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Today, the global community is characterized by wars, conflicts, misunderstanding and the scramble for scarce resources. Furthermore, the society is regarded as an “intercultural” owing to an increase in human mobility and immigration from one country to another (Newman & Rich, 2004). As a result, there is a problem of cultural mix of people from different backgrounds, thus leading to global conflicts. Therefore, this necessitates the need for international organizations to address critical issues affecting different countries.  In addressing the issue of governance, international organizations play a vital role in enhancing security, promoting democracy and providing peace and stability to citizens. This essay will discuss the role of international organizations in governance.


All over the world, international organizations play a vital role in promoting global governance with the aim of achieving international cooperation among countries. Some of the key international organizations, which promote governance include the European Union, United Nations, G24 (group of 24), G77 (group of 77), North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), New Agenda Coalition, Non-Proliferation and Disarmament Initiative, African Union, and East African Community among others. However, the impact, power, influence and legitimacy of these international organizations differ in scope and magnitude in different countries depending on the level of democracy.

The primary role of international organizations in governance is facilitating “cultural integration” so as to develop the aspect of unity among countries in the international system.   Scott (2003) observes that nations and regions have different priorities in terms of politics, society and religion, thus resulting in global conflicts. As a result, international organizations act as ‘mediators’ by providing international criteria of solving such problems. Most importantly, international organizations such as the UN continue to play a fundamental role in advocating for democracy all around the globe.

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The Role of the United Nations in Governance

The United Nations Governance considers democracy as its universal core value. This is based on freedom of expression and respect for human rights by world leaders. Newman & Rich (2004) contend that governance and democracy are reflected in the economic and social values of a nation in the way people express their needs and aspirations.

The United Nation is the single largest international organization that plays a fundamental role in promoting governance. In promoting its role in governance, the UN is guided by the 1996 International Covenant on Political rights, Human Rights Declaration, and the UN charter. Furthermore, the UN derives its mandate from various articles, which expresses the freedom of expression and association. However, it is fundamental to note that the UN is an impartial organization that seeks to promote democracy all countries. This is supported by the UN motto “we the people”, which means that the organization promote democracy and international law.

In an effort to promote democracy and governance, the UN’s activities are implemented through various programs such as the UN democracy fund, peacekeeping operations, department of political affairs, High Commissioner for Human Rights and development programs among others (Newman & Rich, 2004). For many decades, the UN continues to play a leading role in overseeing and participating in electoral processes of many countries to ensure that fairness is upheld in the voting systems. During presidential elections in most countries all over the globe, the UN in conjunction with other bodies such as the African Union has strengthened the political processes. This has been witnessed through the high number of women who have participated in the democratic processes.

As an international organization, the social and moral values of the UN are diverse. The organization promotes peace and justice, not only in member countries but all over the world. The organization promotes and safeguards the issues of human rights under the United Nations Charter for Human Rights. This means that the organization values humanity and peaceful co-existence of people and countries. The 2010 UN report on democracy and governance indicated that the U.S spends approximately $1.5 billion dollars to fund and support governance all over the globe (Newman & Rich, 2004). As a result, the UN remains as the largest provider of technical cooperation in terms of democracy and governance.

The Role of the African Union in Governance

Just like the European Union and the United Nations, the African Union is an international organization, which exists to promote democracy and governance in Africa. In response to other groupings in the international system such as G48 & G77, the African Union was formed to protect the interest of African countries. According to Scott (2003) Africa has documented numerous incidences of conflicts, wars, bloodshed and bad administrative leaders. As a result, the African Union was formed to regulate democratic principles, and check on the excesses of bad leadership. For the last five decades, the African Union adopts one resolution annually to improve on democracy and governance issues in Africa. Therefore, democracy and governance has emerged as a fundamental issue in the outcomes of all major conferences in Africa and beyond.

Scott (2003) argues that the African Union has promoted governance in Africa developing rule and regulations of fairness used during the voting and electoral periods. During the AU Summit conferences, the member states have always resolved to construct all inclusive governments by including women in their cabinet positions in order to enhance gender equity. As a result, countries like Rwanda, Kenya, Liberia and Malawi are among the countries with an equal share of women in government positions.

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The Role of the European Union in Governance

The European Union is an organization made up of 27 member countries that have come together with a common vision and mission of promoting democracy and governance. The European Union was formed after the World War II, with the sole responsibility of uniting the countries of Europe and promoting governance. In 1949, the nations formally began to unite under the Council of Europe. In the 1950’s, the division between Western and Eastern Europe necessitated the need for more unity. As a result, on March 25, 1957, the European Community was created and the Treaty of Rome was signed (Scott, 2003). This allowed people freedom of movement throughout Europe. Furthermore, in 1987, the Single European Act was signed with the objective creating a “single” market for trading purposes, thus enhancing governance and democracy issues.

The European Union is a significant organization in safeguarding human rights and promoting governance at the International level. One of the primary objectives of the European Union under the European Charter of Fundamental Rights is to protect human rights, which is a critical aspect of governance. In protecting human rights, the European Union uses the European Initiative for Democracy and Human Rights (EIDHR) as a strategic approach to achieve its objectives. This initiative works in partnerships with NGOs in enhancing and protecting human rights. The European Union also works in conjunction with the NGOs such United Nations and the Red Cross (ICRC).

In promoting the ideals of governance and democracy, the European Union is guided by basic documents, such as the Council of Europe and the European conference on political affairs that came as a result of international treaties. The European Commission integrates human rights with dialogue and cooperation through community aid programs. The presence of the European Union has mostly been felt in the third world countries through its cooperation with the government, thus enhancing democracy and governance.

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