An intergovernmental organization is an organization that is composed primarily of sovereign states, otherwise known as a member state. In an essence, it is an organization that is composed of multiple organizations working together with a unified purpose. Oftentimes, intergovernmental organizations are used as a broad term to include other nongovernmental organizations such as nonprofit organizations and multinational organizations. These organizations are established by a treaty that acts as a common goal, thus creating a group. Treaties are created when governments of multiple regions form legislation that goes through a lengthy ratification process, providing the intergovernmental organization with a legal purpose.
Intergovernmental organizations have become crucial to public international law. Some well-known intergovernmental agencies are the: World Bank, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), and World Health Organization The World Bank is a sector of the United Nations that provides loans to developing counties for various capital programs.
This intergovernmental organization’s purpose is to reduce (and hopefully one day eliminate) world poverty.
Every decision made by the World Bank is said to be guided by the advocacy of foreign investment and international trade. Furthermore, the Bank also makes decisions based on the facilitation of capital investment. As much as the Bank hopes to end poverty, there must be a continuous flow of income in order to provide funds to those in need. The World Bank has done a lot of great things for our global economy, but it is still strongly criticized for the way in which it is governed.
The Bank currently represents nearly two hundred countries throughout the world, yet it is operated by just a handful of economically- stable nations. Since these powerful countries provide the most funding and are in charge of day-to-day operations, they also choose the executives for the organization, unfortunately, this means that the handful of powerful countries’ interests become top priority to the organization.
This unequal voting power that developed countries in the west have is said to be a pillar of the global apartheid due to its lack of fairness. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is another intergovernmental organization that is operated within the United Nations. The IPCC is in charge of creating press releases that support the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), the most powerful and relevant global treaty on environmental climate change. The purpose of the IPCC is to ”stabilize greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere at a level that would prevent dangerous anthropogenic (human-induced) interference with the climate system” (UNFCCJnt 2014). The reports created by the IPCC cover the scientific, technical and socio- economic aspects that may be relevant to human-induced climate change in any way, including preventative measures, its impacts, and possible future adaptations Critics have argued that the IPCC has debilitating limitations in regards to their consensus approach.
As it currently stands, the IPCC releases statements that take a large-scale approach by covering broad, general concerns and questions of the public. While this is helpful to a degree, it becomes redundant to constantly address broad issues. It would be best if the IPCC released smaller assessments that shed light on more particular problems. As climate change becomes more relevant and more inevitable, it has become rather pressing to inform the public on a broader scope of uncertainties, impacts, and adaptations, the IPCC should also begin addressing less popular opinions throughout their pieces to ensure they are not showing any form of bias. Another example of an intergovernmental organization within the United Nations is The World Health Organization (WHO). This organization is in charge of global health affairs.
Currently, the organization is focused on: communicable diseases; the effects of non-communicable diseases reproductive health; development and aging and substance abuse. WHO is in charge of the World Health Report that outlines all current health-related issues and their impacts, as well as future issues and their possible impacts. It is the organization’s responsibility to develop reports, release those publications, and network appropriately so the entire world is made aware of global health affairs. While WHO is generally regarded as the most informed source of health news and information, there are certain critics who feel the organization tends to exaggerate the danger. In 2009, there was a pandemic of the H1N1 influenza virus that WHO was in charge of researching and reporting on. Unfortunately, the organization amplified the danger and spread fear and confusion instead of immediate relevant information. While the WHO continues to defend their actions in regards to the epidemic, it is important that the organization remembers to spread information, not hysteria.