Free Essay On Why Do States Form International Organizations

Type of paper: Essay

Topic: Organization, World, Business, Commerce, United Nations, Trade, Europe, Relationships

Pages: 8

Words: 2200

Published: 2020/12/19


International organizations are institutions that draw their association from at least three wiling states, having an active relationship with several other countries and its members bound by a formally signed agreement. These institutions are diverse; they can be simple or complex as to size, geographical location of their members, their purpose and structure. International organizations have long been established even before the occurrence of formalities needed for their foundation. During the period of Napoleon and earlier wars, IOs served mainly to preserve the state of affairs and protect the government from insurgencies. Today, states form international organizations not only as a way to settle disputes among countries, but also to foster the achievement of goals that a sovereign state cannot do on its own. This paper aims to discuss some of the international organizations and their functions in relations to why states endeavored to be part of that particular organization.
States form international organizations with the objective of gathering and disseminating information, “that enable the analysis of contemporary trends and the drawing of lessons” (Böhning, 1999). This information can be in the form of statistical data and other materials that can be used to perform scientific and other comparative studies intended at modernizing knowledge, opening out of international business opportunities, as well as research and development on other humanitarian causes. Two examples of organization engaged in such activities are the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), and the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP). UNESCO is an agency of the United Nations that is aimed at contributing to international peace and security through fostering collaboration among nations in the field of science, culture, education and communication. By the charter of the United Nations, this agency is targeted at upholding “universal respect for justice, for the rule of law, and for the human rights and fundamental freedom” (UNESCO), the privileges bestowed to all individuals through-out the globe regardless of sex, race or religion. With the objectives of UNESCO are its main functions of encouraging scientific studies, increasing and spreading the information and enhancing an understanding among people through effective communication. UNEP on the other hand is aimed at assisting diverse states in identifying environmental concerns, and to circulate gathered information about the problems. This is to facilitate the collection of common agreements among states on how to better address the environmental concern (UNEP, 2001).
Another reason why states form international organization is to bring countries as one through various meetings with the goal of creating cooperation or agree on a course of action to be followed regarding an issue of international concern. An independent IO, instead of a dominant country stands as the facilitator of collaboration among states in pushing negotiations forward (Abbot, K and Snidal, D, 2010) At first glance, there is a conflict of interest in fostering this cooperation among states as there are instances when an organization of nation’s collective interest could specifically run against a country’s individual interest. One example as cited in Goldstein and Pevehouse’ International Relations is the goal of every nation of minimizing global warming. While this goal can be achieved by collective efforts of every nation, it is an irony that every country is dependent on the burning of fuels to maintain its economy. The impact is that in cases where majority of the country would not comply with the common consensus in the spirit of their national interest, they would find that the effect is more chaotic as “mutual gains from security and trade would disappear” (Goldstein 2008).
With the sovereignty of every nation, and the absence of a world central government to check or impose restrictions on every state, it would be difficult to trace which member is not doing its part of the bargain. This is where the basic principles fundamental in social sciences can be applied in order to make a nation cooperate for the common good.
Dominance- In global affairs, this principle works as the top actor or the members in the higher hierarchy can order the guidelines for other members. One good example is the Security Council of the United Nations where the five of the superior armed powers hold a veto. The benefit of having this principle is that it lessens conflict among countries
as the stronger nations holds peaceful relations among them (Goldstien 2008).
Reciprocity- The reciprocity principle offers a solution to the quandary on collective goods through the imposition of rewards to actions that enhances the objective of the group while giving sanction to those that cater to their self-interest at the disadvantage of the group to which they are a member (Goldstein 2008). An example of this principle is in the import-export system where country A opens a market for country B’s commodities. To reciprocate the goodwill, country B will in turn open a market for the formers goods.
Identity- A state’s contribution in rendering supports to other countries, to the promotion of international health and world peace speaks not only of self-interest but also of a country’s want to be recognized by its proclaimed self-identity in the global community.
In some instances, a nation can sometimes be in a condition where it needed to request for some assistance regarding issues within and outside of its territory. Intergovernmental organizations are then requested to provide aid in the form of intellectual, financial, and other support that can be helpful. This is where the functionalism as a theory of international relations comes into the picture. The theory on functionalism in relation to international relations is the “assumption that states can create a peaceful world society through gradualistic and pragmatic cooperation with one another in technical and economic sectors activity” (University of Massachusetts). It was the belief of David Mitrany, the advocate of functionalism that a peaceful society can be achieved albeit gradually.

The European Union

One of the organizations that represent the theory of functionalism is the European Union. The European Union characterizes one of the most effective tests on regional cooperation and global relationships. Initially, in 1951 there were only six states that comprised the European Union: Belgium, Germany, France, Italy, Luxembourg and Netherlands. The idea behind the formation of the organization is to enhance trading among the member countries. It was argued that nations that are constantly in an association with one another such as import and export relationships became interdependent in the economic sense and so is likely to avoid conflict. With the success of the union, there was a sudden increase in the number of its member with Croatia being the 28th country to join in 2013 (European Commission, 2014)

United Nations

The United Nations was a cooperation of 51 countries in 1945, with the intent to maintain international peace and security after the devastating effect of the Second World War. It advocates not only peace treaties but also of friendly relations, social improvement, enhanced living standards and human rights (United Nations, 2015). The appeal of being a member of the United Nations can be explained by the wide and unique characters of the organization:

The work of the United Nations reaches every corner of the globe. Although

Best known for peacekeeping, peace building, conflict prevention and
humanitarian assistance, there are many other ways the United Nations and
its System affect our lives and make the world a better place. The organization
works on a broad range of fundamental issues, from sustainable development,
in order to achieve its goals and coordinate efforts for a safer world for this
and future generations (United Nations, 2015)

The United Nations was established in three major principles:

The equality of every state; that is every state has its legal sovereignty equal to that of other member states.
The United Nations accommodate only those that concern international problems such as human rights, global telecommunications and environmental regulation.
With the major objective of the United States in maintaining global peace and security, the member states are obliged to desist from using threat or power and resolve disagreements in a peaceful manner (Essentials of International Relations, 2010).

World Trade Organization

With the globalization of business and trading, the World Trade Organization became a major organization that serves states in the global trading arena. It was established in 1995 resulting from the Uruguay meetings of the GAT signatories (Moellendorf, 2005). To this day, the WTO is the only international institution that caters to the rules of trading among nations. One of the goals of WTO is to assist manufacturers of goods and providers of services, exporters and importers on how they conduct their business. By June of 2014, there were already 160 member nations of the WTO (World Trade Organization, 2015), but what attract states to join this organization?

The Benefits of Being a Member of WTO

One of the benefits of joining the World Trade Organization is the enjoying the freedom to trade internationally with lower tariffs and non-tariff barriers opening the opportunity for better economic prosperity (Balding, 2010). This is because of the theory that no country would want to be at war with an economic partner. A nation can then conduct trading relationships knowing that any dispute can be settled in a peaceful manner. Since the inception of the WTO, there were about 300 trading disputes settled through the aid of the WTO intervention. Despite the increasing number of disputes being handled by this organization, it is with irony that it this disputes does not result to political tension among countries. The system of WTO works in two ways: a) concerned parties negotiate on common rules, and b) disputes are settled in accordance with the agreed rules (World Trade Organizations, 2015). The growing number disputes actually reflect the faith of the nation members on the system on its ability to settle their differences (World Trade Organization, 2015).
The World trade Organization also aimed to reduce inequality among nations, by allowing smaller countries to have equal participation on agreements and other concerns. The system benefitted both the small and bigger countries differently such that the former can enjoy an increased in their bargaining power while the latter are given advantage of using the single forum of WTO to negotiate with its numerous economic partners. More importantly, the non-discrimination encouraged by this organization increases the chances for smaller nations to excel in international trading.


International organizations are created from the membership of different states; these institutions vary depending on their size, location and even their purpose. International organization function to serve such purposes such as collecting and distributing information, setting of standards and fostering cooperation among countries, as well as engage in technical cooperation activities. Three of the most noted international organizations are the European Union, United Nations and the World Trade Organizations. These IOs are aimed at fostering harmonious relationships and peace not only among their members but also with other non-members.


Abbot, K, Snidal, D, 2010. Why States Act Through formal International Organizations. The Journal of Conflict Resolutions, vol. 42, no. 1, pp. 3-32
Balding, C 1997, ‘Joining the World Trade Organization: What is the Impact?’ Review of International Economics, vol. 18, no. 1, pp. 193-206
Böhning, W, 1999. The Role and Functions of International Organizations in the field of Migrant Workers. Available from
EUNESCO- United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization. Available from
Essentials of International Relations, 2010. Intergovernmental Organizations, Nongovernmental Organizations and International Law. Available from
European Commission, 2014. European Neighborhood and Enlargement. Available from http://www
Goldstein, J 2008, Core Principles of International Relations Theory. Available from
Moellendorf, D 2005, ‘The World Trade Organization and Egalitarian Justice’. Metaphilosophy, vol. 36, nos.1/2 pp. 145-162
The ILO: Role, Relations with the commission, Exchange of Letters. Available from
UNEP, 2001. The Role of International Organizations in the Development of environmental Law: A Case of UNEP. Available from
United Nations, 2015. UN at a Glance. Available from
World Trade Organization 2015, 10 Benefits of the WTO Trading System. Available from
World Trade Organization 2015, Understanding the WTO: The Organization. Available from
World Trade Organization 2015, Settle Disputes and Reduce trade Tension. Available from

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