What is International Relations?

  • International Relations refers to the co-operation or interaction between individuals or groups of nations of the world.

Into what levels could International Relations be categorised  These can be categorized into:

  • Economic relations, which involve trade and other commercial activities among nations I.e. exchange of goods as well as giving of foreign loans and grants.
  • Diplomatic relations, essential in settlement of disputes and promotion of commercial activities among nations. Such relations are regulated by exchange of Ambassadors or High Commissioners, who serve as Go-Betweens, encouraging international co-operation.
  • Political relations, which involve cooperation between countries with similar political systems or ideologies.
  • Socio-cultural relations, by which countries understand and appreciate each other’s culture by exchanging dance-trios, musicians, acrobats, athletes, sports teams, theatre groups, etc.

What are the benefits of International Relations?

  • Economic growth in the world due to expanded international trade.
  • Financial and technical assistance to developing nations by the developed ones through exchange of skills, knowledge and technology, which have speeded up industrial development.
  • Enhancement of peace and security due to policies geared towards peaceful settlement of disputes, reducing the threat of war.
  • Promotion of world understanding through cultural exchange.
  • Collective solution of global problems such as desertification, armament, environmental pollution and global warming.

Identify two types of international organizations

There are two types of international organizations. These are:

  • International Governmental organizations (I G O), which are created by two or more sovereign states such as the United Nations Organization, the Commonwealth, the Nonaligned Movement and the African Union.
  • International Nongovernmental Organizations (NGO), which are created by individual or private organizations such as The International Red Cross, Amnesty International and Transparency International.

By what criterion could International Governmental organizations be categorised?

International governmental organizations can be categorized according to their membership or purpose as follows:

Which may be global, regional or otherwise defined.

  • Global organizations, which have a worldwide membership e.g. the League of Nations and the United Nations Organization.
  • Regional International governmental organizations, which are defined by geographical boundaries,

e.g. the East African Community, the Economic Community of West African States, etc.

  • International governmental organizations with a broad purpose, e.g. the United Nations Organization, whose mandate includes health, security and environment.
  • International Governmental organizations with a limited purpose e.g. the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), whose mandate is limited to security concerns of their member states.

Explain the role of International organizations.

  • Provision of member states with a forum to consult and tackle problems of concern.
  • Acting as regulators in their fields to ensure the welfare of humankind. For instance, the World Health Organization (W H O) regulates the health sector through immunization, vaccination and other Prevention campaigns.
  • Enhancement of peace and security through peace-keeping missions, response to disasters and provision of assistance to war victims.
  • Charity and facilitation of equitable distribution of resources in the world. For instance, the International Monitory fund (IMF) and the World Bank advance loans to developing nations.



The United Nations Organization (U N O) is an association of independent nations, established to promote and maintain international peace and security. Its membership is open to all nations, regardless of their political and ideological beliefs, differences in economic systems or levels of development, etc.

Analyse the origin/formation of the United Nations Organization (U N O). (Explain the origin of the United Nations Organization).

The formation of the U N O was preceded by a series of conferences as follows:

  • On 12th June 1941 in London, the Inter-Allied declaration to work together with other freed peoples both in times of war and peace was signed.
  • On 12th August 1941 in a meeting in the USA, US PRESIDENT: Franklin D. Roosevelt and Prime Minister Winston Churchill of the UK proposed a set of principles for international collaboration in maintaining peace and security. This led to the signing of the Atlantic Charter, which pledged respect for human freedom, allowed all nations the freedom to choose the forms of government they preferred and provided that no territory should change hands after war without the consent of its people.
  • At a meeting in Washington on 1st January 1942, the declaration by United Nations was signed by the representatives of twenty-six allied nations that were fighting against the Axis powers, who proclaimed their support for the Atlantic Charter and pledged to continue fighting together against the Axis Powers. This marked the first use of the term United Nations, which was devised by President Roosevelt in reference to the twenty-six nations that assembled for that meeting.
  • On 30th October 1943 in Moscow, the governments of the USSR, the UK and China signed a declaration in which they called for an early establishment of an international organization to maintain peace and security and to regulate the postwar period. This goal was reaffirmed on 1st December 1943 when the leaders of the USA, the UK and the USSR met in Tehran: Iran.
  • At a conference held at Dumbarton Oaks Estate in Washington: USA from 21st September to 7th October 1944, the representatives of the USSR, UK, USA and China agreed on the aims, structure and functions of World organization. This was the first blue-print of the United Nations Organization.
  • At a conference in Yalta: Ukraine on 11th February 1945, US president Roosevelt, UK prime minister Churchill and USSR Prime minister Joseph Stalin declared their resolve to establish a general international organization to maintain peace and security.
  • On 25th April 1945 in San Francisco: USA, delegates from fifty nations met for the United Nations conference on international organization and drew up the United Nations Charter, which was unanimously adopted on 25th June 1945.
  • The U N O began its official functions on 24th October 1945 after ratification of its charter by the USSR, USA, UK, China and France. That is why the United Nations’ day is celebrated every 24th of October.

The UNO took over the League of Nations’ mandate I.E maintenance of peace and security and prevention of outbreak of another World war.

  • The headquarters of the U N O was established and still is in New York: USA. The UNO is recognized as a very important international body in development of world nations.

State the reasons for the formation of the United Nations Organization

  • Maintenance of peace and security.
  • To develop friendly relations among member states.
  • To replace the League of Nations, which had collapsed?
  • Promotion of international understanding and cooperation.
  • To prevent another war.
  • To promote cultural interaction.
  • To promote fundamental human rights and freedoms.
  • To promote social progress and better living standards.
  • To promote economic development among member states.
  • To protect the interests of the minorities such as women and children.

Describe/Explain UN membership.

  • Membership to the UNO is open to all peace-loving nations that accept and are willing to carry out the obligations of its charter.
  • Admission of any state to the UNO is effected by the General Assembly upon the recommendation of the Security Council. By 1945, only 51 states had signed the Charter. Kenya was admitted on 16th December 1963. Today, the U N O comprises over 191 states.
  • The official languages of the U N O are: English, Chinese, French, Russian, Spanish and Arabic. This is for effective communication since members are from diverse backgrounds.

State the principles of the U N O Charter.

The charter of the United Nations Organization comprises the following principles:

  • Sovereign equality of all member states.
  • Member states’ fulfillment of their charter obligations in good faith.
  • Peaceful settlement of international disputes, without endangering peace, security and justice.
  • Refrain by member states from the threat or use of force against others in their international relations.
  • Member states’ assistance to the U N O in any action it takes in accordance with the charter, without helping the states against which the U N O is taking preventive or enforcement action.
  • Ensuring that nonmember states act in accordance with UN principles in so far as necessary for the maintenance of international peace and security.

Outline the structure/organization of the U N O. (Name the organs of the UNO).

The U N O is divided into six main organs. These are:

  • The General Assembly
  • The Security Council,
  • The International Court of Justice,
  • The Economic and Social Council,
  • The Secretariat,
  • The Trusteeship council.

Explain how the United Nation’s General Assembly operates/works. (Describe the United Nations’ General Assembly).

  • It consists of all member states.
  • It is the main deliberative body of the U N O.
  • Each member is entitled to one vote.
  • Its decisions are made by a two-thirds majority vote, depending on the importance of the matters involved.
  • The Assembly meets annually, but may have special sessions at the request of the Security Council.
  • Because of the great number of issues to consider, the Assembly appoints seven committees to deal with matters and report back to the General Assembly for approval and action. For instance, its 1991 session comprised more than 150 items.

What are the powers and functions of the UN General Assembly?

Under the charter, the powers and functions of the Assembly include:

  • Making recommendations for the peaceful settlement of any situation.
  • Dealing with colonial trusteeship and recommendation of measures for peaceful settlement of any situation likely to interfere with the general welfare or friendly relations among nations.
  • Consideration and making recommendations on the principles of cooperation in the maintenance of peace and security as well as disarmament and regulation of arms.
  • Promotion of higher standards of living E.G through employment and enhancement of the economic and social well being of the people.
  • Discussion of and making recommendations on any question relating to international peace and security, except where a dispute or situation is currently being discussed.
  • Election of the judges of the International Court of Justice. This is done jointly with the Security Council.
  • Discussion of and making recommendations on any question within the scope of the charter or any issue affecting the powers and functions of any organ of the UNO, except where an issue or situation is currently being handled by the Security Council.
  • Appointment of the Secretary General, with the recommendation of the Security Council.
  • Initiation of studies and making recommendations to promote international political cooperation.
  • Election of the nonpermanent members of the Security Council, the Economic and social council and the Trusteeship Council.
  • Development and modification of international law, the realization of human rights and fundamental freedoms for all.
  • Receiving and considering reports from the Security Council and other organs of the UNO.
  • International collaboration in social, economic, cultural, educational and health sectors.
  • Considering and approval of the UN budget.
  • Guiding or directing the activities of other UN organs. Ø Apportioning contributions among members.

Describe the United Nations’ Security Council. (Into what two categories is the UN Security Council membership divided?)

  • It has fifteen members (five permanent and ten nonpermanent).
  • Nonpermanent members are elected by the General Assembly for a two-year term.

Name the five permanent members of the UN Security Council.

  • China,
  • France,
  • The Russian Federation,
  • The United Kingdom,
  • The United States of America.

Explain how the UN Security Council operates.

The Security Council operates as follows:

  • Each member of the council has a vote. Decisions on procedural matters are made by an affirmative vote of at least nine of the fifteen permanent members.
  • Decisions on substantive matters require nine votes of “Great Power Unanimity” I.E they must be supported by all five permanent members of the Security Council for them to be passed.
  • The five permanent members have the right of Veto. If a permanent member says No, no decision can be made even if the decision has nine or fourteen of the fifteen voters’ support.
  • If a permanent member does not wish to block a decision through a veto, she may abstain. Any of the five permanent members can block a proposal by casting a negative vote.
  • Members of the Security Council must have representatives in New York at all times in order to meet at a moment’s notice. Resolutions other than procedural matters require seven of the fifteen members’ votes to be passed. Many countries, including Japan, Germany, India and Brazil are calling for the expansion of the Permanent Member states. The African Union is also pushing for two seats.

What are the functions of the UN Security Council?

  • Maintenance of international peace and security
  • Admission, suspension or expulsion of members to or from the Union.
  • Investigation of disputes or any situation that may lead to international conflict.
  • Negotiation, mediation and arbitration in case of disputes between states.
  • Recommendation of appropriate procedures to be followed by states in settling disputes.
  • Determining as to whether any situation threatens peace as well as taking the necessary measures in maintaining peace.
  • Calling upon some or all members to provide forces or to facilitate military action against aggressors, E.G deploying peace-keeping forces in war-torn countries.

Describe the International Court of Justice.

  • It is the main judicial organ of the UNO.
  • It is based at The Hague in Netherlands.
  • It is open to parties signatory to its statutes.

Explain how the International Court of Justice decides on disputes submitted to it.

In line with article 38 of its statutes, the court decides on disputes submitted to it by applying:

  • International conventions establishing rules recognized by the states.
  • International custom as evidence of a general practice as law.
  • The general principles of law recognized by nations.
  • Judicial decisions and the teachings of the most highly qualified publicist of the various nations as subsidiary means of determining the rule of law.

Identify the disputes that are arbitrated by the International Court of Justice.

Disputes arbitrated by the court include:

  • International borders,
  • Treatment of diplomatic staff,
  • Fishing rights,
  • Nuclear tests,
  • Territorial water delimitation.

The UN charter compels all members to comply with the decisions of the court, though, in practice, this does not always happen.

Under what terms does the International Court of Justice operate?

The International Court of Justice comprises fifteen judges elected by the General Assembly and the Security Council under the following terms:

  • They are chosen on the basis of their qualifications.
  • They serve for a nine-year term and may be re-elected.
  • They cannot engage in any other occupation during their term of office. Ø No two judges can be nationals of the same state.

Describe the United Nations’ Economic and Social Council.

  • It comprises delegates from 54 UN member states, elected by the General Assembly for a Three-year term.
  • The members meet twice every year in New York and Geneva, although there are short sessions on monthly basis.
  • It mainly coordinates the economic and social activities of the U N O and supervises the operations of the UN agencies.

Explain how the United Nations’ Economic and Social council coordinates the economic and social activities of the United Nations Organization.

(Identify the commissions through which the Economic and social council carries out its work as an organ of the UNO. Or:

Identify the commissions set up by the United Nations’ Economic and Social Council.)

To achieve its goals, the United Nations’ Economic and Social Council has set up the following commissions: Ø The Statistical commission.

  • The Population Commission.
  • The commission for social development.
  • The commission on the status of women, especially women in developing countries, which advocates equal rights with men such as the right to vote as well as equal pay for equal work. Ø The commission on narcotic drugs.

This council, which is popularly known as ECOSOC, is the main forum for international economic and social systems and promotion of living standards, employment, social health, international, cultural and economic cooperation as well as universal respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms for all.

What are the functions of the Economic and Social Council?

  • Convening of international conferences on economic and social issues.
  • Initiating studies and making reports on international economic, social, cultural, educational, health and related matters, which are then submitted with recommendations to the General Assembly.
  • Offering nongovernmental organizations the opportunity to bring their expertise to the UN, thereby maintaining a vital link between the organization and the civil society.
  • Making recommendations aimed at promoting respect and observance of human rights and fundamental freedoms for all.
  • Coordinating the activities of specialized agencies like the World Health Organization and the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development among others.
  • Drafting conventions and presenting them to the General Assembly on matters within its jurisdiction.

Describe the Trusteeship Council as an organ of the United Nations Organization.

  • The Trusteeship Council took over the work of the Mandates commission, which was an organ of the League of Nations.
  • It comprises five permanent and six nonpermanent members. The nonpermanent members are appointed by the General Assembly.
  • It took up responsibility over the territories under colonial rule, aimed at promoting political, economic, social and educational advancement of the inhabitants of Trust Territories and other progressive development towards self government.

Describe the categories of Trust Territories over which the Trusteeship Council took responsibility.

  • Territories voluntarily placed under the council by other powers.
  • Territories under the former League of Nations.
  • Territories taken from the Axis Powers by the Allies during the Second World War.

Name the countries that attained independence under the Trusteeship Council. Countries that attained independence under the Trusteeship Council include

  • Ghana,
  • Somalia,
  • Togo,
  • Cameroon,
  • Tanzania,
  • Rwanda,
  • Burundi,
  • Western Samoa.

With the 1961 General Assembly declaration on the granting of independence to colonized countries and peoples, the United Nations has promoted decolonization, as was evident in South Africa’s independence in 1994 when Apartheid was dismantled and White minority rule ended, rendering Africa fully liberated from the colonial yoke.

What are Specialized and Affiliated agencies in relation to the U N O? (Define/describe Specialized and Affiliated agencies of the U N O).

  • Specialized and Affiliated agencies are separate autonomous organizations related to the U N O by special agreements.
  • They report annually to the Economic and Social council.
  • Initially, they were fifteen, but now they are more than twenty.

Name the Specialized and Affiliated agencies of the United Nations Organization.

  • The International Labour Organization (I L O), which is based in Geneva: Switzerland and deals with World Labour issues by advocating better living and working conditions for workers worldwide.
  • The Food and Agriculture Organization (F A O), which is based in Rome: Italy and is concerned with World food supplies and agricultural development in developing countries.
  • The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), which is based in Paris: France. It coordinates educational research and promotes international scientific and cultural cooperation.
  • The World Health Organization (W H O), which is based in Geneva: Switzerland. It gives financial aid to countries to develop their health services, to ensure the highest standard of education and to fight diseases worldwide.
  • The International Monitory Fund (IMF), which works closely with the World Bank.
  • The International Development Association (IDA), which advances loans to least developed member countries, allowing them about fifty years to repay, with no interest or profit.
  • The International Finance Cooperation (IFC), which invests in private enterprises in developing countries.
  • The International Civil Aviation Organization (I C A O), which promotes safe and orderly growth of the civil aviation industry.
  • The Universal Postal Union (U P U), which boosts cooperation in promoting and improving postal services.
  • The World Meteorological Organization (WMO), which supports worldwide networks for the observation of weather, climate, water levels and other physical conditions on earth.
  • The United Nations Habitat, which is based in Nairobi: Kenya and which deals with human settlement and housing.
  • The International Maritime Organization (IMO), which establishes shipping regulations to raise safety standards and to prevent pollution from ships.
  • The United Nations Environment Programme (U N E P), which is based in Nairobi: Kenya and deals with issues related to environmental degradation and preservation.
  • The World Intellectual Property Organization (W I P O), which protects legal rights in artistic and literary works.
  • The United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD).
  • The United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) which is concerned with the needs of refugees all over the world.
  • The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP),
  • The United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF), now referred to as the United Nations Children’s Fund, which deals with special problems of child-care in countries affected by war or other calamities.
  • The United Nations Institute for Disarmament Research (UNIDIR).
  • The International Centre for Public Enterprise in Developing Countries (ICPEDC).
  • The United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO).
  • The United Nations adhoc committee on the Indian Ocean.
  • The International Conference on the question of Palestine.
  • The United Nations Economic and Social Commission on Asia and  the Pacific (ESCAP).

In what ways does the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) promote international scientific and cultural cooperation?

UNESCO coordinates educational research and promotes international scientific and cultural cooperation by:

  • Establishing training centers for formal and non-formal education as well as conducting campaigns against illiteracy at the request of member countries.
  • Publishing books and other research journals.
  • Advocating preservation of historical monuments, artifacts and valuable cultures.
  • Promoting dissemination of information on social sciences as instruments of peace and justice.

State the role of the World Bank and the International Monitory Fund (IMF) as affiliated agencies of the United Nations Organization.

The World Bank, otherwise known as the International Bank for reconstruction and development (IBRD), is based in Washington DC in the USA. Its role includes:

  • Giving long-term loans for financing development projects or balance of payments.
  • Receiving and taking care of financial deposits from member states and share holders.
  • Assessment and direction of the activities of member states and share holders alongside its own.

The International Monitory Fund (IMF) works closely with the World Bank by:

  • Helping in stabilizing various world currencies.
  • Promoting international trade.
  • Selling foreign exchange to member countries in American Dollars.
  • Raising and taking care of funds from member states’ subscriptions.
  • Giving short-term loans, especially those needed to ease currency crises.

State the role of the Food and Agriculture Organization (F A O) in ensuring World food supplies and agricultural development.

The Food and Agriculture Organization (F A O) is concerned with World food supplies and agricultural development in developing countries. It helps in:

  • Increasing food production by using improved fertilizers, seeds and new types of plants.
  • Improving distribution and marketing of food and agricultural products.
  • Promoting rural development and good living conditions for the rural population.
  • Controlling pests and combating epidemics and animal diseases.
  • Sending agronomists and technologists at the request of member governments to give instructions on such matters as irrigation and control of soil erosion.
  • Coordinating forestry, fisheries, hunger and malnutrition program

Describe the Secretariat as an organ of the United Nations Organization.

  • It is an international staff working at the United Nations headquarters in New York and in the field. Ø It is concerned with the day to day work of the U N O.
  • The Secretariat
  • It comprises a staff of more than 25,000 men and women from more than 160 countries.
  • Its staff are answerable to the UN alone and take an oath not to seek or receive instruction from their governments.
  • It is headed by the Secretary General, who is chosen from among the world’s minor powers and is elected by the General Assembly on the recommendation of the Security Council for a term of five years and can be re-elected only once.

Explain the functions of the United Nations’ Secretariat.

  • It is the main administrative organ of the United Nations.
  • It registers treaties.
  • It publishes reports.
  • It carries on correspondence.
  • It does a great deal of research.
  • It administers programmes and policies laid down by other UN organs.

What are the duties of the United Nations’ Secretary General?

The duties of the Secretary General include:

  • Monitoring the extent to which the decisions of the UN bodies are carried out.
  • Bringing to the attention of the Security Council any problem that threatens international peace and security.
  • Interpreting speeches and translating documents into the official languages of the U N O.
  • Drawing the world’s attention to global issues: from development to human rights. Ø Administering peace-keeping operations to resolve international disputes.
  • Ensuring that policies laid down by other organs of the UN O are implemented. Ø Surveying economic and social trends and problems.
  • Registering treaties.
  • Organizing international conferences on issues of worldwide concern.
  • Conducting information programmes to acquaint the world’s communications media with the work of the United Nations.
  • Preparing studies or research on subjects like Human Rights and Sustainable Development.

How is the United Nations Organization financed?

UN funds are provided by member states, each of which pays an assessed percentage of the total budget. E.G, while the USA  PAYS 25%, Tanzania pays 0.01%.

Explain the achievements of the United Nations Organization.

  • Promotion of world peace and security.
  • Disarmament through various Arms-Control agreements, aimed at reducing the Arms Race.
  • Adoption of the Universal Declaration of and promotion of Human rights through advocacy and by creating awareness on rights abuses.
  • Improvement and awareness of the status and rights of women by empowering them to have greater control in making decisions that affect them.
  • Protection, material and financial support to refugees among other forms of humanitarian assistance or charity work to alleviate human suffering.
  • Clearing of land mines from former battle fields such as Angola, Afghanistan, Rwanda and Elsalvadore.
  • Decolonization and promotion of democracy and good governance in much of Africa, Asia, the Caribbean and Latin America.
  • Multilateral and technical assistance to developing nations in the form of consultancy and skilled manpower, mainly through the UNDP.
  • International cooperation in dealing with global issues such as environment, desertification and energy crisis.
  • It has worked to combat terrorism, mainly through the UN international convention for the suppression of terrorist activities.
  • International protocols (UN agencies), which are crucial in setting safety standards for sea and air.
  • Improved health standards due to vaccination, prevention, cure and general health-care of the world’s population.
  • Academic cooperation and cultural exchange by preserving historical, cultural and architectural sites.
  • Improved shelter through the United Nations centre for human settlement (Habitat:.
  • Emergency relief services to victims of war, floods, hurricanes and other disasters.

Identify the problems encountered by the United Nations Organization.

  • Ideological differences between capitalists and communists, which caused the Cold War.
  • Veto power of the Big Five,, which undermines the decisions and implementation of some UN policies.
  • Border disputes or political conflicts, which have badly affected its functions. The fact that members ignore its decisions as it has no army of its own.
  • Inadequate funds to facilitate its operations.
  • Membership to other regional or international organizations such as the African Union, the Nonaligned Movement, the Commonwealth and the Arab League, whose interests at times conflict with those of the United Nations, causing divided loyalty.
  • Nationalism whereby, being sovereign, member states serve their own national interests at the expense of international (UN) concerns.
  • Formation of an Afro-Asia Latin America bloc, whose members often voted as a bloc in order to counter the power of the five permanent members of the Security Council, which delays UN efforts to fight terrorism.
  • Natural disasters and calamities like drought, famine, floods and epidemics, increase of which has created an unexpectedly high demand for economic resources, thus interfering with or delaying new initiatives planned by the UN.
  • Terrorism, which has become a threat to international cooperation and peace.
  • Economic discrepancies (some countries are too poor while others are very rich), which tend to militate against cooperation among UN member states.
  • The Arms Race (accumulation of arms by the super powers), which undermined world peace as each nation struggled to participate in the Arms Race for fear of an attack by the enemy



Define the Commonwealth.

  • The Commonwealth is a voluntary association of independent states that were initially part of the British Empire.

Analyse the formation of the Commonwealth.

  • All members of the Commonwealth came from the former British Empire, which comprised British protectorates, colonies and dominions.
  • The launching of the association was set off by the publication of the 1839 Durham Report, which served as a landmark for the Commonwealth.
  • The 1926 Imperial Conference Committee, which was chaired by Canadian Prime Minister: Lord Balfour, prepared and incorporated its report in the Westminster Statute, which shaped the Commonwealth.
  • In 1931, the British parliament enacted the Statute of Westminster, which contained the provisions by which the Commonwealth was established.
  • The modern commonwealth began in 1947. India and Pakistan joined it in 1949.
  • The Commonwealth grew as more African countries became independent.
  • All independent countries retained their freedom to join or leave the Commonwealth. That’s why, for instance, Purkistan and Apartheid South Africa left, though South Africa returned in 1994 after the AllRace elections.

Identify the dominions that formed the British empire.

  • The Irish Free State,
  • Australia,
  • New Zealand,
  • Canada,
  • South Africa,
  • Newfound land (mainly African and Asian colonies).

State the provisions contained in the Statute of Westminster.

In 1931, the British parliament enacted the Statute of Westminster, which contained the following provisions:

  • No act of the British parliament could be the law of any dominion unless it was passed by the dominion’s parliament.
  • Any law relating to succession to the throne or to changes in the royal style and titles could require the consent of the British parliament and the parliament of each dominion.
  • The UK, Canada, Australia and New Zealand were defined as Autonomous Communities within the British Empire, united by the British crown but equal and not subordinate to one another.
  • Equality was established among independent states, which was the beginning of the Commonwealth.

Identify the features of the Commonwealth. (Identify the characteristics shared by Commonwealth States.) Commonwealth states share the following characteristics:

  • Recognition of the King or Queen of England as head of the Commonwealth.
  • Cultural ties E.G Commonwealth games.
  • Cooperation in education, characterized by Commonwealth education exchange programmes, which have assisted less-developed Commonwealth members.
  • Common democratic constitutions acquired from Britain as a common heritage, characterized by a parliamentary system of government, an independent judiciary and a civil service free of politics.
  • A common military tradition, based on the British military system and military exchange programmes.
  • Use of English as a common language.
  • Consultation and exchange of information E.G on finance, technical assistance, scientific cooperation, education and trade.
  • Formation and exchange of a Power Bloc, through which standards and ideals are set.

Explain the principles of the Commonwealth.

A principle is a moral rule or belief about what is right and wrong.

Principles of the Commonwealth were agreed on in the 1971 Commonwealth Declaration for Peace and Understanding as follows:

  • Belief in and value of international peace and order for mankind’s security and development, thus supporting the U N O in its Peace programmes.
  • Liberty of the individual and equal rights for all citizens through representative institutions in spite of race, colour, creed or political beliefs.
  • To fight social prejudice as it threatens the healthy development of the human race.
  • To oppose all forms of colonial domination by being committed to the principles of human dignity and equality while furthering self determination and non-racism.
  • To fight poverty, ignorance and disease, to remove wealth disparities and raise living standards to achieve a more equitable international society.
  • Achievement or enhancement of free international trade by removing restrictive trade barriers while giving due consideration to the special requirements of the developing countries.
  • To promote co-operation among member nations in order to combat (eliminate) all forms of injustice and to facilitate development.
  • Exchange of knowledge and professionalism as well as cultural, economic, legal and political issues.
  • To form a multinational association based on consultation, discussion and co-operation in pursuing their principles.

Analyse/Describe Commonwealth membership.

  • The Commonwealth has a unique membership of developed and developing nations, which increased from eight in 1949 to fifty-four by the year 2000.
  • The members are categorized/classified into various groups/divisions.
  • The members of the Commonwealth do not sign a charter. They agree to abide by certain rules and

regulations, guided by the Association’s principles and ideals.

Identify the categories into which members of the Commonwealth are classified.

  • Britain and her dominions of Canada, Australia and New Zealand.
  • African nations.
  • Asian nations.
  • Islands from the Caribbean Pacific and Mediterranean regions.

Describe three main organs/branches of the Commonwealth.

The Commonwealth comprises three organs. These are:

  • The Heads of Governments Biennial summits I.E presidents and prime ministers, who meet for a week once every two years for extensive discussions and consultations in any Commonwealth state. The Summit is the main policymaking body. Decisions are by consensus.
  • Ministerial meetings. The Commonwealth Ministers of Finance, foreign Affairs and Defense meet once every year while those of education, health and law meet once every three years. Commonwealth Ministers frequently visit member countries.
  • The Secretariat. This is the main agency for consultation and exchange of information among member states. It was established in 1965.

State the ideals of the Commonwealth. (What are the aims/objectives of the Commonwealth? Ideals/Or: Explain the purpose of the Commonwealth.)

An ideal is an idea or principle that seems perfect and worth achieving.

The aims/objectives of the Commonwealth are:

  • To promote world peace and international understanding.
  • To promote development in the poorer member states.
  • To enhance co-operation between member states in matters such as education, transport, sports and economic development.
  • To ensure personal liberty and equality of rights to all citizens regardless of race, colour, creed or political beliefs.


Describe the Commonwealth’s Secretariat.

  • It is headed by the Secretary General, assisted by two deputy Secretary Generals and two assistant secretaries.
  • It has a staff of over 350, drawn from member states.
  • The Commonwealth Secretary General is appointed by member governments.
  • The Secretary General directs programmes and performance of various duties at the Commonwealth.

Explain the functions of the Commonwealth’s Secretariat.

  • It co-ordinates programmes of co-operation among member states.
  • It encourages projects that are of benefit to members.
  • It organizes the Heads Of State summit and the Ministers conference.
  • It circulates information and anything of general interest to member states.
  • It co-ordinates business by studying Commonwealth organizations that deal with economic and financial matters.
  • It is an agency for consultation and the exchange of information among members.
  • It is responsible for programmes of co-operation through performance of various duties.

What are the duties/responsibilities of the Deputy and Assistant Secretaries General of the Commonwealth?

Responsibilities of the first Deputy Secretary General include:

  • International affairs.
  • Legal Corporation.
  • Information and Conference services.
  • Applied studies in administration.

The second Deputy Secretary General oversees:

  • Economic affairs.
  • Export markets.
  • Food production within the Commonwealth.

The first Assistant Secretary is in charge of:

Supervision of work in education and health.

Commonwealth Fund for Technical co-operation.

Name the Secretaries General that the Commonwealth has had so far.

Past Secretary Generals of the Commonwealth include:

  • Arnold smith from Canada.
  • Shridath Ramphal of Guyana.
  • Chief Emeka Anyaoku from Nigeria.
  • Don McKinnon from New Zealand.

Identify/describe the specialized agencies of the Commonwealth.

  • The Commonwealth Science Council, which promotes collaboration in developing regional programmes such as energy and rural technology.
  • The Commonwealth Parliamentary Association, which enables members to have regular parliamentary meetings in the various branches in member states. It was established in 1911.
  • The Commonwealth Agricultural bureau, which provides co-operation in the field of agriculture.
  • The commonwealth regional health secretariat for east, central and southern Africa, which promotes co-operation in the medical sector.
  • The Commonwealth fund for Technical Co-operation, which provides advice, expertise and training to member states. It was set up in 1971.
  • The Commonwealth Press Union, which enhances communication between member countries. It was established in 1909 and started the Commonwealth Broadcasting Association in 1945.
  • The commonwealth Youth programmes, purposed to involve young people in activities aimed at achieving national goals.
  • The Commonwealth Development Co-operation, which provides training and financial assistance for members.

What are Commonwealth declarations?

Commonwealth declarations are unwritten and traditional procedures, guided by a series of agreements derived from its principles and aims I.E declarations or statements issued by the Commonwealth heads of government and at various summits, which together constitute a foundation of Commonwealth values and a history of concern in global affairs.

The structure of the Commonwealth is based on such declarations since the Commonwealth has no formal charter or constitution.

 Identify two most significant Commonwealth declarations. 

  • The Singapore Declaration of Commonwealth principles (1971).
  • The Harare Commonwealth Declaration (1991).

State two principles that the two most significant declarations of the Commonwealth set out. The two declarations clearly set out the Commonwealth’s commitment to:

  • Democracy,
  • The rule of law,
  • Good governance.

Explain how consultation is carried out in and with the Commonwealth.

  • Heads of member states meet every after two years to discuss international economy and politics.
  • Decisions are by consensus, not through voting.
  • Ministerial meetings are convened to deal with various issues within the Commonwealth. Ministers of foreign affairs, defense, supply and Finance meet every year while those of education, health and law meet every three years as others only meet when necessary.
  • Member states are represented in capital cities of other member states by high commissioners in charge of maintaining close co-operation between member states, with status equivalent to ambassadors.

Explain how the Commonwealth is financed. (Explain how the Commonwealth gets funds with which it runs). Ø The Commonwealth Secretariat and its activities are supported by an assessed or operating budget and three specialized or Programme funds.

  • The assessed budget covers the secretariat’s operating costs and programmes.
  • All member governments contribute to this budget on an agreed scale based on their country’s population and income.
  • Three specialized funds support specific commonwealth activities.

Describe three specialized funds that support specific Commonwealth activities.

  • The Commonwealth fund for technical co-operation (CFTC), which promotes technical co-operation among developing countries. It was established in 1971 and is the largest of the three funds. It supports training programmes, experts in the field and advisors to fill gaps in key areas like Industry, economic law, export and marketing. Dependent territories and associated states that contribute to the CFTC also benefit from its resources. Contributions to the CFTC are voluntary.
  • The Commonwealth Youth programme (C Y P). This empowers young people to develop their potential as productive and dynamic members of the society. It supports, among other things, regional centers in Africa, Asia, the Caribbean and South Pacific. Contributions to the C Y P are voluntary.
  • The commonwealth Science Council (CSC). This promotes sharing of scientific knowledge and experience among its members.

Explain the functions of the Commonwealth of nations.

  • It promotes understanding and tolerance among members through free exchange of ideas.
  • It supports youth programmes geared towards national development. Through the C Y P, it enables the youth to undertake various projects and activities.
  • It promotes partnership and co-operation among its members as they consult on various issues affecting their countries.
  • It promotes democracy and good governance through parliamentary meetings as well as sending observers during parliamentary elections in member states to ensure free and fair elections.
  • It promotes development of the legal systems of member countries. It upholds human rights and respect for the rule of law.
  • It provides financial assistance to members from the less developed countries. Developed countries like the UK, Canada, Australia and New Zealand provide financial aid for economic development.
  • It provides a forum for member states to air their views on international affairs with one voice by consulting on health, education, security, etc. A case in point is racism and Apartheid, which are condemned by the Commonwealth.
  • Support of education and training. There are Commonwealth scholarships for students to study in other countries. Britain and Canada have availed grants for training facilities and for building universities in African countries.
  • It promotes respect and encourages trust and friendship among members to work towards economic prosperity.
  • It encourages trade among member states. It has enhanced economic ties. Developing nations have been assisted in conducting market surveys, trade affairs, marketing and trade negotiations.
  • It provides machinery for maintaining peace among member states, E.G by sending peace-keeping missions to member countries involved in conflict.
  • It promotes technical co-operation among member states through the CFTC, enabling members to discuss scientific and technical issues, on which they carry out research.
  • It enhances social and cultural co-operation among members E.G through Commonwealth games.

Describe/explain the problems/setbacks encountered by the Commonwealth. (Explain the factors that undermine the commonwealth.)

Since its inception, the commonwealth of Nations has been affected by various challenges such as:

  • Inadequate funds to run operations since the commonwealth largely comprise less developed member states.
  • Withdrawal of some members E.g. South Africa in 1961 and Pakistan in 1972. This was because the commonwealth is a voluntary organization, with financial implications, which have undermined its performance.
  • Political instability in some member countries E.G sierra Leone, Pakistan and others in Africa and Asia, which have been involved in civil wars, which badly affect performance in the promotion of peace and good governance.

Dominance by some developed nations, which undermines decisions and policy matters) Lack of an executive authority or army to enforce its decisions and other roles. Because of this, some member states violate its rules and decisions.

  • The spirit of national interests. The feeling of Nationalism was so strong in the newly independent African and Asian states. Since their interests came first as they grappled with the major challenges of a new nation, they were least concerned with their participation in the Commonwealth.
  • Divided loyalty. Member states lacked commitment as they also belonged to the U N O, the Nonaligned Movement, the African Union, the European Union and other organizations.
  • Personality differences between leaders of some member states, E.G between Zimbabwe’s Robert Mugabe and Britain’s Tony Blair after Zimbabwe forcibly acquired white-owned farms in Zimbabwe, which led to Zimbabwe’s suspension from the Commonwealth in 2003.
  • Ideological differences based on capitalism and communism, mainly during the Cold war, which made it difficult for those with divergent ideas to work with one another in matters of international concern.
  • Colonial rivalry. At the formation and during the existence of the Commonwealth, colonialism was still perpetuated mainly by Britain, which caused the colonized countries to fight for independence while the liberated ones undertook radical reforms, which made implementation of its plans and achievement of peace initiatives difficult.
  • Race and colour discrimination. Even today, free movement of members has been prejudicially restricted through new visa rules adopted by some countries E.G Britain, which has badly divided the members.

What are the benefits of membership to the Commonwealth of Nations? (Explain the advantages/importance of membership to the Commonwealth).

The following are the benefits of membership to the Commonwealth of Nations.

  • Financial assistance to members by developed countries.
  • Assistance to developing member states in conducting market surveys, trade fares and marketing.
  • Cultural exchange programmes such as games have been promoted.
  • Encouragement of understanding, friendship and co-operation through consultation and discussion.
  • Commonwealth scholarships given to students to study in Britain and Canada.
  • Promotion of technical co-operation among members through the Commonwealth fund and technical co-operation (CFTC).
  • Promotion of democracy and good governance through parliamentary meetings and observing elections.
  • A forum for members to air their views on international issues.
  • It has assisted the youth to undertake projects through its youth programmes. Ø Promotion of legal systems and respect for human rights and the rule of law.



                        THE NONALIGNED MOVEMENT

What is nonalignment?

  • Nonalignment is neutrality or independence of policy and action in international affairs. It upholds peaceful co-existence of nations with differing political, economic and social systems.

Name/identify the founder-leaders of the Nonaligned Movement. 

Founder-leaders of the nonaligned movement include:

  • Jawaharlal Nehru of India,
  • Sukarno of Indonesia,
  • Marshal Tito of Yugoslavia,
  • Gamal Nasser of Egypt,
  • Chou En-Lai of China.

State the factors that facilitated the formation of the Non-aligned Movement.

The following factors led to formation of the Nonaligned Movement:

  • After the Second World War, the USA and the USSR emerged as two super powers, which divided the world into two blocs based on capitalism and communism.
  • Due to competition between the USA and the USSR over World power, the Cold war (a war of words) developed among the nations that supported either power.
  • Newly independent nations in Africa, Asia and Southern America did not wish to join power blocs of the USA and USSR. Indeed, the idea of the nonaligned movement started and steadily grew from 1947 following the independence of India, Pakistan, Burma, Sri Lanca and other Asian nations.
  • The members needed co-operation to ensure peace and save the world from another war.
  • With the Nonaligned Movement approach, members would get maximum aid from both blocs for economic growth.
  • Alliance with any power bloc meant preparation for war, which the members were not ready for.
  • The members wanted to establish their distinct identity in world politics.
  • Being nonaligned was a clear indication that they were free from colonialism.

Identify the aims of the Non-aligned movement.

  • To fight for decolonization by supporting liberation and independence movements.
  • To work for the disarmament of the Super powers.
  • To safeguard the sovereignty and national interests of member states.
  • To promote economic independence of member states as a way of discouraging neocolonialism. Ø To fight racism and all forms of discrimination.
  • To promote neutrality among members.
  • To discourage military alliances advocated by the Super Powers.
  • To establish their own distinct identity and to speak with one voice in international affairs.
  • To pursue an independent policy for peaceful co-existence.
  • To avail funds for improvement of agriculture to ensure increased food production.
  • To get favourable terms of trade, particularly for countries whose economy depends on exportation of raw materials.
  • To encourage active participation of member states in U N O programmes.
  • To get maximum aid from both blocs for their economic development.
  • To attract more members as was in the 1958 conference of independent African states.

Explain the criteria of membership to the Non-aligned Movement.

N A M members agreed on the following criteria of membership:

  • The interested country should have adopted an independent policy based on the co-existence of states with different political and social systems.
  • The interested country should consistently support the movement for national independence.
  • The interested country should not be a member of a multilateral military alliance concluded in the context of Great Power conflict, E.G NATO or the Warsaw pact.
  • If the interested country has a bilateral military agreement with a great power or is a member of a regional defense pact, the agreement or pact should not be one deliberately concluded in the context of Great Power conflict.

Name the countries and organizations that are admitted to the Non-aligned Movement as Observers. Apart from member states, there are participants admitted as observers and guests. Observers include:

  • Antigua and Barbados,
  • Armenia,
  • Azerbaijan,
  • Brazil,
  • China,

Costa Rica,

  • Croatia,
  • Dominica,
  • Elsalvadore,
  • Kazakhstan,
  • Kyrgyzstan,
  • Mexico,
  • Paraguay,
  • Uruguay,

There also are observer organizations, which include:

  • The United Nations Organization,
  • The Afro-Asian Peoples Solidarity Organization (AAPSO),
  • The League of Arab States,
  • The African Union,
  • Organization of the Islamic Conference (O I C),
  • The New Independent Movement of Puetorico,
  • Front De Liberation Nationale Kanak Et Socialiste (FLNKS).

Kenya is among the members of the Nonaligned Movement.

Observer countries and organizations attend N A M meetings on an adhoc basis to open the N A M to contributions from the international arena. They have no power to vote.

Guest states to the N A M include:

  • Australia,
  • Canada,
  • Austria,
  • Bulgaria,
  • Germany,
  • Finland,
  • Poland,
  • Sweden,
  • Portugal,
  • Spain,
  • Romania,
  • Greece,
  • Italy,

Guest organizations mostly come from within the United Nations Organization e.g. the food and Agriculture Organization (F A O), United Nations Children’s fund (UNICEF) and the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD).

Those outside the U N O system include:

  • The Commonwealth secretariat,
  • The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), Ø The Common Market for East and southern Africa (COMESA).

Analyse the structure and organization of the Non-aligned Movement.

  • The coordinating Bureau, which is the focal point for coordination.
  • Working groups, Contact groups, Task forces and committees. These often meet and mainly concentrate on Co-ordination, efficiency and preparedness in the fulfillment of their mandates. Ø Nonaligned Security Council Caucus.
  • The Joint Coordinating Committee. A joint coordinating committee of the Nonaligned movement and the Group of Seventy-seven was established in 1994 to promote co-operation and coordination between these two groups in promoting the interests of developing countries in international forums. It meets in New York: USA.
  • Coordination of nonaligned countries in other UN centres. The N A M Chair is also responsible for giving expeditious consideration to the establishment of arrangements for co-ordination of Nonaligned centres and international organization headquarters to facilitate co-ordination and cooperation with the coordinating bureau and enhance the role of the N A M in international forums.
  • The Troika. The concept of a Troika of the past, present and future Chairs emerged at a meeting of Foreign Ministers of the N A M in New Delhi: India in April 1997, where ministers expressed their satisfaction with the Troika’s format and suggested that the group meet more frequently as a discussion forum.
  • Panel of Economists. In 1997 in New Delhi: India the foreign ministers from various nonaligned countries set up an adhoc panel of economists to assess the current international economic situation from the perspective of developing countries and to identify and analyze their major issues of concern.
  • The preparation of document is the responsibility of the Host country.
  • Decision-making. All decisions are made by consensus, stemming from understanding of and respect for different points of view, on the basis of which agreements acceptable to all can emerge.

The N A M tradition is to encourage openness, to hold extensive consultations and to allow broad participation.

 Describe coordination within the Non-aligned Movement.

  • Administration is nonhierarchical, rotational and inclusive, providing all member states with an opportunity to participate in global decision-making and world politics. The country that hosts the summit holds office until the next summit.
  • The Chair carries out certain delegated responsibilities e.g. promoting the principles and activities of the movement.
  • When a country assumes the chair of the movement, it creates or designates an entire section of the Foreign Ministry to deal specifically with the movement.
  • Since Nonaligned countries meet regularly and conduct much of their work at the UN, the chair country’s ambassador in the UN functions as the “Minister of Nonaligned Affairs”.
  • The Nonaligned Movement has created Contact groups, task forces and committees to facilitate the Chair’s responsibilities and the co-ordination and functioning of the existing working groups and to promote the process of achieving a commonality of positions and interests as well as ensuring that Nonaligned countries  speak with one voice in international matters.
  • The Chair leads and co-ordinates the activities of the Nonaligned Movement within the United Nations and in other international forums.

What is the role of the Coordinating Bureau in the Non-aligned Movement?

  • Reviews and facilitates the harmonization of the Nonaligned Movement’s working and Contact groups, task forces and committees.
  • Co-ordinates and ensures mutual co-operation among Nonaligned countries.
  • Stands for and ensures a unified action in the United Nations and other international forums on issues of common concern.

Name six working groups, contact groups, task forces and committees of the Non-aligned Movement.

  • The Nonaligned Movement’s working group on human rights and disarmament.
  • The Committee on Palestine.
  • The contact group on Cyprus.
  • The task force on Somalia.
  • The Joint Coordinating Committee.

Describe the Non-aligned Movement’s Security Council Caucus.

N A M countries elected to the UN Security Council and who form the N A M Caucus in the Security Council are expected to constantly strive to adopt unified positions so that the decisions and positions of the Nonaligned Movement as adopted at its summits and ministerial conferences and by the coordinating bureau are properly reflected in the Security Council decisions without prejudice to their sovereign rights.

  • The Chair of the Coordinating Bureau in New York should attend and address the Security Council on matters of particular importance to members of the movement and hold regular meetings with each coordinator of the Nonaligned Security Council to be briefed on the work of the council and convey to the caucus coordinator the position of the movement.

On what terms of reference is preparation of documents of the Non-aligned Movement based?

  • It should be the object of the widest possible consultations.
  • It should aim at circulating the first draft as early as possible but not later than one month before the meeting.
  • It should ensure that the documents are concise, highlighting issues of particular importance or urgency.
  • It should lay emphasis on practical action-oriented measures that could be implemented.
  • It should ensure that the document of summit conferences, which constitute the supreme organ of the movement, are condensed but comprehensive.

Describe any five High-Level Non-aligned Movement meetings.

  • Meeting of the Ministerial committee, which comprises all N A M members, chaired by the movement’s chairperson. They are held by a decision of the summit of the ministerial conference.
  • Conference of heads of state and government.
  • Meeting of the Standing Ministerial Committee on economic co-operation.
  • Meetings of the working groups, task forces, contact-groups and committees. These are held as often as necessary and make a significant contribution to the movement.
  • Ministerial meetings of the coordinating bureau. These are restricted to preparations for summit and consideration of issues of major importance to the movement.
  • Extra-ordinary meetings of the coordinating bureau. These address exceptional cases that call for urgent consideration.
  • Ministerial conferences.
  • Ministerial meeting in New York during a session of the UN General Assembly. Every year, ministers of Foreign Affairs meet in New York at the beginning of the regular session of the UN Assembly to deliberate on the items of the agenda of the general Assembly that are of major importance to the movement.
  • Ministerial meetings in various fields of international co-operation. These discussed issues like Information, Agriculture and External Debt.

Describe the Non-aligned Movement’s Conference of Heads of State and Government.

  • It is N A M’s highest decision-making authority.
  • It has two committees: one for political issues and the other for economic and social issues.
  • It is held every after three years, at least a month before the regular session of the UN General Assembly.
  • It has a programme that includes a formal ceremony for the handing over of the chair.

Analyse the Non-aligned Movement’s meeting of the Standing Ministerial Committee on Economic Cooperation.

  • It is meant to strengthen South-South co-operation, reactivate the dialogue between developed and developing countries and enhance the role of the UN (particularly the General Assembly) in international co-operation for development.
  • It is frequently held whenever necessary upon the recommendation of the co-operating bureau.

Describe the Nonaligned Movement’s ministerial conferences. (What is the purpose of the Non-aligned Movement’s Ministerial Conferences?)

Discuss matters of urgency.

  • Review development and implementation of the decisions of the preceding summit.
  • Are convened eighteen months after the summit to discuss urgent matters.

Assess the performance of the Non-aligned Movement.

  • Since its establishment, the N A M attracted many developing nations through its many conferences and activities in various member and other states.
  • Its meetings are held every after three years, attended by heads of member states and governments. Its decisions are arrived at by consensus.
  • Voting powers of the Non-aligned countries in the UN General Assembly strengthen their influence in world affairs.
  • Independent African states remained neutral and even retained ties with their former colonial masters for security and economic reasons without any interference with their sovereignty.
  • By late 1961, most independent African states adopted the policy of neutrality, enabling them to seek aid from (but without antagonizing) the West and the East.
  • Up to the collapse and end of the Cold War, the non-aligned movement succeeded in ensuring that its members were not lured into the political or ideological quagmire in the world.
  • Non-aligned Movement countries have called for integrated global negotiations and demonstration of the necessary degree of political will aimed at a new equitable economic order, beneficial to all nations.

Explain the achievements of the Non-aligned Movement.

The Nonaligned Movement is well remembered for its following successes:

  • It enabled member states to safeguard their national security, freedom of action and territorial integrity.
  • It helped in decolonization of areas under foreign rule by speeding up attainment of freedom in states that were still under colonial bondage.
  • As an Afro-Asian bloc, the N A M got a common voice characterized by its united influence and exertion of the voting power of member states in world affairs. Here, the N A M functioned as a diplomatic strategy within which most independent states formulated their response to the international environment at a time when they lacked necessary physical strength.
  • It helped in the relaxation of international tension by creating a conducive environment for peace, justice, equality and international co-operation by keeping clear of the USA and USSR military blocs.
  • Through it, member states were free to put their national interests before those of the power blocs.
  • It promoted disarmament through establishment of Nuclear weapons-free zones and continuous condemnation of the Arms Race.
  • It worked towards the creation of the new international economic order by strengthening the economic base of member states to preserve their independence and by opening up for economic aid from both power blocs, coupled with readiness to expand their trade with both sides of the ideological divide.
  • It set up a special solidarity fund, which gave financial assistance to Frontline states, cautioning them against sanctions imposed on Apartheid South Africa.
  • It helped in creating the new scientific and technological order, accessing member states to the most advanced technology and scientific research available, bridging the “technological gap” between developed and developing nations.
  • It provided a free international forum where members’ voices could be heard. Because of this, Apartheid was dismantled in South Africa as racism was eradicated in many other countries.

Identify the problems encountered by the Non-aligned Movement.

  • It lacks an army or an executive machinery to implement its decisions.
  • Political instability within and between member states, which has undermined its performance.
  • Its large size (over 116 Members), which has frustrated its ideological coherence and organizational solidarity as members have different ideologies, leaning either to the capitalist West or to the Communist East.
  • Border disputes, whereby most countries disagree over territorial boundaries in spite of their cooperation to have common objectives.
  • It lacks funds as member countries are poor, which has caused difficulty in the pursuit of independent policies due to reliance on donors or former colonial masters.
  • Members put their national interests before those of the Movement. Some members’ individual national interests conflict with the objectives of the movement, which causes relegation of international matters to the waiting list.
  • Lack of or divided loyalty and commitment as N A M member states also belong to other organizations such as the U N O, the African Union and the Commonwealth of Nations, which hinders their active participation in the Movement.
  • Personality differences between the leaders of Member states, which hinder fruitful discussions.

For instance, several leaders rejected the radical views of Fidel Castro of Cuba.

  • The collapse of the USSR and the end of the Cold War, due to which the movement appeared destabilized and irrelevant, having been overtaken by events.
  • Poor co-ordination of Movement activities due to lack of a permanent institutional machinery E.G a standing army, the Secretariat and executive authority for effective policy implementation.
  • Many member states have weak economies and are unable to remit their contributions or meet other financial obligations since their meager resources are used to sort out their national needs.
  • Differences unrelated to the principles of Nonalignment. E.g. at the 1978 meeting of the coordinating committee in Colombo: Sri Lanca, several Arab states pushed for Egypt’s expulsion from the Movement because Egypt had signed a separate peace treaty with Israel. Such a treaty was not an agreement with a Super power and therefore had nothing to do with the principles of the Nonaligned Movement.

Explain the role of the Non-aligned Movement in the world today. (What is the importance of the Nonaligned Movement in the world today?)

Although Apartheid has been dismantled in South Africa and independence almost fully attained, there still exist situations that require the Nonaligned Movement’s participation as follows:

  • The Arms Race is still on, requiring a forum that would continue to articulate the voice of justice and sanity in the world.
  • A few powerful industrially advanced nations still refuse to relax their hold on developing third world nations, which necessitates the Nonaligned Movement, which serves as a platform from which the demand for a less iniquitous world economic order can be raised.
  • The Nonaligned Movement emerged as the third world’s shield against the pressures of the two super powers. Even with the end of the Cold War, the Nonaligned Movement remains relevant because, before achieving the new economic order, it has continued to achieve its set goals.
  • The Nonaligned Movement still has the task of addressing emerging world issues such as Terrorism, environmental degradation, HIV & AIDS and Racism.



Define the Cold War.

  • The term Cold War refers to the hostility or struggle between the communist nations (led by the USSR (also known as the Soviet Union) and the capitalist nations (led by the USA) between 1945-1990.

Explain the contrast between Capitalism and Communism. 

  • The USA and her allies formed the Western Bloc and adopted capitalism I.E a system of production and trade based on private ownership of wealth, free trade and little industrial activity by the government. The USSR and her satellite states formed the Eastern Bloc and adopted communism I.E a doctrine that advocates a classless society in which private ownership was abolished and the means of Production and subsistence belong to the community.

 Analyse/explain the background to the Cold War.

  • After the Second World War, the USA and the USSR emerged as the world’s super powers. Due to ideological differences, mistrust and suspicion arose between them, with the USSR fearing that the Americans would bomb her the way they bombed Hiroshima and Nagasaki in Japan.
  • The USSR managed to spread Communism in Eastern Europe. She occupied Romania, Bulgaria Hungary, East Germany, Poland and Czechoslovakia (now the Czech and Slovak republics). This occupation made Britain to urge for Anglo-American unity.
  • In the 1940s and 1950s, the USA acted to prevent the expansion of Communism by pushing for a community of independent noncommunist states. The USSR and her allies were on the other hand seeking to create a world favourable to the spread of Communism. She aimed at bringing Communism to other nations apart from those she had occupied.
  • Each side claimed superiority of its own political and economic systems by building more powerful military forces. Each embarked on diplomatic maneuvers designed to weaken the other’s position while strengthening its own without actually going to war. Both sides viewed every uprising, local war and international incident as a Cold War.

Name/identify the weapons that were used during the Cold War.

Unlike the First and Second World Wars, the cold War did not necessarily involve firing of guns and killing of people. The main weapons used in it were:

  • Economic sanctions.
  • Financial aid to the enemies of the opposite side.
  • Military support to the allies against the enemy.

State the characteristics of the Cold War.

  • Mutual suspicion between the Powers.
  • Economic alliances.
  • Military alliances.
  • Military conflicts between Communist and Noncommunist states or their supporters.

What were the causes of the Cold War.? (Identify the factors that led to the Cold War).

  • Mistrust and suspicion due to ideological differences between the US-led capitalist West and the Sovietsponsored communist bloc, each of which wanted to spread their ideology.
  • The Arms Race I.E continued stock-piling of atomic bombs by the super powers due to their failure to agree over disarmament and control of weapons after the Second World War, which intensified their hostility, for none was sure as to when the other would strike, now that they had equal military strength.
  • Formation of military alliances E.G NATO and the Warsaw pact, which created tension.
  • The 1947 Marshal Plan, in which the USA introduced a large-scale programme of financial assistance to countries devastated by the war. This offer was rejected by Russia and her Communist allies, who saw it as an attempt to extend American control in Europe. The USSR therefore formed the Council for Mutual Economic Assistance (COMECON), which was an economic plan for Eastern Europe.
  • European conflicts in the 1940s, during which the super powers provided military support to opposing sides. For instance, in the Greek Civil War, the USA and Britain supported one group while the USSR supported the other.
  • Differences between the super powers over Germany. Western allies wanted a strong Germany to assist in the economic prosperity of Switzerland, Netherlands and other western European nations. However, the USSR wanted a politically and economically weak Germany to prevent another invasion.
  • Domination of the U N O by the US-led Western powers, in whose favour the proposals and other activities of the organization mostly went.
  • The USSR used her Veto power to defeat UN proposals, a move that upset the USA.
  • The Iron curtain policy. The USSR, which occupied part of Eastern Europe before and after the Second World War, built the Iron Curtain that artificially divided Germany and her capital.: Berlin into East and West and sealed off eastern Europe from the West,, which made international relations poor.

In reference to the Cold War in Europe, explain the factors that led to deterioration of relations between the Super Powers. (Explain how relations between the super powers were undermined/negatively affected by the cold war in Europe.)

  • Russia used her military might to impose Communist governments on and direct policies in many states. In 1946, the USSR helped to overthrow the postwar Greek government.
  • In 1947, in what became known as the Truman Doctrine, US President: Harry Truman declared US support for those resisting subjugation by armed minorities or external pressure. This led to American intervention in Greece, Turkey and wherever else the USSR was trying to spread Communism.
  • In the Marshal Plan of 1947, the USA, through its Secretary of State: George Marshal, initiated financial and material aid for the reconstruction or recovery of Europe’s war ravaged economy.
  • In response to the Marshal Plan, the USSR closed all the land routes to Berlin and discouraged her satellite states from benefiting from the Marshal Plan, which she viewed as American interference in the internal affairs of other states.
  • To counter US economic programmes, the USSR established the Communist Information Bureau (COMINFORM) to co-ordinate the work of European Communist parties and enforce ideological conformity. She also set up the Council for Mutual Economic Assistance (COMECON),  which was an economic co-operative plan for Eastern Europe, aimed at achieving nearly all that the Marshal plan was meant to accomplish. However, COMECON did not succeed since the Russian economy was weak.
  • The postwar division of Europe was further emphasized by the 1948 Treaty of Brussels, by which Britain, France, Belgium, Netherlands and Luxembourg formed a defensive alliance against any form of aggression. In response, the US-led Western Bloc formed the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) in 1949, based in Paris: France.
  • To break US monopoly in nuclear technology, the USSR exploded her first Atomic Bomb in 1949. In 1955, the USSR signed the Warsaw pact in Poland with East Germany and six Eastern European countries to counter NATO. According to the Warsaw Pact, all members agreed to fight any state that would militarily attack any of their members. The existence of NATO and the Warsaw Pact intensified hostilities between the super powers.
  • In 1948, all road and rail routes to West Berlin were sealed off by Russian troops. Germany and her capital city: Berlin were divided into east and west. Russia treated the Eastern zone as a satellite state and even curtailed trade between the two zones. This almost led to starvation in West Germany since East Germany was the chief food producing area.
  • From 1945-1949, the USA and her allies air-lifted material aid to west Berlin and blocked passage of goods to east Berlin. The division of Germany worsened  relations between the super powers.
  • In 1949, the Western Occupation zone became the Federal Republic of Germany while the Soviet Zone formed the German Democratic Republic.
  • Many East Germans were attracted to West Germany, which was economically more developed. To stop such attraction, East Germany erected fences and watchtowers,, started armed patrols and curtailed communication between east and West Germany as a way of guarding her border.
  • In 1961, the East Germans built a wall (The Iron Curtain) along the border. This physically divided Germany and her capital: Berlin as well as the European continent into east and west. Europe was by then a theatre of dominance by the USA and the USSR, with the USSR controlling the east while the Allies controlled the west.

Analyse the Cold war in Asia.

Hostilities between the super powers spread to Asia as Americans strived to contain the spread of Communism as follows:

  • After the Second World War, the USSR secretly involved herself in China by helping Mao Tse Tung and his Communist Party to gain power over the  Kuomintang (Nationalist) forces, who Mao drove to Formosa (Taiwan) island in 1949. In 1950, a treaty of friendship, alliance and mutual assistance was signed between China and the USSR, the danger of which the USA unsuccessfully warned China of.
  • In Indochina, the USA and the USSR clashed over Vietnam: a French colony that had been seized by Japan during the Second World War, where the two super powers supported rival nationalist leaders. The USSR supported Hochi Ming while the USA, Britain and France were on the side of Ngo Dinh Diem. Vietnam was divided into north and south, with the USSR controlling the north and the USA remained in the South. The Stand-off led to the Vietnam War, with the USA wishing to block the spread of Communism while the USSR wished to spread communism. The Americans were defeated and had to withdraw.
  • After the Second World War, the super powers competed for influence in Korea, with the USSR particularly concerned since she had a common border with Korea. In 1945, Korea was occupied from the south by American forces and from the north by the Russians. In 1948, the USA announced the formation of the Independent Democratic Republic of Korea in the south. The Russians similarly formed the People’s Republic of Korea in the north. In 1950, North Korea invaded South Korea in an attempt to reunite Korea by force, but North Korea was repulsed when the US-dominated U N O quickly sent troops that pushed the North Koreans back. To avoid a possible World War, the USSR appealed for a ceasefire in Korea. The cold war in Europe had become a hot war in Asia.

In what ways did the Cuban Missile Crisis influence the Cold War in Central America?

The Cold War in Central America was characterized by the Cuban Missile Crisis as follows:

  • In 1958, with the support of the USSR, Fidel Castro overthrew the 25-year-old dictatorship of Fulgencio Baptista in Cuba. The USA unsuccessfully tried to remove Castro from office.
  • Hoping to use Cuba to attack the USA in case of war, the USSR placed intermediate range nuclear missiles and other weapons in Cuba with Castro’s approval as a means of countering the emerging US lead in developing strategic arms and to protect Cuba from US-sponsored invasions such as the failed 1961 attempt.
  • In 1962, there was a steady flow of Soviet arms into Cuba in exchange for Cuban sugar.
  • President John F. Kennedy of the USA demanded immediate dismantling and removal of Soviet bases and missiles in Cuba and a strict blockade on all military ships approaching Cuba.
  • To end the most serious Cold War crisis, President Nikita Khrushchev of the USSR removed Soviet missiles from Cuba.

Analyse the Cold War in Africa. (Explain how military conflicts that stemmed from the Cold War were witnessed in Africa.)

Military conflicts that stemmed from the Cold War were also witnessed in Africa as follows:

  • In 1974, Soviet-supported Mengistu Haile Mariam overthrew Emperor Haille Selassie of Ethiopia and introduced Socialist programmes. However, Secessionist activities in northern Ethiopia and the withdrawal of Soviet assistance to Ethiopia (following the collapse of the Soviet Union) forced Mengistu out of power in 1991.
  • In 1975, the MPLA, with the support of Cuba and the USSR, won Angola’s independence from Portugal. Shortly later, due to disagreement over which party was to lead, Angola was plunged into bruising civil war. The National Front for the Liberation of Angola (FNLA) and the National Union for The Total Independence of Angola (UNITA), both of which were supported by the USA, opposed the MPLA government, which was supported by Cuban troops and the USSR. Following the collapse of the USSR, Soviet aid to Angola reduced, which paved way for democratic elections and an eventual end of violence in Angola.
  • In the Democratic republic of Congo, President Mobutu Sese Seko sought and received the support of NATO, which propelled him to power after he overthrew the country’s socialist government.

Identify the steps that led to easing of the Cold War. (State the factors that led to the end of the Cold War).

The following steps or factors led to the easing and end of the Cold War:

  • The super powers adopted measures to relax tension between them in what was termed as the Détente.
  • With the death of Joseph Stalin of the USSR, who was a Hard-liner that could not negotiate with the USA, the two super powers signed confidence-building agreements.
  • The USA and the USSR held a series of negotiations, which resulted in summit meetings and the signing of Strategic Arms Limitation agreements.
  • Leaders of the two super powers visited one another as a show of good relations. For example, in 1972, President Richard Nixon of the USA visited Beijing and Moscow.
  • From 1985-1991, President Mikhail Gorbachev of the USSR adopted liberal policies I.E Openness and Economic Restructuring (Glasnost and Perestroika), which led to more co-operation.
  • President Ronald Reagan of the USA adopted a policy to ease the tension by talking with Russian leaders. Ø The collapse of Communist rule in Eastern Europe in 1989 weakened the position of the USSR and eased Cold War tension.
  • With the fall of Communism in Eastern Europe, the Berlin Wall (the Iron Curtain) crumbled in 1990, after which east and West Germany were unified under Chancellor Helmut Kohl.
  • Russia’s support for the Gulf War in 1991 was an indication that the USSR was willing to co-operate with Western Europe.
  • In the 1991 Moscow summit, President George Bush Senior of the USA and Mikhail Gorbachev of the USSR signed the Strategic Arms Reduction (START) treaty to cut their nuclear warheads and other weapons by about a third.
  • In 1990, the Paris Charter was signed, which dissolved the Warsaw Pact in 1991. This further eased Cold War tension.
  • Several states within the USSR lost interest in Communism and socialism. In a move to leave the union, these states formed their own independent administrations.
  • Former Soviet republics and satellite states declared their independence as some among them joined NATO, leading to collapse of the USSR in 1991.
  • Western democracies were established in former Communist countries such as Poland, Austria, East Germany, Romania, Bulgaria and Czechoslovakia after President Boris Yeltsin of Russia recognized their independence from the USSR and launched a full-scale economic reform programme to create a market economy and to overcome the imperial and ideological legacies of the USSR.

What were the effects of the Cold War?

  • Mutual suspicion and mistrust between the super powers, which divided the world into two blocs.
  • The Space race as well as the Arms Race which led to development of military technology as well as space-craft, rockets and other lethal weapons.
  • Various crises E.g. the Vietnam and Korean wars, the Suez Canal crisis and the 1956 Hungarian revolution.
  • International insecurity and disruption of world peace as each of the super powers struggled to dominate the world.
  • Formation of the Afro-Asian bloc and adoption of the Neutral Policy approach (Nonalignment) to enable emerging nations in Africa and Asia to exert their influence in the U N O and to save them from Power bloc rivalry.
  • Spread of Capitalism and Communism as the super powers competed to exert their influence and to ensure that their respective ideologies dominated the world.
  • Formation of economic and military alliances such as NATO, COMECON, THE Warsaw pact and the European Economic Union.
  • Development in science and technology, particularly military technology as military industries were established across nations and more lethal weapons manufactured, leading to the Arms Race and actual war in various countries.
  • Deep seated mistrust among nations due to polarization of the world into two blocs, each of which undermined the other.
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