Work by Peter Willetts on the United Nations
Primary Sources - Documents and Websites
- The Charter of the United Nations
click here for web version click here to
download Word version.
- The Membership of the United Nations, listed by the Regional Groups - to download
a Word file click here.
- Global Issues on the UN Agenda, a UN web
page, with links to other parts of their website click here.
- General Assembly and Security Council resolutions in September 2001,
in response to the terrorist attacks on the USA
- The UN in Brief, an official description
of the UN on their website click here.
- An Organisation Chart for the UN System,
with links to websites for the various UN bodies click here
and a printable version in PDF format click here
- The United Nations Website Home Page click here.
- The United Nations Website Search Engine click here.
- Forthcoming Major Conferences and General Assembly Special Sessions click here.
- Past Conferences and General Assembly Special Sessions click here.
- Table of Major UN Conferences in the 1990s, download as a Word 6 document.
- The United Nations statute for NGOs, Economic and Social Council Resolution 1996/31 of 25 July 1996.
This resolution specifies the conditions for an NGO to be recognised by the Committee on Non-Governmental Organisations of ECOSOC and the participation rights they gain once they obtain consultative status, - click here.
- The current list of NGOs in consultative status with ECOSOC, and information on the growth in the numbers of recognised NGOs, - click here.
- Other Information on NGOs , including links to
NGO networks dealing with landmines, the trade in small arms, nuclear weapons,
health, sustainable development, the IMF and the World Bank., click here.
Edited Books by Peter Willetts
- 'The Conscience of the World'. The Influence of Non-Governmental Organisations in the UN System, (London: Christopher Hurst for the David Davies Institute, 1996), (Washington: The Brookings Institution, 1996). In the USA, this will permanently available from Brookings through their print-on-demand system.
To see the contents - click here.
- Pressure Groups in the Global System: The Transnational Relations of Issue-Orientated Non-Governmental Organisations, (London: Frances Pinter, Global Politics Series, 1982), (New York: St.Martin's Press, 1982).
To see the contents - click here.
Articles and Book Chapters on
the UN, by Peter Willetts
- 'Transnational Actors and International Organisations in Global
Politics', pp. 356-383, in J. B. Baylis and S. Smith, The Globalisation of World Politics, (Oxford: Oxford University Press, second edition, 2001). click here
This chapter outlines the Pluralist approach to the study of global politics, argues that "states" should not be used as units of analysis (except as a legal concept) and discusses the location of transnational actors within global issue-systems and policy-domains. The approach gives a theoretical basis for asserting the importance of intergovernmental organisations.
- 'Representation of Private Organisations in the Global Diplomacy of Economic Policy-Making', pp. 34-58, in Karsten Ronit and Volker Schneider (eds.), Private Organisations in Global Politics, (London and New York: Routledge European Consortium for Political Research Series, Number 15, 2000).
This chapter compares the participation rights of NGOs and of companies in the IMF, the World Bank, the WTO the ILO and UNCTAD. An assessment is made for each system whether the policy networks can best be described as being Pluralist or Corporatist.
- 'From "Consultative Arrangements" to "Partnership": The Changing Status of NGOs in Diplomacy at the UN', Global Governance, April-June 2000, Vol. 6, No. 2, pp. 191-212.
This article provides a broad overview of the history of NGO participation rights in the UN and concludes that their rights are so well established and codified that NGOs must now be regarded as a third type of international legal personality, alongside states and intergovernmental organisations.
- 'The Rules of the Game', pp. 247-283, in J. W. Foster with A. Anand (eds.) Whose World is it Anyway? Civil Society, the United Nations and the Multilateral Future, (Toronto: United Nations Association of Canada,1999). (French edition, Un monde pour tout le monde. La société civile et l'avenir du multilatéralisme.)
The book was prepared as an input to the World Civil Society Conference in Montréal, December 1999. The whole book is a valuable source on the current activities and concerns of NGOs in global politics. It is available from the United Nations Association in Canada for US$40.00, including airmail postage - firstname.lastname@example.org
- 'Who cares about the environment?', chapter in J Vogler and M Imber (eds.), The Environment and International Relations, (London: Routledge, Economic and Social Research Council Global Environmental Change Series, 1996).
This article analyses the nature of values in environmental politics. It is argued that environmental values are not distinct from so-called objective interests, which are just assertions of the value of security and/or wealth. NGOs gain significance in environmental politics as actors who mobilise support for the particular values of biodiversity, health, beauty and animal rights. Adopting a theoretical approach focused on values is of general importance for the study of global politics. It is the prime way in which NGO are transformed from being interesting empirical phenomena to having a central role in political theory.
This approach is of such wide-ranging theoretical importance that it also constitutes a denial that the UN can be analysed as a set of "states" pursuing their "national interests".
- 'From Stockholm to Rio and Beyond: The Impact of the Environmental Movement on the United Nations Consultative Arrangements for NGOs', Review of International Studies, Vol. 22, No. 1, January 1996.
This article reviews the impact of the Stockholm and Rio conferences on the general arrangements for all NGOs to relate to the UN and UN conferences. It is argued that the impact of Rio has been grossly over-stated, as NGO rights had been steadily increasing since the early 1970s. In addition, the euphoria at Rio did not carry through to significant changes in the statute that had been operating since 1950. The one exception was the routine acceptance of national NGOs within the system for consultative status.
- 'Transactions, Networks and Systems', in A J R Groom and P Taylor, Frameworks for International Co-operation, (London: Pinter Publishing, 1990).
This chapter analyses the Realist, Functionalist, Structuralist (neo-Marxist) and Pluralist (Global Politics) approaches to the nature of international systems. It argues that interdependence and transnationalism, the increased importance of global economic issues and the need to recognise the impact of international organisations all undermine the dominant Realist approach. Only a Pluralist analysing issue-systems offers a comprehensive alternative.
- 'The Pattern of Conferences' in A J R Groom and P Taylor, Global Issues in the United Nations Framework, (London: Macmillan, 1989).
This chapter defines what may be considered as a "global conference" and systematically analyses data on participation in 147 such conferences from 1961 to 1985. Particular attention is given to the level of participation by NGOs and the exceptional nature of the Stockholm UN Conference on the Human Environment in 1972.
- 'The United Nations as a Political System', in P Taylor and A J R Groom, International Institutions at Work, (London: Pinter Publishing, 1988).
This chapter argues that the UN cannot be understood from a reductionist approach that sees its decisions as being no more than the sum of the policies of its member states. It is an independent political system in which delegations interact more closely with each other than with their ministries in the capital cities. Delegates do not simply follow instructions. They are subject to influence by the other delegations, the caucus groups, the NGOs and secretariat officials.
Books on Global Issues that are Focused on the UN System
- A. Chetley, The Politics of Baby Foods: The International Campaign to Control the Marketing of Dried Milk by Transnational Companies ,(London: Pinter Publishers, 1986).
The book is a detailed account by the first General Administrator for the International Baby Foods Action Network (IBFAN) of the campaign to obtain the passage by the World Health Organisation of an International Code of Marketing of Breast-Milk Substitutes.
The only formal academic content is a brief preface by Peter Willetts that discusses the lack of validity of the distinction between high and low politics. The preface also includes the original source of the estimate that bottle-feeding causes one million deaths per year and an explanation of how the estimate was calculated. The figure has sometimes been attributed to UNICEF. It was based on their data, but not made by them.
The book has great value for teaching purposes, as a very rich empirical account of the relations between NGOs, TNCs, governments and international secretariats on a particular issue. Students can then be challenged to analyse it in theoretical terms for themselves.
- David Humphreys, Forest Politics. The Evolution of International
Co-operation, (London: Earthscan Publications, 1996).
book is the authoritative account of the global politics of
rainforests, in the 1980s and the early 1990s. It covers the Tropical Forestry
Action Plan of the FAO, the International Tropical Timber Organisation and the
forest negotiations during and immediately after the UN Conference on
Environment and Development. It provides a detailed account of the involvement
of NGOs in the global diplomacy. The book is based on the author's doctorate from City University.
- K. Suter, An International Law of Guerrilla Warfare: The Global Politics of
Law-Making, (London: Pinter Publishers, 1984).
The book outlines in detail the role of NGOs, notably the International
Commission of Jurists and the International Committee of the Red Cross, in
initiating and negotiating the 1997 Additional Protocols to the Geneva
- Mandy Bentham, The Global Politics of Drugs Control, (London: Macmillan Press, due 1998).
book is an important contribution to theoretical debate about the analysis of
contention over values in global politics. It concludes that there is not a
single "drug problem", but a series of policy domains, in which
issues concerning production, trade and consumption of drugs arise. In a
domain such as international finance where high consensus on the norm of
opposing money laundering exists a strong international regime has been
developed. In contrast to this there is little action on social welfare
questions, because no consensus exists on the values to be pursued, let alone
on any more specific policy norms. The book is based on the author's doctorate from City University.
- Peter Hough, The Global Politics of Pesticides, (London: Earthscan, due 1998).
book considers seven different policy domains affected by the use of
pesticides: crop production, disease control, safety of workers, environmental
pollution, food contamination, trade and Integrated Pest Management. It
demonstrates how some of the problems, notably the contamination of food, have
been successfully regulated at the global level, while NGO campaigns on other
problems have yet to make an impact. A stimulating conclusion discusses under
what conditions international regimes can be established. The book is based on the author's doctorate from City University.
Centre for International Politics, School of Social Science, City University, Northampton Square, London EC1V 0HB.
Page maintained by Peter Willetts
Last updated on 23 August 2001.