You are on page 1of 16

MPA 04 Public Policy and Analysis UNIT II: Public Policy Making Role of International Agencies in Public Policy

y Learning Objectives At the end of the unit you will be able to:

Understand the role of International Agencies in formulation of public policy. Have an understanding of the evaluation and role of the United Nations and its allied organs and other international agency in the formulation of public policy.

Introduction With the globalization of world economy, the role of International Agencies is becoming increasingly significant and ultimate for policy-making. There are about 1,963 International Agencies in the world today and they deal extensively both with global challenges and country specific issues. The number of International Agencies is constantly growing, as well as their impact on world matters. The major and most significant International Agencies are those of the UN system, but there are also key intercontinental and regional organisations. It will be true to say that today the independent behaviour of state actors is becoming more limited because of their obligations to international and regional agreements, regimes and institutions. The reality of growing complex interdependence facilitates a structure of global governance, radically challenging state-centric approaches to international policy-making. In contemporary world politics International Agencies deal not only with such universal challenges as global warming or HIV/AIDS, uniting efforts of states to respond to them, but also with many other issues, which have been considered state matters, and International Agencies affect interests of states in such areas as healthcare, financial policies, electoral processes or other domestic issues. International Agencies pose sanctions on states, transform their economies and financial systems, and change their political and institutional landscapes (e.g. UN Security Council, WTO, IMF etc).

International Agencies role and influence in world politics is growing. They produce systemic effects on the international system with their policy-making independent of states interests, though interests of some states and International Agencies may overlap. International Agencies autonomy is mostly based on the assumptions that International Agencies are intergovernmental in nature and cannot act independently. However, International Agencies policy-making behaviour shows that International Agencies can work transnationally, above the level of inter-state cooperation, and produce independent effects. International Agencies are enabled by states, but then they tend to act on their own. International Agencies are international bureaucracies with their internal norms, rules and interests. International Agencies policy-making has an essential normative dimension: International Agencies construct social norms and values, create their agendas and implement policies based on their knowledge and expertise. International Agencies have their own authority, which make them act autonomously. International Agencies autonomous behaviour deals with a broad range of policy areas (trade, finance, health etc.) and they affect interests of states because of their independent policy-making. However, International Agencies can affect not only interests of state in these areas, but also state system and sovereignty International Agencies may construct new norms and values for states, restructure them, and even create new ones. International Agencies ability to initiate policies and get support for them from states also shows a very high level of their autonomy as non-state actors. The role and activities of International Agencies are to a large extent autonomous in world politics. The United Nations The establishment of the United Nations came as result of the need to address international issues which its predecessor, the League of Nations (1919-1939), failed to resolve. The League of Nations was created at the outcome of World War-I as a way for to mediate between warring states and to reduce the occurrence of war. The establishment of the United Nations came from the need for nations who were at war during World War II (1939-1945) to replace the alliance systems of the past for a peaceful system of collective security and for peaceful resolution of conflicts.

The most important aspect in the origin of the United Nations is the formation of its Charter. The Charter represents the basis of the organization and directs and limits the possible and engaged action of the organization. The Charter was drawn up by the representatives of fifty countries at the United Nations Conference on International Organization who met in San Francisco from April 25 to June 26, 1945. Guided by the Charter, the purposes of the United Nations Organization are numerous and global in nature. The basic principles of the organization include: maintaining international peace and security, developing friendly relations among all nations; initiating, promoting and coordinating international efforts to solve economic, cultural, social and humanitarian problems throughout the globe; promoting respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms; and, providing a center for harmonizing the efforts of nations in the attainment of common ends. The United Nations is, by the very nature of its global outlook, a complex structure composed of inter-related working units. These units are primarily referred as organs, commissions and programmes and specialized agencies. The United Nations is basically composed of six organs which are also the largest autonomous councils and working groups of the United Nations. The United Nations commissions and programmes are operated by specialized groups normally concerned with specific matters of concern to organs of the United Nations. Thus, these commissions and programmes are under the authority of an organ of the United Nations. The specialized agencies of the United Nations are autonomous working units devoted to specific areas of United Nations work and coordinated by the Economic and Social Council. Organs of the United Nations: The six main organs of the United Nations Organisation are: The General Assembly. The United Nations Secretariat. The Security Council. The International Court of Justice.

The Trusteeship Council. The Economic and Social Council. All the five wings of the United Nations are based in New York except The International Court of Justice which is located in The Hague, the Netherlands. The General Assembly Established in 1945 under the Charter of the United Nations and situated in New York, the UN General Assembly is the main deliberative, policymaking and representative body of the United Nations. Comprising all 193 Members of the United Nations, it provides a unique forum for multilateral discussion of the full spectrum of international issues covered by the UN Charter. It also plays a significant role in the process of standardsetting and the codification of international law. The Assembly meets in regular session intensively from September to December each year, and thereafter as required. The UN General Assembly is responsible for considering and making recommendations on principles of international cooperation in the maintenance of peace and security including those principles that govern disarmament and the regulation of arms. It discusses and makes recommendations on any question that lies within the scope of the UN Charter or that affects the powers and functions of any of the organs of the United Nations. It discusses and takes action on any problem affecting peace and security except where a situation or dispute is being discussed by the UN Security Council. It initiates studies and make recommendations to promote international political cooperation; development of international law and its codification; realization of human rights and fundamental freedoms for all; and promote international collaboration in economic, cultural, social, educational and health fields. It makes recommendations for the peaceful settlement of any political situation, regardless of its origin, which might harm friendly relations among nations. It elects the 10 non-permanent members of the Security Council and the 54 members of the Economic and Social Council and 5 judges of the International Court of Justice and to appoint the Secretary-General. It approves the budget of the United Nations and to divide this budget among the Members of the United Nations in the form of contributions that are made to the organization. The UN General Assembly is neither a legislature nor a parliament. By respecting the sovereignty of

its Members, the General Assembly offers a forum in which its member nations share views and come to understandings on various political and social issues. India continued to have played an active role in the United Nations on various issues. In addition to being a major troop contributor, India has played a significant and constructive role in the UN activities in economic, social and developmental areas. The United Nations Secretariat The enormous administrative functions of the United Nations are performed by the Secretariat which is headed the Secretary-General of the United Nations who is appointed by the General Assembly on the recommendation of the Security Council for a five-year renewable term. This organ is in operation throughout the year and services the programmes and policies laid down by all parts of the organization. Though the headquarters of the Secretariat is located in New York, employees of the Secretariat work at various locations situated throughout the world wherever the United Nations Organization is in operation. Their tasks and responsibilities of the Secretariat include informing the worlds communication media about the work of the United Nations; organizing and holding international conferences on matters of global concern; and assisting the Secretary-General in all enterprises he might undertake. The Security Council The Security Council of the United Nations is composed of fifteen Member nations. Five of these are permanent and the remaining ten are elected by the General Assembly for two-year terms. The Permanent Members of the Security Council are; China, France, Britain, Russian Federation and the United States of America. The Security Council of the United Nations is responsible to maintain international peace and security in accordance with the purposes and principles of the United Nations. It investigates any dispute or situation which might lead to international friction and recommends methods of adjusting disputes between nations or terms of settlement for such disputes. It formulates plans for the establishment of a system to regulate arms and determines the existence of a threat to the peace or act of aggression and to recommend what action should be taken. It calls upon Members of the United Nations to apply economic

sanctions and other measures not involving the use of force in order to stop or prevent aggression. Initiates military action against an aggressor and exercise the trusteeship functions of the United Nations in strategic areas. The International Court of Justice The International Court of Justice (ICJ) which is situated in The Hague, Netherlands, is the principal judicial body of the United Nations. The International Court of Justice is composed of 15 judges that are elected by both the Security Council and the General Assembly. The body functions under the internationally agreed upon Statute of the International Court of Justice that is an integral part of the Charter of the United Nations. Each Member of the United Nations has automatic access to the Court and each Member is pledged to comply with the decisions of the Court in any case to which it is a party. The jurisdiction of the International Court of Justice includes all cases that are referred to it through the parties involved in the case. In addition to these, the Court has jurisdiction over all matters specially provided for in the Charter of the United Nations or through treaties and conventions in force. The International Court of Justice also performs an important function in giving advisory opinions on legal matters. The only bodies at present authorized to request advisory opinions of the Court are the five organs of the United Nations and sixteen specialized agencies of the United Nations. The Trusteeship Council This organ of the United Nations composed of the Permanent Members of the Security Council promoted the development of self-government and independence of Trust Territories. The function of the Trusteeship Council was to supervise the steadily decreasing number of Trust Territories that existed. Trust Territories were the successors of the League of Nations mandates. These were transferred over to the Trusteeship Council of the United Nations after the League of Nations ceased to exist. The Trusteeship Council suspended its operations after the granting of independence to the last Trust Territory, Palau, in 1994. The Economic and Social Council

The Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) is composed of fifty-four Members. Eighteen of these Members are elected to their positions by the General Assembly every year, serving on ECOSOC for a three-year term. The Economic and Social Council are to be responsible for the economic and social activities of the United Nations, to make or initiate studies, reports and recommendations on international economic, social, cultural, educational, health and related matters, to promote the respect of human rights and fundamental freedoms throughout the world; to coordinate the Specialized Agencies of the United Nations by means of consultation with these agencies as well as through recommendations to the General Assembly of the United Nations; to perform services, approved by the General Assembly, for Members of the United Nations and, upon request, for the Specialized Agencies; and to consult with non-governmental organizations throughout the world that are concerned with matters with which the Economic and Social Council deals. Role of Specialized Agencies of UN and Public Policy Specialized agencies are autonomous organizations working with the United. They may or may not have been originally created by the United Nations, but they are incorporated into the United Nations System by the United Nations Economic and Social Council acting under Articles 57 and 63 of the United Nations Charter. At present the UN has in total 16 specialized agencies that carry out various functions on behalf of the UN. They are as follows: 1. Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) 2. International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) 3. International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) 4. International Labour Organization (ILO) 5. International Maritime Organization (IMO) 6. International Monetary Fund (IMF) 7. International Telecommunication Union (ITU) 8. United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) 9. United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO)

10. Universal Postal Union (UPU) 11. The World Bank 12. World Health Organization (WHO) 13. World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) 14. World Meteorological Organization (WMO) 15. World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) 16. International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Some of them which play a direct and vital role in formulating and shaping policies of the governments around the world are need to be discussed below: The World Bank The World Bank is one of five institutions created at the Bretton Woods Conference in 1944. The International Monetary Fund, a related institution, is the second. The World Banks support to innovation in development finance ranges from raising funds to working with partners in designing and implementing efficient and effective financial solutions, to creating and sharing knowledge. The Bank has also been at the forefront of designing, implementing and managing innovative finance solutions at the global, regional and country levels to address specific development problems on the ground. It also has assisted in the identification and formulating policies help reducing carbon emissions, moving to a programmatic approach through the Carbon Partnership Facility and promoting carbon projects in member countries to benefit from carbon finance including through the Forest Carbon Partnership Facility. Indias association with the World Bank dates back to its earliest days. India was one of the 17 countries which met in Atlantic City, USA in June 1944 to prepare the agenda for the Bretton Woods conference, and one of the 44 countries which signed the final Agreement that established the Bank. India remains the Banks largest single borrower which touched $2.9 billion in 2005 more than double the amount lent a year earlier. The bulk of new lending has gone to much-needed infrastructure and human development projects, reflecting the rapid growth of India's economy. The World Bank is the largest

financers of Indias National Aids Control Program (NACP) with a commitment of around US$275 million in interest-free credits. Its assistance has helped the government of India to develop its ability to manage HIV/AIDS programs at the central and state level and has enabled important gains in improving blood safety, expanding surveillance to understand the scope of the problem, and scaling up activities aimed at prevention and treatment. With support from the World Bank and other donors, the government set up state AIDS bodies in 25 states and seven Union territories. The World Bank support more widely across Indias poorest states. A key focus of its work has been supporting fiscal reforms, reducing corruption, and increasing accountability of state governments. At the national level the Bank is financing programs critical to achieving the Millennium Development Goals under common arrangements with other development partners. For last several years, World Bank has been assisting Indias energy sector. It has been a key partner in the governments efforts to develop its national power grid, and has provided technical assistance aimed at increasing the access of poor people to electricity and clean, affordable fuel. The World Bank has also lend it support to Government of Indias efforts popularize the use internet technology to reduce corruption and increase public accountability. Banks support for the Government of Indias nation-wide Education for All program - Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA) is not only helping the country to universalize education for 6 to 14 year-olds by 2010, but also working to improve its quality. International Monetary Fund (IMF) Since its establishment in 1946, the International Monetary Fund has been working to promote international monetary cooperation across the globe. The IMF has enabled nations to work together on international monetary problems, on currency convertibility and stabilization problems. The IMF has also expanded its operations to offer financial and technical assistance, supervision of certain countries financial decision making and loans to those with negative commercial balance. It ensures balanced international trade, exchange rate stability, eliminate or to minimize exchange restrictions by promoting the system of multilateral payments, grant economic assistance to member countries for eliminating the adverse imbalance in balance of payments and minimize imbalances in

quantum and duration of international trade. IMF has played an important role in Indian economy by providing economic assistance from time to time and has also provided appropriate consultancy in determination of various policies in the country. Till 1970, India was among the first five nations having the highest quota with the International Monetary Fund and due to this status India was allotted a permanent place in Executive Board of Directors. In July 2004, India and International Monetary Fund joint training programme at the National Institute of Bank Management, Pune was established. Member states with balance of payments problems may request loans and/or organizational management of their national economies. In return, the countries are usually required to launch certain reforms, an example of which is the "Washington Consensus". These reforms are generally required because countries with fixed exchange rate policies can 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 in their future. 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 recklessness. The IMF has three principal functions and activities: (1) surveillance of financial and monetary conditions in its member countries and of the world economy, (2) financial assistance to help countries overcome major balance of payments problems, and (3) technical assistance and advisory services to member countries. Surveillance IMF members agree to pursue economic and financial policies that will produce orderly economic growth with reasonable price stability, to avoid erratic disruptions in the international monetary system, not to manipulate their exchange rates in order to attain unfair competitive advantage or shift economic burdens to other countries, and to follow exchange rate policies compatible with these commitments. The member states are required to provide the IMF with information and to consult with the IMF upon its request. The IMF staff generally meets each year with each member country regarding its


current fiscal and monetary policies, the state of its economy, its exchange rate situation, and other relevant concerns. The IMFs reports on its annual consultations with each country are presented to the IMF executive board along with the staffs observations and recommendations about possible improvements in the countrys economic policies and practices. Financial assistance When its member countries experience balance of payments (BOP) difficulties, either through capital account or current account crises, the IMF can make loans designed to help them stabilize their international payments situation and adopt policy changes sufficient to reverse their situation and overcome their problems. Technical assistance The IMFs technical assistance and advisory programs have become increasingly important in recent years. Indeed, some analysts now term this as IMFs most important function. While the specific types of reform vary from case to case, IMF technical assistance operations focus primarily on its core areas of expertise which is financial and macroeconomic policy management. Any member country may request that the IMF provide it with technical assistance. The IMFs Technical Assistance department plays a key role in the implementation of the IMFs development-oriented strategy. Many subdepartments are reporting increased demand for assistance in areas such as government transparency, compliance with international standards and codes, strengthening domestic financial systems and poverty reduction. Demand has been especially great in the areas of fiscal policy and administration of technical assistance. In addition to helping countries design appropriate fiscal policies, the latter areas help them build the institutions needed to support and implement them.

United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO)


The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization or UNESCO is a specialized agency of the United Nations established in 1946 with its headquarters in Paris, France. As its name cites, it works in the global fields of education, social and natural sciences, information & communication, and culture With Palestine added as a member in November 2011, UNESCO has 196 Member and eight Associate Members. 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 programmes; international science programmes; 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 digital divide. UNESCO's largest sectoral activity, education, is the field for constant but changing endeavor. From originally helping to reconstruct educational systems in war-torn Europe and carrying out isolated, modest projects elsewhere, UNESCO has progressed to largescale undertakings, such as literacy campaigns, rural development, science teaching, educational planning and administration, and teacher training. UNESCO's major education activities have focused on basic education, the renewal of educational systems and educational advancement and policy. Emergency assistance programs and reconstruction operations in the field of education were carried out in such countries as Afghanistan, Albania, Angola, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Cambodia, Croatia, Iraq, Lebanon, Mozambique, Slovenia, and Somalia. UNESCO also promotes studies and teaching in the fields of drugs, population, and the environment. In cooperation with WHO, the Organization has elaborated a joint prototype curriculum for AIDS education in schools and disseminated documents and guidelines to support AIDS education programs in member states. In specific educational areas, UNESCO's work is supported by three separate institutes which conduct research and training programs. The International Bureau of Education (IBE), located in Geneva, serves as an international center for studies and publications on comparative education. The International Institute


for Educational Planning (IIEP), in Paris, organizes an annual nine-month training program for education planners and administrators, and offers training courses in the planning, financing and management of education. The Institute for Education (UIE), located in Hamburg, focuses on adult and non-formal education, within the framework of lifelong learning. UNESCO is the only organization within the UN system to have a mandate for the basic sciences. This mandate implies UNESCO's commitment to the promotion of multilateral, international, and regional cooperation for the training of specialists from developing countries in university science education and basic research in the four core areas of basic science, namely mathematics, physics, chemistry, and biology. Projects to be implemented in these and allied, interdisciplinary areas are selected for the impact they will have on strengthening national capacities, enabling access to current scientific information, human resources development, and their real or potential impact on sustainable development. UNESCO encourages the development of the social and human sciences at the international and regional levels by promoting training and research activities, as well as international exchanges. In the fields of peace, human rights, and democracy, UNESCO's activities are aimed at the promotion and protection of human rights, consolidation of peace and democracy, as well as at the prevention and elimination of all forms of discrimination by means of research and education, dissemination of information and publications, and organization of meetings in cooperation with governments, intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations. UNESCO's activities in this field have led to the elaboration of important international instruments UNESCO's main cultural activities are devoted to safeguarding the cultural heritage, preserving and fostering respect for cultural identities and diversity, and promoting creative and intellectual expression. Under the terms of its constitution, UNESCO was entrusted with the task of "ensuring the preservation and protection of the world heritage of works of art and monuments of historic or scientific interest."


UNESCO has particularly close relationship with India. Data made available by Regional Office of Science and Technology for South and Central Asia (ROSTSCA), it is estimated that, over these years, more than 900 specific activities have been undertaken by UNESCO in the south Asia region. Out of these about 70 per cent has been supported in India. These activities could be discussed broadly wider four heads, (a) Strengthening the capabilities in science; (b) Science policy related activities; (c) Information systems for science and technology; and (d) Science, society and development. It undertakes several activities including a round table with lawmakers, cultural events involving famous artists, musicians and students to create awareness about various social and cultural issues. In the field of science, the Department of Science and Technology of Government of India is the nodal office for interaction with UNESCO. UNESCO's Regional Office of Science and Technology for South and Central Asia (ROSTSCA) is located in New Delhi. World Health Organization (WHO) Established on 7 April 1948, with headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland, The World Health Organization (WHO) works toward the goal of the highest possible levels of health for all. WHO helps to launch campaigns to eradicate mass diseases such as malaria and tuberculosis while coordinating efforts to control the spread of epidemics such as HIV/AIDS. The agency trains health workers at all levels and promotes international medical research while working in cooperation with civil society and a wide range of NGOs across the globe. The WHO supports the development and distribution of safe and effective vaccines, pharmaceutical diagnostics, and drugs, such as through the Expanded Program on Immunization The organization develops and promotes the use of evidencebased tools, norms and standards to support Member States to inform health policy options. It oversees the implementation of the International Health Regulations, and publishes a series of medical classifications including the International Statistical Classification of Diseases (ICD), the International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health (ICF), the International Classification of Health Interventions (ICHI) and the Pandemic Influenza Preparedness Framework (PIP Framework).The WHO regularly publishes a World Health Report including an expert assessment of a

specific global health topic. The organization has published tools for monitoring the capacity of national health systems and health workforces to meet primary health care goals. In addition, the WHO carries out various health-related campaigns for example, to boost the consumption of fruits and vegetables worldwide and to discourage tobacco use. Each year, the organization marks World Health Day focusing on a specific health promotion topic. WHO conducts or supports health research in areas of communicable diseases, reproductive health, non-communicable conditions and injuries, neglected tropical diseases, health policy and systems. The WHO also promotes the development of capacities in Member States to use and produce research that addresses national needs, by bolstering national health research systems and promoting knowledge translation platforms such as the Evidence-Informed Policy Network (EVIPNet). The World Health Organisation works towards attainment of the highest possible level of health by the people of India. It provides technical expertise in public health through partnerships with Ministry of Health and Family Welfare; state and local governments; development and other partners; and civil society; with focus on: promoting health as a fundamental human right, and working to place health as an integral part of sustainable socio-economic development for the people of India. CONCLUSION With the globalization of world economy, the role of International Agencies has become quite vital in policy-making process. Today, International Agencies are quite capable to transform economies and financial systems of a state and even change its political and institutional landscapes. International Agencies construct social norms and values, create their agendas and implement policies based on their knowledge and expertise. They deemed vital in governance and management of a political, social and economic system.



1. Discuss the role and importance of various international agencies in policy

2. Discuss the policy making role of various international agencies in India.

3. Describe the organizational structure of the United Nations and its role in fast changing economic, social and political environment in world. 4. Has international agencies lived up to its role as a medium of social, political and economic change in developing countries. Discuss. 5. Discuss viability of international agencies like UN Security Council and its role in fostering democratic practices.


David Armstrong, Lorna Lloyd, John Redmond. International Organisation in World Politics. Third Edition. Palgrave Macmillan, New York, 2004.

Michael Barnett, Martha Finnemore, Rules for the World: International Organizations in Global Politics. Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 2004.

Yoram Z. Haftel, Alexander Thompson, The Independence of International Organizations: Concept and Applications, Journal of Conflict Resolution 2006; 50.

Craig Murphy, International Organization and Industrial Change: Global Governance Since 1850. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1994.

Bob Reinalda, Bertjan Verbeek (eds), Decision making within international organizations; with a foreword by Robert W. Cox. London : Routledge, 2004.