An intergovernmental organization can be defined as the organizations composed by the sovereign members primarily to ensure peace and stability and economic development in the member countries for the welfare of its citizens. Intergovernmental organizations operates under the government of that particular state and to some extent the government has control over some of its functions like when it comes to leadership positions of the organization where the government can appoint the person in charge of the organization, but they are collectively controlled from their headquarters. Organizations like the United Nations and FAO and International Labour organizations (ILO) were created with the main objectives of peoples’ welfare thus are concerned with the good of the society.
IGOs members in most cases consist of the states who were earlier colonized by a similar state during the scramble and partition of Africa like French, British, Portugal and others like Germany.
Intergovernmental organizations started back in the early days when the colonized countries gained their independence from the white rulers. They were formed with the aim of keeping peace and foreseeing the welfare of people within a country. The appointed individuals from different countries came together to discuss the problems facing their countries and collectively agreed to form an intergovernmental organizations which will look into the problems facing the member countries, thus resulted to development of the intergovernmental organizations around the world.
They were also to major on relations and trade among the member countries like COMESA, IGAD, AU.
Objectives of Intergovernmental Organizations
Peace and stability
The main and most honoured objective of the intergovernmental organizations is the maintenance of peace and stability in the member countries. (Spring, p.g.234), He argued that following political structuring in the independent states, political war is likely to be experienced since leaders more so in developing countries, to say Africa who hungry for power will do anything possible to get into power regardless of the consequences of their chosen course of action and that's why it was necessary for the formation of the intergovernmental organizations who will intervene and maintain peace in the member in case of political war regularly experienced after the general election for instance in developing countries like Nigeria, Kenya, Egypt and South Sudan where political wars are regularly witnessed after every general election. (Grigorescu, pg. 341).
Intergovernmental organizations in such countries have to formulate the more reasonable solution for the problem or send their representatives to mediate with the leaders fighting for power in order to end the war since during war, many people are killed and good number displaced from their homes as they seek refuge in the neighbouring peaceful countries where they believe to be safer. For instance, back in 2007, post-election violence experienced in Kenya which left many homeless, mediation strategy succeeded when the leaders in question agreed to work together as each person`s interest was considered by the mediator. (Marcoux, pg.56).
Intergovernmental organizations always advocate for better relations between the member states or neighbouring states and people within the country. (Hollifield and Orrenius, pg. 213), discussed friendly relation as a factor of peace and social and economic development of a country.
Good relations with the member and neighbouring countries will lead to peace between the states and develop a strong channel of economic development between the states like trade activities. Trade is considered a major breakthrough in economic development in every country since it comprises of exchange of goods and services which are not produced in other countries with the ones locally available, to exemplify, many countries are not rich in minerals like oil but they have to use the product therefore in exchange for money or other available product they will be able to import the oil product from producing states like Arab states. (Klímová, pg. 111).
Economic stability and social progress
In developing countries like African countries, intergovernmental organizations have a heavy duty in stabilizing the economy and ensuring social progress in the country. (Flowers, pg. 300), She argued that intergovernmental organizations have to provide some of the lacking basic social services in the country like healthcare services and educational services for the better of the citizens and boost the economic status of the country.
In areas for example where healthcare services are poorly provided or lack at all, the intergovernmental organization in charge has to plan on the necessary arrangements on starting such a program as society cannot live without healthcare services because it's a basic service which must be availed to the public by either government in charge or the intergovernmental organizations like World Health Organizations (WHO). These can be made possible through the employment of the health personnel from different member countries to aid in offering such services or building up the facilities, thus ensuring social progress. (Chatterjee and Finger, pg. 79).
Intergovernmental organizations are also responsible for offering educational services to the public or support to the provided facilities like schools through provision of basics like books, pens, and other learning resources to boost educational services in that particular society. (Hajnal, pg. 709). They can educate the society on social basic life skills like family planning, savings for the future and also discouraging some of their traditional cultures which negatively impacts the society like female gentile mutilation (FGM) practices. Savings and family planning will aid in stabilizing the economy as these will control population of the country to a level which internal government can support at any situation without requesting for aid from other countries while better saving methods will reduce the waste of money by the public and in time of emergency they can use the savings to solve the problem.
Resolution of disputes
Conflicts may arise in the course of the state activities either between the public, states or states and a group of persons. In case of conflict between the states, the better solution should be provided in time as conflicts always result to war or enmity between the involved parties.
In line with the intergovernmental organizations' policies and responsibility, they organizations are expected to intervene on the conflicts and provide the better solution to the dispute peacefully without any party feeling offended so as to maintain the good friendship between the parties. These can be done by sending the experts to mediate for the solutions the organization always hire experienced and qualified professionals to aid in the mediation process in case of need. (Roué and Zsolt, pg. 441).
Intergovernmental Organizations Structures
These comprise of the internal structures which aid in services deliveries within the members' state in case there is the need. For example, in an intergovernmental organization like W.H.O, its structures comprises of regional officers, liaison office department, administrative centres and sub-offices within the member states. (Klinke and Lehners, pg. 121).
Regional officers are the heads of the organization in each state. They communicated with the main headquarter offices in times of need or for any clarification on what course of action to follow during emergencies in the country.
Liaison office department is responsible for building a strong relationship with other multilateral bodies so that they can work together achieving their set objectives.
Administrative centres in WHO provides information technology services to the organization as they support communication and services delivery within the member states.
The structure also comprises the country coordinating offices which have additional responsibilities in ensuring proper distribution and response to the emergency in the member country.
Sub-offices are responsible for the implementation of the received instructions or aid to the affected group of people or in the community to ensure the calamity is timely responded to.
Information channel of Intergovernmental Organizations.
Communication is believed to be the backbone of success in every organization. In intergovernmental organizations, information transmission is vital following its size and composition as most of the departments are differently located and therefore there is a need for the formal channel of communication. Formal communication is necessary for intergovernmental organizations as it transfers organizational goals and discussed the course of action to their representatives in the member countries and procedures and policies relating to the crisis in question.
These can be achieved by adopting new technological information like emails, Skype services which are very fast and efficient mode of technological communication. (Greif, pg. 67)
Barriers to intergovernmental organizations` success
Due to the fact that intergovernmental organizations get full support of the government in achieving their goals, they are hindered by other factors both within and outside the country like in trade barriers. Lack of qualified personnel and frequent political instability.
Failures in removing trade barriers set by other country have negatively impacted the operations of the intergovernmental organizations since countries who are not members of the organization do not honour their appeal on trade barriers as they only allow export of goods from selected countries or regions. These have hindered the achievement of their set goals on trade.
Frequent political instability has affected the activities of the intergovernmental organizations as there is no conducive environment to operate on and also much of its resources are being diverted into war control rather than in more beneficial economic and social activities. This has resulted in inadequate funds and resources to sponsor other basic activities needed by the community. (Villarreal, pg. 222).
Government should support the activities of the IGOs in the country for the better of economy and its citizen's welfare following the above discussed benefits a country gains from intergovernmental organization in various fields affecting the country as stated in their policies and objectives.
Every country should join either of these intergovernmental organizations which will check into the welfare of the people and maintains peace within the state by bettering relations with other states.
Despite the challenges in attaining intergovernmental organizations' objectives, the organization has positively impacted the welfare of the community and economic growth of the country through their extended activities in achieving their set goals and objectives to their members' country.
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