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Other Organs Related to the UN

Reference work entry
Part of the The Statesman's Yearbook book series (SYBK)

International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)

Origin. An intergovernmental agency, the IAEA was established in 1957 under the aegis of the UN and reports annually to the General Assembly. Its Statute was approved on 26 Oct. 1956 at a conference at UN Headquarters.

Functions. To enhance the contribution of atomic energy to peace, health and prosperity throughout the world; and to ensure that Agency assistance and activities are not used for any military purpose. In addition, under the terms of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), non-nuclear-weapon states are required to allow the IAEA to verify that their nuclear activities are peaceful. Similar responsibilities are given to the IAEA as part of the nuclear-weapon-free zone treaties in Latin America, the South Pacific, Africa and Southeast Asia.

Activities. The IAEA gives advice and technical assistance to developing countries on a wide range of aspects of nuclear power development. In addition, it promotes the use of radiation and isotopes in agriculture, industry, medicine and hydrology through expert services, training courses and fellowships, grants of equipment and supplies, research contracts, scientific meetings and publications. In 2013 support for operational projects for technical co-operation involved 3,509 expert and lecturer assignments, 5,331 meeting participants, 3,041 participants in training courses and 2,005 fellows and scientific visitors.

The IAEA uses technical safeguards procedures to verify that nuclear equipment or materials are used exclusively for peaceful purposes. IAEA safeguards were applied in 2014 in 180 States at 1,267 nuclear facilities, with 2,732 inspections conducted. The five nuclear-weapon states recognized by the NPT (China, France, Russia, UK and USA) are not required to accept safeguards but have concluded Voluntary Offer Agreements that permit the IAEA access to some of their civil nuclear activities.

Organization. The Statute provides for an annual General Conference, a 35-member Board of Governors and a Secretariat headed by a Director-General and currently staffed by nearly 2,600 people from over 100 countries. The IAEA had 168 member states in Feb. 2017.

There are also research laboratories in Austria and Monaco. In addition, the International Centre for Theoretical Physics was established in Trieste, Italy, in 1964, and is operated jointly by UNESCO and the IAEA.

  • Headquarters: Vienna International Centre, PO Box 100, A-1400 Vienna, Austria.

    Website: http://www.iaea.org

    Director General: Yukiya Amano (Japan).

Publications.IAEA Annual Report.—IAEA Bulletin (quarterly).—INIS Reference Series.—Nuclear Fusion (monthly).—Nuclear Safety Review (annual).—IAEA International Law Series.International Nuclear Information System (INIS).Technical Reports Series. For a full list of IAEA publications, visit the website: http://www.iaea.org/Publications/index.html

World Trade Organization (WTO)

Origin. The WTO came into being on 1 Jan. 1995. The bulk of the WTO’s current work comes from the 1986–94 negotiations called the Uruguay Round and earlier negotiations under the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT), which was created in 1948.

Aims and Activities. The WTO agreements have been negotiated and signed by the bulk of the world’s trading nations and provide the legal ground rules for international commerce. They act as contracts, binding governments to keep their trade policies within agreed limits. The goal is to help producers of goods and services, exporters and importers conduct their business, while allowing governments to meet social and environmental objectives. The system’s overriding purpose is to help trade flow as freely as possible.

The WTO agreements cover goods, services and intellectual property. They spell out the principles of liberalization and the permitted exceptions. They include individual countries’ commitments to lower customs tariffs and other trade barriers, and to open and keep open services markets. They set procedures for settling disputes. The agreements are not static; they are renegotiated from time to time and new agreements can be added to the package. The WTO began new negotiations under the ‘Doha Development Agenda’ launched in Nov. 2001. In Dec. 2013 all 159 member countries agreed to the ‘Bali package’, an agreement to facilitate cross-border trade. It was the first comprehensive agreement between all members in the organization’s history and analysts estimated that it could add up to US$1trn. to the global economy.

Governments are required to make their trade policies transparent by notifying the WTO about laws in force and measures adopted. Various WTO councils and committees seek to ensure that these requirements are being followed and that WTO agreements are being properly implemented. All WTO members must undergo periodic scrutiny of their trade policies and practices, each review containing reports by the country concerned and the WTO Secretariat.

The Dispute Settlement Understanding written into the WTO agreements provides a neutral procedure based on an agreed legal foundation when conflicts of interest arise between trading nations. Countries bring disputes to the WTO if they think their rights under the agreements are being infringed. Judgments by specially appointed independent experts are based on interpretations of the agreements and individual countries’ commitments.

Special provision is provided for developing countries, including longer time periods to implement agreements and commitments, measures to increase their trading opportunities and support to help them build their trade capacity, to handle disputes and to implement technical standards. The WTO organizes hundreds of technical co-operation missions to developing countries annually. It also holds numerous courses each year in Geneva for government officials. Aid for Trade aims to help developing countries improve the skills and infrastructure needed to expand their trade.

The WTO maintains regular dialogue with non-governmental organizations, parliamentarians, other international organizations, the media and the general public on various aspects of the WTO and the ongoing Doha negotiations, with the aim of enhancing co-operation and increasing awareness of WTO activities.

Organization. As of Feb. 2017 the WTO had 164 members, accounting for around 95% of world trade. The WTO is run by its member governments and derives its income from annual contributions from its members. All major decisions are made by the membership as a whole, either by ministers (who usually meet at least once every two years) or by their ambassadors or delegates (who meet regularly in Geneva). Day-to-day work in between the ministerial conferences is handled by three bodies: the General Council, the Dispute Settlement Body and the Trade Policy Review Body. All three consist of all the WTO members. The previous GATT Secretariat now serves the WTO, which has no resources of its own other than its operating budget. The budget for 2015 was 197,203,900 Swiss francs.

  • Headquarters: Centre William Rappard, 154 rue de Lausanne, CH-1211 Geneva 21, Switzerland.

    Website: http://www.wto.org

    Email: enquiries@wto.org

    Director-General: Roberto Azevêdo (Brazil).

Publications include: Annual Report.World Trade Report (annual).—International Trade Statistics (annual).—Trade Policy Reviews.

Further Reading

Bohne, Eberhard, The World Trade Organization: Institutional Development and Reform. 2010

Fulton, Richard and Buterbaugh, Kevin, The WTO Primer: Tracing Trade’s Visible Hand through Case Studies. 2008

Narlikar, Amrita, Daunton, Martin and Stern, Robert M. (eds.) The Oxford Handbook on the World Trade Organization. 2012

Preparatory Commission for the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization (CTBTO)

The Preparatory Commission for the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization (CTBTO Preparatory Commission) is an international organization established by the States Signatories to the Treaty on 19 Nov. 1996. It carries out the necessary preparations for the effective implementation of the Treaty, and prepares for the first session of the Conference of the States Parties to the Treaty.

The Preparatory Commission consists of a plenary body composed of all the States Signatories, and the Provisional Technical Secretariat (PTS). Upon signing the Treaty a state becomes a member of the Commission. Member states oversee the work of the Preparatory Commission and fund its activities. The Commission’s main task is the establishment of the 337 facility International Monitoring System and the International Data Centre, its provisional operation and the development of operational manuals. The Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty prohibits any nuclear weapon test explosion or any other nuclear explosion anywhere in the world. As of Feb. 2017 the Treaty had 183 States Signatories and 166 ratifications.

See also Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) on page 77.

  • Headquarters: Vienna International Centre, PO Box 1200, A-1400 Vienna, Austria.

    Website: http://www.ctbto.org

    Email: info@ctbto.org

    Executive Secretary: Lassina Zerbo (Burkina Faso).

Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW)

The OPCW is responsible for the implementation of the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC), which became effective on 29 April 1997. The principal organ of the OPCW is the Conference of the States Parties, composed of all the members of the Organization.

Given the relative simplicity of producing chemical warfare agents, the verification provisions of the CWC are far-reaching. The routine monitoring regime involves submission by States Parties of initial and annual declarations to the OPCW and initial visits and systematic inspections of declared weapons storage, production and destruction facilities. Verification is also applied to chemical industry facilities which produce, process or consume dual-use chemicals listed in the convention.

The OPCW also co-ordinates assistance to any State Party that falls victim of chemical warfare as it fosters international co-operation in the peaceful application of chemistry.

By Feb. 2017 a total of 192 countries and territories were States Parties to the Chemical Weapons Convention.

  • Headquarters: Johan de Wittlaan 32, 2517 JR The Hague, Netherlands.

    Website: http://www.opcw.org

    Email: public.affairs@opcw.org

    Director General: Ahmet Üzümcü (Turkey).

Copyright information

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