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POLS 2080 (26)
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Chapter Ten Summary

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University of Guelph
Political Science
POLS 2080
Adam Sneyd

Chapter Ten: The UN and MultilateralActors Introduction  What is multilateralism? o Refers to arrangements among three or more states o The purposes are peaceful, and over extended periods o Multilateralism can help governments improve their standing, influence, security, or economic advantage The United Nations System  The UN was established at the conclusion of World War II (replaced the League of Nations, which was weak)  Original goals: world peace and prosperity  Dominated by the United States from its beginning –the US was the only country with the military, diplomatic, and financial ability o “Open to all but would reflect the strategic preferences of the US” o They recruited France, China, UK, and Soviet Union –the UN Security Council  Decolonization led to its expansion, with greater influence for the General Assembly  The UN was the “mother church” of developmental optimism  The 1960s brought in a time that focused less on the reconstruction of Europe and more on the long term goal of developing the South, particularly countries formerly under colonial rule o This was altered because of decolonization and the fact that one-country-one-vote was proving to no longer work to the advantage of the North  The collapse of communism restored US leadership and led to the undermining of UN rules about the use of armed force (American unilateralism) o Even with the UN peace forces going into the conflicts the US still acted with other right wing Anglo governments  Today, the UN has lost the leadership in development initiatives o The US began to favour the IMF, the WTO, and the World Bank Origin and Oversight of UN Agencies  Premised on o an optimistic view about modern science and management methods o the view that development is just a set of technical problems o the view that development could be diffused from the developed into the underdeveloped world o the view of international cooperation and solidarity  Development should be the main goal of the Economic and Social Council (ECOSEC) o Unfortunately while it‟s the world‟s forum for policy it has little authority in any aspect  UN organizations’ three categories: o Specialized agencies (autonomous) –established by intergovernmental treaties  The World Bank and IMF are technically specialized agencies  Funding for agencies is supplied through mandatory contributions for each country o UN organs, programs, or funds (directly accountable to the General Assembly)  Funding is through voluntary contributions of the members of the UN  They receive incentives to perform well or at least sell that what they‟re doing is good o Peacekeeping and humanitarian agencies (directly accountable to the Secretary General) The Agencies Food, Agriculture, and Rural Development  Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) was established as a specialized agency (1945) o Mandate: Provide governments with information and policy advice on nutrition, food, agriculture, and rural development.  FAO has been a promoter of the „Green Revolution‟ –which was the push for green technologies for farmers with money, land, and skills o FAO has been criticized for working closely with global agri-business –in 2009 it had 35 partnerships with private firms  FAO promoted food security and issues of nutrition  FAO has been challenged by the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), established by non- Western governments o Led by OPEC they provided funding for it to channel into rural development programs Health, Children, and Women  World Health Organization (WHO) was established as a specialized agency (1948) o Mandate: to promote all-round physical, mental, and social well-being  Promotes research and knowledge-sharing and sets standards for health practices and biological and pharmaceutical products  WHO has been criticized for lack of transparency and responsiveness  WHO has been criticized for working too closely with big pharmaceutical corporations  Children’s Fund-UNICEF (program-1946) o Mandate: to assist child survival and development through community-based and national programs for preventive health, nutrition, and education  Promotes legislation for child protection  Opposed to SAPs (structural adjustment programs) by IMF and World Bank o Also one of the only branches to fight with NGOs against certain things they believe are wrong  Research is focused on poverty, inequality, and powerlessness  Population Fund-UNFPA was established as a UN program (1966) o Mandate: to disseminate information and promote policies for better access to family planning knowledge and services  Focused on advancing thinking on reproductive rights and reproductive health  UNFPA worked closely with the global movement for women‟s rights and gender equity to foster the creation of o UN Commission on the Status of Women (1946) o UN Development Fund for Women (1975) o UN International Research and Training Institute for the Advancement of Women (INSTRAW, 1983)  When the knowledge-based institutes as well as the commissions and agencies came together to work as a cohesive whole –tasked with supporting the UN Commission on the Status of Women Education, Science, Culture, and Media  Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) was established as a specialized agency in 1946 o Mandate: to promote national systems of education, natural and social science education, knowledge exchange, cultural policies, preservation of cultural heritage, and communications technology and media policy  UNESCO‟s mission was challenged by globalization apologists who claim that scientific knowledge and education are not public goods but commodities in the marketplace  UNESCO was challenged by Western governments‟ opposition to the creation of alternative media sources, and the World Bank‟s influence over education policies in low-income countries  United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) established as a program in 1972 to deal with environmental conditions: o Global environmental agreements and enforcement o Make aware of environmental challenges, biodiversity, combat pollution, manage climate change projects, weather early warnings  United Nations Human Settlement Program (UN-HABITAT) was established in 1978 o Concerned with the massive and fast-growing problems of cities o Promotes policies, laws, and planning methods on housing, land use, water and sanitation, security, and urban governance o Challenged by those opposed to considering shelter as a human right Employment and Working Life  International Labour Organization (ILO) was established as a specialized agency in 1919 o Mandate: to define and promote standards for working and social conditions, through international conventions on four human rights  Four human rights: o freedom of association o collective bargaining and elimination of forced labour o non-discrimination o elimination of child labour  Enforcement of international conventions was opposed by the US and globalization Trade, Investment, and Corporate Accountability  UN Conference on Trade
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