proposes legislation to Council and Parliament.

(b) Manages implementation of EU legislation.

(c) Commissioners appointed on five-yearly basis by Council in agreement with member states.

(d) Appointments confirmed by parliament to which commission is answerable.

European Parliament

(a) Votes on and oversees implementation of EU budget.

(b) Considers Commission proposals on legislation.

(c) Works with Council on legislative decisions.

  • Caribbean Community (CARICOM) HQ-Georgetown, Guyana.

The Caribbean Community and Common market or CARICOM was established by the Treaty of Chaguaramas which came into effect on August 1, 1973. The first four signatories were Barbados, Jamaica, Guyana and Trinidad and Tobago. CARICOM replaced the 1965-1972 Caribbean Free Trade Association (CARIFTA). Currently CARICOM has 15 full members, five associate members and seven observers. From March 2004, Haiti’s participation in CARICOM was suspended by its interim Prime Minister. But in early June 2006, Haiti was readmitted as a full member of the CARICOM.

  • Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) HQ-Abuja, Nigeria.

The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) is a regional group initially of sixteen countries, founded on May 28, 1975 when sixteen West African countries signed the Treaty of Lagos. Its mission is to promote economic integration.

  • Economic and Monetary Community of Central Africa (CEMAC) HQ – Bangui, Central African Republic.

The Economic and Monetary Community of Central Africa (CEMAC) is an organization of states of Central Africa established to promote economic integration among countries that share a common currency, the CFA franc. CEMAC is the successor of the Customs and Economic Union of Central Africa (UDEAC), which is completely superseded in June 1999 (through an agreement from 1994). Its six members states are Cameroon, the Central African Republic, Chad the Republic of the Congo, Equatorial Guinea and Gabon. Equatorial Guinea joined in January 1984.

  • Southern African Customs Union (SACU) HQ-Windhoek, Namibia.

SACU is the oldest customs union in the world. It was established in 1910 as a Customs Union Agreement between the then Union of South Africa and the High Commission Territories of Bechuanaland, Basutoland and Swaziland. With the advent of independence for these territories, the agreement was updated and on December 11, 1969 it was re-launched as the SACU was the signing of an agreement between the Republic of South Africa, Botswana, Lesotho and Swaziland. The updated union officially entered into force on March 1, 1970. After Namibia’s independence in 1990, it joined SACU as its fifth member.

  • Cooperation Council for the Arab States of the Gulf (GCC) HQ-Riyadh.

The Cooperation Council for the Arab States of the Gulf, formerly named and still commonly called Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) is a regional organization involving the six Arab Gulf states with many economic and social objectives in mind. Created on May 25, 1981, the Council is comprised of Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. Not all of the countries neighboring the Persian Gulf are members of the council. Specifically, Iran and Iraq are not members. Yemen is currently (as on 2007) in negotiations for GCC membership, and hopes to join by 2016. On the economic front, the GCC aims to create a common market by 2007 and to adopt a single currency, the Khaleeji, in 2010.

  • South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) HQ – Kathmandu, Nepal.

South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) is the largest regional organization in the world by population, covering approximately 1.5 billion people. SAARC is an economic and political organization of eight countries in Southern Asia. The organization was established on December 8, 1985 by India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Maldives and Bhutan. Afghanistan became a member (eighth) on April 3, 2007. It declared 2006-2015 as the ‘SAARC decade of poverty alleviation’. It was agreed in principle to the desire of China and Japan to become SAARC observers. The Islamic Republic of Iran is the only country in Southern Asia that is not a part of SAARC. In April 2006, the United States of America and South Korea made formal requests to be granted observer status. The European Union has also indicated interest in being given observer status, and made a formal request for the same to the SAARC Council of Ministers meeting in July 2006. On August 2nd, 2006 Foreign Ministers of SAARC countries agreed in principle to grant observer status to the US, South Korea and the European Union.

  • Group of 77 (G-77) HQ-New York, USA

The Group of 77 at the United Nations is a loose coalition of developing nations, designed to promote its   members’ collectives, economic and interest to create an enhanced joint negotiating capacity in the United Nations. There were 77 founding members of the organization, but the organization ha since expanded to 130 member countries. It is modeled on the Group of 7, which now contains 8 countries. The group was founded on June 15, 1964 by the “Joint Declaration of the Seventy Seven Countries” issued at the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD).

  • Intergovernmental Group of Twenty Four (G-24) HQ-Washington D.C., USA

The Intergovernmental Group of Twenty Four on International Monetary Affairs and Development (G-24) was established in 1971. Its main objective is to concert the position of developing countries on monetary and development of finance issues. It consists of countries from three regions of Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean and Asia.

  • North American Free Trade Area (NAFTA) The North American Free Trade Area is the bloc created by the North American Free Trade Area (NAFTA) and its two supplements, the North American Agreement on Environmental Cooperation (NAAEC) and the North American Agreement on Labour Cooperation (NAALC) whose members are Canada, Mexico and the United States. It came into effect on 1 January 1994. It is the world’s largest free trade area.
  • Developing 8 (D-8) HQ-Istanbul, Turkey.

The Developing 8 (D-8) is a group of developing countries that have formed an economic development alliance. It consists of Bangladesh, Egypt, Indonesia, Iran, Malaysia, Nigeria, Pakistan and Turkey.

  • Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi Sectoral Technical and Economic Co-operation (BIMSTEC)

The Organization was formed in Bangkok, Thailand, on 6 June 1997. Initially, its name was BIST-EC (Bangladesh, India, Sri Lanka, Thailand Economic Cooperation). At that time, Myanmar was an observer, but later joined the organization as a full member at a special ministerial meeting, held in Bangkok on 22 December 1997. Consequently, the name of the organization was changed to BIMST-EC. Nepal was granted observer status by the second ministerial meeting in Dhaka, Bangladesh in December 1998. Later, full membership has been granted to Nepal and Bhutan in 2003. During the first summit in Bangkok on 31 July 2004, the organization’s name was changed to its current name.

  • Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) HQ-Chateau de la Muette in Paris, France.

The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) is an international organization of those developed countries that accept the principles of representative democracy and a free market economy. It originated in 1948 as the Organization for European Economic Cooperation (OEEC) to help administer the Marshal Plan for the reconstruction of Europe after World War II. Later its membership was extended to non- European states, and in 1961 it was reformed into the Organization for Economic Co-operation and   Development. There are currently thirty full members; of these, 24 are described as high-income countries by the World Bank.

  • Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) HQ-Vienna, Austria.

The Organization of 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 Indonesia’s membership   currently under review as Indonesia is no longer considered by OPEC as a net oil exporter. Former Members are Gabon (full member from 1975 to 1995) and Ecuador (full member from 1963 to 1993). However, Ecuador has expressed interest in rejoining.OPEC’s official language in English, although the official language of a majority of OPEC member-states is Arabic, as seven current members are Arab states. Only one member nation (Nigeria) has English as an official language. From 1976-2006 OPEC gained on new member nations. In November 2006, the Angolan Government announced its intention to apply for membership and subsequently joint on 1st January 2007. Sudan has also expressed intent for joining. Russia, though a net exporter of oil, has failed to gain membership into the grouping.

  • Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) HQ-Singapore.

The Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) is an economic forum for a group of Pacific Rim countries to discuss matters on regional economy, cooperation, trade and investment. The current membership of APEC consists of 21 members most countries with a coasting on the Pacific Ocean. The last countries to have joined  APEC, during its sixth leader’s summit in Kualalumpur, November 1998 were Peru, Russia and Vietnam.

  • Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) HQ-Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.

OIC is an inter-governmental organization with a Permanent Delegation to the United Nations. It groups 57 mostly Islamic nations in the Middle East, North, West and Southern Africa, Central Asia, Europe, Southeast Asia, the Indian subcontinent and South America.

  • African Union (AU) HQ-Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

The African Union (AU) is an organization consisting of fifty-three African States. Established in 2001, the AU was formed as a successor to the amalgamated African Economic Community (AEC) and the Organization of African Unity (OAU). The African Union was launched in Durban on July 9, 2002, by its first president, South     African Thabo Mbeki, at the first session of the Assembly of the African Union. Eventually, the AU aims to have a single currency and a single integrated defence force, as well as other institutions of state, including a cabinet for the AU Head of State. The AU covers the entire continent except for Morocco, which opposes the membership of Western Sahara / Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic. However, Morocco has a special status within the AU and benefits from the services available to all AU states from the institutions of the AU.

  • League of Arab States HQ-Cairo, Egypt.

The League of Arab States, or Arab League, is a voluntary association of countries whose peoples are mainly Arabic speaking. It aims to strengthen ties among member states, coordinate their policies and direct them towards the common good. The idea of the Arab League was mooted in 1942 by the British, who wanted to rally Arab countries against the Axis powers. However, idea did not take off until seven states formed the Arab League on March 22, 1945. It has 22 members, including Palestine, which the league regards as an independent state. In January 2003, Eritrea joined the Arab League as an observer.

  • North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) HQ-Brussels, Belgium.

The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) also called the North Atlantic Alliance, the Atlantic Alliance, the Western Alliance, is a military alliance established by the signing of the North Atlantic Treaty on 4 April 1949. The organization establishes a system of collective security whereby its member states agree to mutual defence in response to an attack by any external party. The Treaty of Brussels signed on 17 March 1948 by Belgium, the Netherlands, Luxemburg, France and the United Kingdom is considered the precursor to the NATO agreement. The 2006 NATO submit was held in Riga, Latvia, which had joined the Atlantic Alliance two years earlier. It is the first NATO summit in a former COMECON country. Membership went on expanding with the accession of seven more European countries to NATO-Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania and also Slovenia, Slovakia, Bulgaria, and Romania thereby taking the membership to 26. These 7 countries joined NATO on 29 March 2004.

  • Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) HQ-Minsk, Belarus.

The Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) is the international organization, or alliance, consisting of 11 former Soviet Republics: Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Russia, Tajikistan, Ukraine, and Uzbekistan and one associate member. Turkmenistan discontinued permanent membership as of August 26, 2005 and is now an associate member. The CIS is not a confederation. On December 21, 1991, the leaders of 11 of the 15 constituent republics of the Soviet Union met in Almata, Kazakhstan, and signed the charter, thus de facto ratifying the initial CIS treaty and launching the organization.


The Australia, New Zealand, United States Security Treaty (ANZUS or ANZUS Treaty) is the military alliance which binds Australia and the United States, & separately Australia and New Zealand to cooperate on defence matters in the Pacific Ocean area, though today the treaty is understood to relate to attacks in any area. The treaty was concluded at San Francisco on 1 September 1951, and entered into force on 29th April 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.

  • Mercosur HQ-Montevideo, Uruguay.

Mercosur or Mercosul is a Regional Trade Agreement (RTA) between Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay, Venezuela and Paraguay, founded in 1991 by the Treaty of Asuncion, which was later amended and updated by the 1994 Treaty of Ouro Preto. It is known as the Common Market of the South. Its purpose is to promote free trade and the fluid movement of goods, peoples, and currency. Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador and Peru currently have associate member status.

  • Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) HQ-Beijing, China.

The Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) is an intergovernmental organization which was founded on June 14, 2001 by leaders of China, Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. Except for Uzbekistan, the other countries had been members of the Shanghai Five; after the inclusion of Uzbekistan in 2001, the members renamed the organization.

  • Benelux

Benelux is an economic union in Western Europe comprising three neighbouring monarchies. Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg. The treaty establishing the Benelux Customs Union was signed in 1944 by the governments in exile of the three countries in London, and entered into force in 1947. It created to exist in 1960, when it was replaced by the Benelux Economic Union. A Benelux Parliament (Originally referred to as Inter-parliamentary Consultative Council) was created in 1955. The treaty establishing the Benelux Economic    Union was signed in 1958 and came into force in 1960 to promote the free movement of workers, capital services, and goods in the region. In 1965, the treaty establishing a Benelux Court of Justice was signed and it entered into force n 1975 with seat at Brussels.

  • Indian Ocean Rim-Association for Regional Cooperation (IOR-ARC) HQ-Mauritius.

The IOR-ARC, initially known as the Indian Ocean Rim Initiative, is an international organization with 18 member states. It was first established in Mauritius on March 1995 and formally launched on 6-7 March 1997. Countries with the status of dialogue partners are China, Egypt, France, Japan and United Kingdom.