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About this book

The third edition of this popular core textbook provides wide-ranging coverage of the structure, internal working, policies and performance of international organizations such as the UN, EU, IMF and World Bank. Such organizations have never been so important in addressing the challenges that face our increasingly globalised world. This book introduces students to theories with which to approach international organizations, their history, and their ability to respond to contemporary issues in world politics from nuclear disarmament, climate change and human rights protection, to trade, monetary and financial relations, and international development. Underpinning the text is the authors' unique model that views international organizations as actual organizations. Reacting to world events, political actors provide the 'inputs' which are converted by the political systems of these organizations (through various decision-making procedures) into 'outputs' that achieve varying levels of real-world impact and effectiveness.

This is the perfect text for undergraduate and postgraduate students of Politics and International Relations taking courses on International Organization and Global Governance, as well as essential reading for those studying the UN, the EU and Globalization.

Table of Contents

1. Introduction

Abstract
International organizations are a relatively new phenomenon in international relations. They first emerged during the nineteenth century and became ever-more important over the course of the twentieth century. Today, international organizations are involved in nearly all issue areas – from A, as in Arms Control, to Z, as in Zones of Fishing. General purpose international organizations such as the United Nations (UN) or the European Union (EU) cover many different topics, while task-specific organizations such as the International Labour Organization (ILO) or the European Space Agency (ESA) specialize in specific issue areas. Some international organizations, like the UN, have a near universal membership. Others restrict membership on the basis of criteria such as geography, economy, culture or religion; examples include the EU, the African Union (AU), the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC). All these international organizations contribute to establishing and implementing norms and rules which guide the management of transnational, cross-border problems, such as climate change, the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction or international terrorism. It is thus no exaggeration to say that it is difficult to understand contemporary world politics without referring to international organizations.
Volker Rittberger, Bernhard Zangl, Andreas Kruck, Hylke Dijkstra

Theory and History of International Organizations

Frontmatter

2. Theories of International Organizations

Abstract
In this chapter, we look at several theories of international organizations. International organizations are complex. They often have many different member states which all have specific preferences. They also have different constitutional and institutional structures. The day-to-day practice of an international organization can indeed be a mystery to anyone who has not been familiar with that specific international organization for a long time. The purpose of theory is to structure and simplify such complexity. This allows us to identify patterns, trends and causal relationships withinan international organization, but also acrossinternational organizations. For instance, by studying regional integration in Europe (the European Union (EU)), we may also be able to say something about the prospects of regional integration in Africa, Asia or Latin America (the African Union (AU), Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and Mercosur). The aim of theory is therefore to generalize and to put the daily practices into a broader context. By developing and then applying theories, we can better explain and occasionally predict developments in international organizations.
Volker Rittberger, Bernhard Zangl, Andreas Kruck, Hylke Dijkstra

3. History of International Organizations

Abstract
This chapter provides a historical perspective on how international organizations were created and how they developed over time. It starts with the Peace of Westphalia of 1648 and ends with the intention of the Trump administration to withdraw from the Paris Agreement on climate change by the end of 2020. The chapter, however, does not provide a chronological list of events. Rather it seeks to explain where international organizations come from and how they change in response to important developments in world politics. It therefore uses the three theories – realism, institutionalism and constructivism – outlined in the previous chapter to give context and meaning to the history of international organizations.
Volker Rittberger, Bernhard Zangl, Andreas Kruck, Hylke Dijkstra

Policy-Making in International Organizations

Frontmatter

4. International Organizations as Political Systems

Abstract
We conceive of international organizations as political systems. Political systems convert inputs into outputs (Easton 1965). Based on developments in the international environment, political actors formulate demands and provide support for international organizations (inputs). International organizations convert these inputs into decisions and activities (outputs) directed towards the international environment. For instance, when the Gaddafi regime behaved aggressively against its own citizens in Libya in 2011, France and the United Kingdom demanded an international response (input). This provided input for the United Nations (UN) Security Council, which adopted a resolution authorizing the international community ‘to take all necessary measures … to protect civilians and civilian populated areas’ in Libya (Resolution 1973: paragraph 4) (output).
Volker Rittberger, Bernhard Zangl, Andreas Kruck, Hylke Dijkstra

5. Input: Actors’ Demands and Support

Abstract
In the previous chapter, we discussed the constitutional and institutional structure of the political system of international organizations – the venue and the fundamental rules of the game. In this chapter, we focus on the actors by discussing the input dimension. While the venue and rules affect how the actors play the game, and can put certain actors at a disadvantage, they do not determine the ultimate score. We therefore also need to analyse the actors’ motivation, commitment and behaviour. Following the discussion of the constitutional and institutional structures, we therefore focus in this chapter on the actors relevant to international organizations. On the basis of their interests and values, actors formulate their preferences towards international organizations and they provide support (input). For instance, when scientific research showed in the 1970s that certain greenhouse gases had a negative effect on the ozone layer, most states developed preferences on how quickly they wanted to reduce those greenhouse gases (input). The administrative staff of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) with support of environmental non-governmental organizations (NGOs) pushed for a policy programme for the protection of the ozone layer (input). Communities of experts furthermore made additional scientific evidence available (input). All these inputs were converted through negotiations into output: the adoption of the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer in 1987.
Volker Rittberger, Bernhard Zangl, Andreas Kruck, Hylke Dijkstra

6. Conversion: Decision-making in International Organizations

Abstract
International organizations convert inputs into outputs. In this book, we argue that the conversion process is vitally important: two different international organizations may convert similar inputs into different outputs. So what does this conversion process look like? And what is so special about it? In this chapter, we discuss how inputs are transformed into outputs in international organizations. It is important to differentiate, in this respect, between two types of decisions: programme decisions and operational decisions. Programme decisionsare decisions about a set of norms and rules aimed at directing the behaviour of actors. The programme decisions of international organizations mostly set normative standards for the behaviour of their member states and are comparable to law-making at the state level. International organizations that mainly take programme decisions have been defined as programme international organizations (see Chapter 1). Operational international organizations, by contrast, mainly take operational decisions. These decisions relate to the implementation of the norms and rules of existing programmes. This includes activities such as monitoring member states’ compliance with normative standards and enforcing those standards in case of non-compliance. Distinguishing between programme decisions and operational decisions is important, because the decision-making processes frequently differ.
Volker Rittberger, Bernhard Zangl, Andreas Kruck, Hylke Dijkstra

7. Output: What International Organizations Produce

Abstract
International organizations convert inputs into outputs. In the preceding chapters, we have focused on the inputs as well as the structures, actors and processes that shape decision-making in international organizations. But arguably, what matters most is what comes out of international organizations: the policies that international organizations produce. In this chapter we take a systematic look at the main outputs of international organizations.
Volker Rittberger, Bernhard Zangl, Andreas Kruck, Hylke Dijkstra

Activities of International Organizations

Frontmatter

8. Peace and Security

Abstract
International cooperation in the area of security has traditionally been difficult to achieve. Because today’s allies can turn into tomorrow’s enemies, states try to avoid relying on others for their own security and survival. Furthermore, the efforts of states to enhance security by enlarging power (through increasing military capabilities and the formation of alliances) are frequently perceived by other states as threatening. This results in a vicious circle of mutual distrust, security competition and strife for power. Pervasive distrust lies at the heart of this security dilemma (Herz 1950; Jervis 1983). Such mistrust is regarded, in the realist school, as the most fundamental obstacle to international cooperation in the field of security. In addition, states caught in the security dilemma tend to focus not on the absolute gains from cooperation but mostly on their gains relative to others. Even when a state gains from security cooperation in absolute terms, a relative loss compared to others equals a relative decrease in power. This often makes security cooperation a zero-sum game: it is not possible for all states to gain in relative terms.
Volker Rittberger, Bernhard Zangl, Andreas Kruck, Hylke Dijkstra

9. Trade and Development

Abstract
In the area of trade – as in security – there is a dilemma which sets the parameters for international cooperation. The starting point is that free trade tends to be good for economic growth and development. It allows countries to specialize in industries where they have a comparative advantage and larger international markets allow for economies of scale (Ohlin 1933; Krugman 1979; Dixit & Norman 1980). Yet without a central authority, each state can decide its own trade policies. Thus each state may be tempted to raise tariffs, impose import restrictions or provide state aid. This is known as mercantilism: the policy of maximizing trade and accumulating wealth at the expense of other states. It may result in short-term economic gain or provide a lifeline for struggling domestic industries. If, however, all states engage in such opportunistic behaviour, it comes at the expense of overall growth. The economic dilemma thus describes a trap in which trade policies aimed at increasing wealth for individual states place the community of states, and ultimately also each state individually, in a worse situation than would have been the case with effective cooperation. This economic dilemma therefore resembles the Prisoner’s Dilemma (see Chapter 2). An open international economy may furthermore result in greater economic disparities between richer and poorer countries. For instance, if poorer countries specialize in labour-intensive industries (as they have the comparative advantage of lower wages), it will be difficult for them to ‘upgrade’ their economy (Lin & Chang 2009). There is thus a need to provide assistance to developing countries to allow them to compete in the international economy.
Volker Rittberger, Bernhard Zangl, Andreas Kruck, Hylke Dijkstra

10. Finance and Monetary Relations

Abstract
In the previous chapter, we outlined the economic dilemma. Through tariffs and non-tariff barriers, states can pursue economic advantages at the expense of other states. Such mercantilist policies ultimately result in a situation where all states are worse off. International organizations can provide an answer to this dilemma by monitoring the implementation of trade agreements and providing adjudication in case of trade disputes. Yet by having open economics and engaging in international trade, states face another range of potential problems. First, there is a financing problem: for international trade, states need some stability in the exchange rates. They also need guarantees that they – and the companies in their countries – get their investment and loans back and that other states do not simply default on their debts. If states do not have such guarantees, they will less likely engage in international trade. Second, there is a monetary problem: states can try to get a competitive advantage for their domestic industries through the devaluation of their national currencies. If states put on the ‘money press’, their currencies may lose value resulting in more beneficial exchange rates, which benefits exporting industries. This may, once again, result in a negative ‘race to the bottom’ in which countries compete by reducing the values of their currencies.
Volker Rittberger, Bernhard Zangl, Andreas Kruck, Hylke Dijkstra

11. The Environment

Abstract
When it comes to environmental protection, states face similar dilemmas to those in security and the economy. While states may protect the environment within their own territories, for instance by designating national parks or fining polluters (Hardin 1968), they may be less concerned about environmental protection beyond their borders. The trouble is that many environmental problems have a cross-border or even global dimension. The effects of river pollution – whether in the Rhine, the Danube or the Nile – will be felt downstream. Increased greenhouse gas emission in one state may result in further global warming. In an anarchical international system, this may lead to a situation where states have an incentive to free ride on the efforts of other states. After all, if other states already reduce greenhouse gases, why bother to join them? If, however, all follow this strategy of free riding, not a single state would benefit economically and the environmental situation would worsen for all. Thus, the environmental dilemma describes a social trap in which behaviour aimed at gains for individual states places both the community of states collectively and also each state individually in a worse situation than would have been the case with effective international cooperation.
Volker Rittberger, Bernhard Zangl, Andreas Kruck, Hylke Dijkstra

12. Human Rights

Abstract
Human rights pose a different dilemma for international cooperation from security, the economy and the environment (Donnelly 2006; Simmons 2009). The human rights dilemma is not based on material interdependencies between states. Human rights violations in one country do not automatically affect the human rights situation in another country. The human rights dilemma derives ‘only’ from moral interdependencies across state borders: human rights violations in one state can give rise to moral outrage in other states resulting in an active international human rights policy (Risse & Sikkink 1999: 22–24). The existence of such international moral interdependencies crucially depends on the activities of transnational networks of human rights organizations, which construct local human rights violations as global problems requiring governance beyond the state. Even more than in other issue areas, global human rights problems are socially constructed rather than naturally given issues of international governance. Indeed, until rather recently, human rights were mostly considered domestic rather than international matters.
Volker Rittberger, Bernhard Zangl, Andreas Kruck, Hylke Dijkstra

Conclusion

Frontmatter

13. Between a World State and International Anarchy: Images of World Order

Abstract
In this book we have shown that international organizations through their programme and operational activities contribute to the cooperative management of international problems. We have argued that the creation and implementation of international norms and rules depends on the existence and internal workings of international organizations. By considering international organizations as political systems, we can identify how they convert inputs into outputs and thus respond to developments in the international environment. This approach is important, because it allows us to analyse how different international organizations convert inputs into different outputs. While our evaluations of the effectiveness of international organizations have also shown that they are no panacea, international organizations are nonetheless key actors in global governance and the broader international environment.
Volker Rittberger, Bernhard Zangl, Andreas Kruck, Hylke Dijkstra
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