PUBLISHED AUG 26, 2019

International Organizations: Here’s what they accomplish

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The Story

Things the international community loves: group projects and work retreats.

Of course it does.

Thanks to industrialism and developments in transportation and communication in the 19th century, the need grew for agencies with specific purposes. Meet, international organizations, which helped governments collaborate and problem solve. After WWI, the League of Nations was established in 1919 to give countries a forum to resolve international disputes. Then WWII happened and the League realized it needed a revamp if it wanted to get real about preventing international conflict. Enter, the United Nations, which became official in 1945. Hello, intergovernmental organization (IGO), a specific type of squad that's formed by treaty.

Why does that matter?

Because it means they’re subject to international law and have the ability to enforce agreements between member countries. An IGO involves two or more countries that are working on issues of common interest, with the goal of making the world a better place. 

Ah yes, the elusive world peace.

Exactly. An IGO may work on issues like peace, security, the economy, or even social issues. We say all this because not all international groups are technically IGOs. Groups including the G7 and the G20 – which we'll get into in a minute – are not bound by treaty. This means that while they may make joint statements and work towards common goals, they may be less effective since there aren’t ways to enforce those statements and goals.

Got it. What about the groups?

If you want a basic refresher on who is part of each of these groups and what their overall purpose is, we Skimm’d that here. You’re welcome. But it can be difficult to pin down what exactly all of these groups do, what they’ve accomplished, and whether they are effective. That’s what we’re going to break down here.

The Squad

EU...European Union. Aka the cool kids on the European bloc. Made up of 28 countries, with everyone from France and Germany to Malta and Luxembourg. 

The Impact

The single market is one of the EU's biggest achievements because it guarantees the free movement of people, goods, and services, among many other things. As European citizens, people are given the opportunity to move freely and work, study, and live across the union with little to no trouble. The single currency has encouraged economic growth and helped strengthen the EU. Think: economic integration across the region, encouraging development in the private sector, and making the region an attractive place for trade. The EU can also write and enforce legislation, like GDPR (aka the reason you got all those emails about terms of service changes last year). Of course, Brexit threatens to throw a major wrench in this system. 

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