INTERNATIONAL ORGANIZATONS: A MULTIDISCIPLINARY ANALYSIS AND OVERVIEW
An appreciation by Phillip Taylor MBE and Elizabeth Taylor of Richmond Green Chambers
Like many another title in the distinguished Oxford Handbook series from the Oxford University Press, this particular Handbook offers academics, scholars and lawyers an astoundingly diverse and extensive range of contemporary research on, in this case, international organizations.
The book’s three expert editors head a team of no less than sixty-six international contributors comprising academics and practitioners, who together present a veritable treasure trove of up-to-the-minute analysis and commentary on ‘IOs’, including the legal, political and practical issues with which they are concerned. This is the arena in which law and politics meet, against the background of the inevitable tensions generated by the often uneasy relationships between international authority and the interests of nation states.
As the editors point out, international organizations are involved in virtually every important question pertaining to public policy, including trade, security, health, intellectual property, international finance, the response to international terrorism, criminal justice, the environment and much more. Individuals as well as countries are therefore affected by the policies and the machinery of international organizations.
While the focus of the book is on intergovernmental organizations, an analytical eye is cast over non-governmental organisations (NGOs) -- and in turn, their influence on IOs. The private sector and the various networks are also examined. We are reminded too, of the history of intergovernmental organisations and their relentless proliferation since the end of World War II, during which time, ‘few have died’. As the editors remark, ‘the sheer growth in numbers has caused some analysts to worry about institutional overload.’ It will inevitably occur to some that the age of global governance has well and truly come upon us. In this handbook of over 1,200 pages is a wealth of information and insight into the structure, function and ethos of any number of international organizations, from the United Nations to the World Health Organization (WHO) and the World Trade Organisation (WTO), as well as smaller, but nonetheless influential bodies.
International lawyers especially, will find this overview of the various perspectives on the workings of international organizations immensely useful, especially when the focus turns to the speculative comments on the amount and degree of authority that they may -- or may not – wield on the world stage. The many contributors to this title have certainly opened avenues for further comment and research into what has become a crucially important and complex area of study.
The publication date is cited as at 2016.