The African Union is a continental union consisting of 55 member states located on the continent of Africa, with exception of various territories of European possessions located in Africa. The bloc was founded on 26 May 2001 in Addis Ababa and launched on 9 July 2002 in South Africa; the intention of the AU is to replace the Organisation of African Unity, established on 25 May 1963 in Addis Ababa by 32 signatory governments. The most important decisions of the AU are made by the Assembly of the African Union, a semi-annual meeting of the heads of state and government of its member states; the AU's secretariat, the African Union Commission, is based in Addis Ababa. The African Union has an area of around 29 million km2 and includes popular world landmarks, including the Sahara and the Nile; the primary languages spoken include Arabic, English and Portuguese and the languages of Africa. Within the African Union, there are official bodies such as the Peace and Security Council and the Pan-African Parliament.
The objectives of the AU are the following: To achieve greater unity and solidarity between the African countries and African nations. To defend the sovereignty, territorial integrity and independence of its Member States. To accelerate the political and social-economic integration of the continent. To promote and defend African common positions on issues of interest to the continent and its peoples. To encourage international cooperation, taking due account of the Charter of the United Nations and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. To promote peace and stability on the continent. To promote democratic principles and institutions, popular participation and good governance. To promote and protect human and peoples' rights in accordance with the African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights and other relevant human rights instruments. To establish the necessary conditions which enable the continent to play its rightful role in the global economy and in international negotiations. To promote sustainable development at the economic and cultural levels as well as the integration of African economies.
To promote co-operation in all fields of human activity to raise the living standards of African peoples. To coordinate and harmonise the policies between the existing and future Regional Economic Communities for the gradual attainment of the objectives of the Union. To advance the development of the continent by promoting research in all fields, in particular in science and technology. To work with relevant international partners in the eradication of preventable diseases and the promotion of good health on the continent; the African Union is made up of both administrative bodies. The highest decision-making organ is the Assembly of the African Union, made up of all the heads of state or government of member states of the AU; the Assembly is chaired by President of Egypt. The AU has a representative body, the Pan African Parliament, which consists of 265 members elected by the national legislatures of the AU member states, its president is Roger Nkodo Dang. Other political institutions of the AU include: the Executive Council, made up of foreign ministers, which prepares decisions for the Assembly.
The AU Commission, the secretariat to the political structures, is chaired by Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma of South Africa. On 15 July 2012, Ms. Dlamini-Zuma won a contested vote to become the first female head of the African Union Commission, replacing Jean Ping of Gabon. Other AU structures are hosted by different member states: the African Commission on Human and Peoples' Rights is based in Banjul, the Gambia; the AU's first military intervention in a member state was the May 2003 deployment of a peacekeeping force of soldiers from South Africa and Mozambique to Burundi to oversee the implementation of the various agreements. AU troops were deployed in Sudan for peacekeeping during Darfur conflict, before the mission was handed over to the United Nations on 1 January 2008 UNAMID; the AU has sent a peacekeeping mission to Somalia, of which the peacekeeping troops are from Uganda and Burundi. The AU has adopted a number of important new documents establishing norms at continental level, to supplement those in force when it was created.
These include the African Union Convention on Preventing and Combating Corruption, the African Charter on Democracy and Governance, the New Partnership for Africa's Development and its associated Declaration on Democracy, Political and Corporate Governance. The historical foundations of the African Union originated in the First Congress of Independence African States, held in Accra, from 15 to 22 April 1958; the conference aimed at forming the Africa Day, to mark the liberation movement each year concerning the willingness of the African people to free themselves from foreign dictatorship, as well as subsequent attempts to unite Africa, including the Organisation of African Unity, established on 25 May 1963, the African Economic Community in 1981. Critics argued that the OAU in particular did little to protect the rights and liberties of African citizens from their own political leaders dubbing it the "Dictators' Club"; the idea of creating the AU was revived in the mid-1990s under the leadership of Libyan head of state Muammar al-Gaddafi: the heads of state and government of the OAU issued the Sirte Declara
Universal Postal Union
The Universal Postal Union, established by the Treaty of Bern of 1874, is a specialized agency of the United Nations that coordinates postal policies among member nations, in addition to the worldwide postal system. The UPU contains four bodies consisting of the Congress, the Council of Administration, the Postal Operations Council and the International Bureau, it oversees the Telematics and Express Mail Service cooperatives. Each member agrees to the same terms for conducting international postal duties; the UPU's headquarters are located in Switzerland. French is the official language of the UPU. English was added as a working language in 1994; the majority of the UPU's documents and publications – including its flagship magazine, Union Postale – are available in the United Nations' six official languages. Prior to the establishment of the UPU, each country had to prepare a separate postal treaty with other nations if it wished to carry international mail to or from them. In some cases, senders would have to calculate postage for each leg of a journey, find mail forwarders in a third country if there was no direct delivery.
To remove this complexity, the United States called for an International Postal Congress in 1863. This led Heinrich von Stephan, Royal Prussian and German Minister for Posts, to found the Universal Postal Union, it is the third oldest international organization after the Rhine Commission and the ITU. The UPU was created in 1874 under the name "General Postal Union", under the Treaty of Bern signed on October 9, 1874. Four years the name was changed to "Universal Postal Union"; the UPU established that: There should be a uniform flat rate to mail a letter anywhere in the world Postal authorities should give equal treatment to foreign and domestic mail Each country should retain all money it has collected for international postage. One of the most important results of the UPU Treaty was that it ceased to be necessary, as it had been to affix the stamps of any country through which one's letter or package would pass in transit; the UPU provides. Toward the end of the 19th century, the UPU issued rules concerning stamp design, intended to ensure maximum efficiency in handling international mail.
One rule specified. After the foundation of the United Nations, the UPU became a specialized agency of the UN in 1948. In 1969, the UPU introduced a new system of payment where fees were payable between countries according to the difference in the total weight of mail between them; these fees were called terminal dues. This new system was fairer. For example, in 2012, terminal dues for transit from China to the USA was 0.635 SDR/kg, or about 1 USD/kg. As this affected the cost of the delivery of periodicals, the UPU devised a new "threshold" system, which it implemented in 1991; the system sets separate letter and periodical rates for countries which receive at least 150 tonnes of mail annually. For countries with less mail, the original flat rate is still retained; the United States has negotiated a separate terminal dues formula with thirteen European countries that includes a rate per piece plus a rate per kilogram. The UPU operates the system of international reply coupon and addresses concerns with ETOEs.
In recent years UPU members have encountered serious problems triggered by the enormous increase in e-commerce originating from the Far East, where the terminal dues do not cover the unit costs of delivery in the destination countries, the volumes are so big that the losses cannot be compensated by better terminal dues from other traffic. In 2016, a new remuneration system was implemented with a focus on e-commerce, but while the 2016 reform balanced the costs to the delivery services, postage costs for shippers are still asymmetric; as of 2018, US companies pay more than twice as much to mail an item from a US plant to a US customer than does a manufacturer in China to mail an item to a US customer. Standards are important prerequisites for effective postal operations and for interconnecting the global network; the UPU's Standards Board develops and maintains a growing number of international standards to improve the exchange of postal-related information between postal operators. It promotes the compatibility of UPU and international postal initiatives.
The organization works with postal handling organizations, customers and other partners, including various international organizations. The Standards Board ensures that coherent regulations are developed in areas such as electronic data interchange, mail encoding, postal forms and meters. UPU standards are drafted in accordance with the rules given in Part V of the "General information on UPU Standards" and are published by the UPU International Bureau in accordance with Part VII of that publication. All United Nations member states are allowed to become members of the UPU. A non-member state of the United Nations may become a member if two-thirds of the UPU member countries approve its request; the UPU has 192 members. Member states of the UPU are the Vatican City and the 193 UN members except Andorra, Marshall Islands, t
Pan American Health Organization
The Pan American Health Organization is an international public health agency working to improve health and living standards of the people of the Americas. It is part of the United Nations system, serving as the Regional Office for the Americas of the World Health Organization and as the health organization of the Inter-American System, it is known in Latin America as the OPS or OPAS. PAHO has scientific and technical expertise at its headquarters, in its 27 country offices, its three Pan American centers, all working with the countries of the Americas in dealing with priority health issues; the health authorities of PAHO's Member States set PAHO's technical and administrative policies through its Governing Bodies. PAHO Member States include all 35 countries in the Americas. France, the Kingdom of the Netherlands, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland are Participating States, Portugal and Spain are Observer States; the Organization's essential mission is to strengthen national and local health systems and improve the health of the peoples of the Americas, in collaboration with Ministries of Health, other government and international agencies, nongovernmental organizations, social security agencies, community groups, many others.
PAHO promotes universal health coverage and universal access to health and strengthening of health systems based on primary health care strategies. It assists countries in fighting infectious diseases such as malaria, dengue, HIV and tuberculosis as well as the region's growing epidemic of noncommunicable diseases such as cardiovascular disease and diabetes. PAHO engages in technical cooperation with ministries of health and facilitates coordination with other sectors to promote health in all policies. PAHO promotes the use of research evidence to inform health care decisions and policymaking through the implementation of knowledge translation strategies such as the Evidence Informed Policy Network - EVIPNet Evipnet. In its efforts to improve health, PAHO targets the most vulnerable groups including mothers and children, the poor, the elderly, refugees and displaced persons, it focuses on issues related to equity for those who lack access to health, on a Pan American approach, encouraging countries to work together on common issues and build lasting capacities.
Specific initiatives spearheaded by PAHO include the Expanded Program on Immunization, which played a major role in the elimination of smallpox and polio from the Americas. A major priority for the Americas is cutting infant mortality, PAHO is mobilizing new political and financial resources to prevent an additional 25,000 infant deaths every year through application of the Integrated Management of Childhood Illness strategy, a simple and practical approach in which primary health care workers are taught a complete process to evaluate the health status of children brought to a health post or clinic, they learn to evaluate and treat them. They learn to give parents information on. If they see danger signs indicating the infant could die, they are taught to treat the child or take him or her to a hospital. Improvement of drinking water supplies, adequate sanitation, increased access to health care for the poor are still top priorities for PAHO, with a focus on equity; the Organization is intensifying its efforts to have countries know the true state of health of their populations and where the inequalities lie.
Program efforts focus on correcting inequality, taking into account decentralization and change of state functions, on showing that health has a role to play in the success of other sectors, on how attention to health affects positively other aspects of human development. Advocacy in this area is directed to reducing pernicious gender inequity, which reflects in some health problems of women; the Pan American approach is a part of PAHO history and the spirit of Panamericanism continues to stimulate technical cooperation among countries in health. PAHO has helped countries work together toward common goals, to initiate multi-country health ventures in Central America, the Caribbean, the Andean Region, the Southern Cone. Experience has shown practical benefits such as the solidarity that helped Central America after hurricane Mitch, there are numerous other examples. Health collaboration found expression at the highest political level when American heads of state in their Summit in Santiago accepted a health initiative called "Health Technology Linking the Americas."
The countries of Latin America and the Caribbean joined together over 20 years ago to buy vaccines through a revolving fund, bringing them tangible benefits and helping advance PAHO's efforts to eliminate or control vaccine-preventable diseases. These are among the Organization's most notable successes, starting with the eradication of smallpox from the Americas in 1973. A major effort committing the Americas to embark on polio eradication in 1985 succeeded in September 1994, when a distinguished International Commission declared the Americas polio-free; the last case of polio in the Americas was identified August 23, 1991 in a young boy named L
The United Nations is an intergovernmental organization, tasked to maintain international peace and security, develop friendly relations among nations, achieve international co-operation and be a centre for harmonizing the actions of nations. The headquarters of the UN is in Manhattan, New York City, is subject to extraterritoriality. Further main offices are situated in Geneva, Nairobi and The Hague; the organization is financed by voluntary contributions from its member states. Its objectives include maintaining international peace and security, protecting human rights, delivering humanitarian aid, promoting sustainable development and upholding international law; the UN is the largest, most familiar, most internationally represented and most powerful intergovernmental organization in the world. In 24 October 1945, at the end of World War II, the organization was established with the aim of preventing future wars. At its founding, the UN had 51 member states; the UN is the successor of the ineffective League of Nations.
On 25 April 1945, 50 governments met in San Francisco for a conference and started drafting the UN Charter, adopted on 25 June 1945 in the San Francisco Opera House, signed on 26 June 1945 in the Herbst Theatre auditorium in the Veterans War Memorial Building. This charter took effect on 24 October 1945; the UN's mission to preserve world peace was complicated in its early decades during the Cold War between the United States and Soviet Union and their respective allies. Its missions have consisted of unarmed military observers and armed troops with monitoring and confidence-building roles; the organization's membership grew following widespread decolonization which started in the 1960s. Since 80 former colonies had gained independence, including 11 trust territories, which were monitored by the Trusteeship Council. By the 1970s its budget for economic and social development programmes far outstripped its spending on peacekeeping. After the end of the Cold War, the UN shifted and expanded its field operations, undertaking a wide variety of complex tasks.
The UN has six principal organs: the General Assembly. The UN System agencies include the World Bank Group, the World Health Organization, the World Food Programme, UNESCO, UNICEF; the UN's most prominent officer is the Secretary-General, an office held by Portuguese politician and diplomat António Guterres since 1 January 2017. Non-governmental organizations may be granted consultative status with ECOSOC and other agencies to participate in the UN's work; the organization, its officers and its agencies have won many Nobel Peace Prizes. Other evaluations of the UN's effectiveness have been mixed; some commentators believe the organization to be an important force for peace and human development, while others have called the organization ineffective, biased, or corrupt. In the century prior to the UN's creation, several international treaty organizations such as the International Committee of the Red Cross was formed to ensure protection and assistance for victims of armed conflict and strife.
In 1914, a political assassination in Sarajevo set off a chain of events that led to the outbreak of World War I. As more and more young men were sent down into the trenches, influential voices in the United States and Britain began calling for the establishment of a permanent international body to maintain peace in the postwar world. President Woodrow Wilson became a vocal advocate of this concept, in 1918 he included a sketch of the international body in his 14-point proposal to end the war. In November 1918, the Central Powers agreed to an armistice to halt the killing in World War I. Two months the Allies met with Germany and Austria-Hungary at Versailles to hammer out formal peace terms. President Wilson wanted peace, but the United Kingdom and France disagreed, forcing harsh war reparations on their former enemies; the League of Nations was approved, in the summer of 1919 Wilson presented the Treaty of Versailles and the Covenant of the League of Nations to the US Senate for ratification.
On January 10, 1920, the League of Nations formally comes into being when the Covenant of the League of Nations, ratified by 42 nations in 1919, takes effect. However, at some point the League became ineffective when it failed to act against the Japanese invasion of Manchuria as in February 1933, 40 nations voted for Japan to withdraw from Manchuria but Japan voted against it and walked out of the League instead of withdrawing from Manchuria, it failed against the Second Italo-Ethiopian War despite trying to talk to Benito Mussolini as he used the time to send an army to Africa, so the League had a plan for Mussolini to just take a part of Ethiopia, but he ignored the League and invaded Ethiopia, the League tried putting sanctions on Italy, but Italy had conquered Ethiopia and the League had failed. After Italy conquered Ethiopia and other nations left the league, but all of them realised that they began to re-arm as fast as possible. During 1938, Britain and France tried negotiating directly with Hitler but this failed in 1939 when Hitler invaded Czechoslovakia.
When war broke out in 1939, the League closed down and its headquarters in Geneva remained empty throughout the war. The earliest concrete plan for a new world organization began under the aegis of the U. S. State Department in 1939; the text of the "Declaration by United Nations" was drafted at the White House on December 29, 1941, by President Franklin D. Roosevelt, Prime Minister Winston Churchill, Roosevelt aide Harry Hopkins
International Criminal Court
The International Criminal Court is an intergovernmental organization and international tribunal that sits in The Hague in the Netherlands. The ICC has the jurisdiction to prosecute individuals for the international crimes of genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes, crimes of aggression; the ICC is intended to complement existing national judicial systems and it may therefore exercise its jurisdiction only when certain conditions are met, such as when national courts are unwilling or unable to prosecute criminals or when the United Nations Security Council or individual states refer situations to the Court. The ICC began functioning on 1 the date that the Rome Statute entered into force; the Rome Statute is a multilateral treaty which serves as the ICC's foundational and governing document. States which become party to the Rome Statute, for example by ratifying it, become member states of the ICC; as of March 2019, there are 124 ICC member states. The ICC has four principal organs: the Presidency, the Judicial Divisions, the Office of the Prosecutor, the Registry.
The President is the most senior judge chosen by his or her peers in the Judicial Division, which hears cases before the Court. The Office of the Prosecutor is headed by the Prosecutor who investigates crimes and initiates proceedings before the Judicial Division; the Registry is headed by the Registrar and is charged with managing all the administrative functions of the ICC, including the headquarters, detention unit, public defense office. The Office of the Prosecutor has opened ten official investigations and is conducting an additional eleven preliminary examinations, thus far, 44 individuals have been indicted in the ICC, including Ugandan rebel leader Joseph Kony, Sudanese president Omar al-Bashir, Kenyan president Uhuru Kenyatta, Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi, Ivorian president Laurent Gbagbo, DR Congo vice-president Jean-Pierre Bemba. The ICC has faced a number of criticisms from states and civil society, including objections about its jurisdiction, accusations of bias, questioning of the fairness of its case-selection and trial procedures, doubts about its effectiveness.
The establishment of an international tribunal to judge political leaders accused of international crimes was first proposed during the Paris Peace Conference in 1919 following the First World War by the Commission of Responsibilities. The issue was addressed again at a conference held in Geneva under the auspices of the League of Nations in 1937, which resulted in the conclusion of the first convention stipulating the establishment of a permanent international court to try acts of international terrorism; the convention was signed by 13 states, but none ratified it and the convention never entered into force. Following the Second World War, the allied powers established two ad hoc tribunals to prosecute axis power leaders accused of war crimes; the International Military Tribunal, which sat in Nuremberg, prosecuted German leaders while the International Military Tribunal for the Far East in Tokyo prosecuted Japanese leaders. In 1948 the United Nations General Assembly first recognised the need for a permanent international court to deal with atrocities of the kind prosecuted after the Second World War.
At the request of the General Assembly, the International Law Commission drafted two statutes by the early 1950s but these were shelved during the Cold War, which made the establishment of an international criminal court politically unrealistic. Benjamin B. Ferencz, an investigator of Nazi war crimes after the Second World War, the Chief Prosecutor for the United States Army at the Einsatzgruppen Trial, became a vocal advocate of the establishment of international rule of law and of an international criminal court. In his first book published in 1975, entitled Defining International Aggression: The Search for World Peace, he advocated for the establishment of such a court. A second major advocate was Robert Kurt Woetzel, who co-edited Toward a Feasible International Criminal Court in 1970 and created the Foundation for the Establishment of an International Criminal Court in 1971. In June 1989 Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago A. N. R. Robinson revived the idea of a permanent international criminal court by proposing the creation of such a court to deal with the illegal drug trade.
Following Trinidad and Tobago's proposal, the General Assembly tasked the ILC with once again drafting a statute for a permanent court. While work began on the draft, the United Nations Security Council established two ad hoc tribunals in the early 1990s; the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia was created in 1993 in response to large-scale atrocities committed by armed forces during Yugoslav Wars, the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda was created in 1994 following the Rwandan Genocide. The creation of these tribunals further highlighted the need for a permanent international criminal court. In 1994, the ILC presented its final draft statute for the International Criminal Court to the General Assembly and recommended that a conference be convened to negotiate a treaty that would serve as the Court's statute. To consider major substantive issues in the draft statute, the General Assembly established the Ad Hoc Committee on the Establishment of an International Criminal Court, which met twice in 1995.
After considering the Committee's report, the General Assembly created the Preparatory Committee on the Establishment of the ICC to prepare a consolidated draft text. From 1996 to 1998, six sessions of the Preparatory Committee were held at the United Nations headquarters in New York City, during which NGOs provided input and attended meetings under the umbrella organisation of the Coalition for the International Criminal Court. In January 1998, the Bureau and coordinators
Geneva is the second-most populous city in Switzerland and the most populous city of Romandy, the French-speaking part of Switzerland. Situated where the Rhône exits Lake Geneva, it is the capital of the Canton of Geneva; the municipality has a population of 200,548, the canton has 495,249 residents. In 2014, the compact agglomération du Grand Genève had 946,000 inhabitants in 212 communities in both Switzerland and France. Within Swiss territory, the commuter area named "Métropole lémanique" contains a population of 1.26 million. This area is spread east from Geneva towards the Riviera area and north-east towards Yverdon-les-Bains, in the neighbouring canton of Vaud. Geneva is a global city, a financial centre, a worldwide centre for diplomacy due to the presence of numerous international organizations, including the headquarters of many agencies of the United Nations and the Red Cross. Geneva hosts the highest number of international organizations in the world, it is where the Geneva Conventions were signed, which chiefly concern the treatment of wartime non-combatants and prisoners of war.
In 2017, Geneva was ranked as the world's fifteenth most important financial centre for competitiveness by the Global Financial Centres Index, fifth in Europe behind London, Zürich and Luxembourg. In 2019 Geneva was ranked among the ten most liveable cities in the world by Mercer together with Zürich and Basel; the city has been referred to as the world's most compact metropolis and the "Peace Capital". In 2017, Geneva was ranked as the seventh most expensive city in the world. Geneva was ranked third in purchasing power in a global cities ranking by UBS in 2018; the city was mentioned in Latin texts, by Caesar, with the spelling Genava from the Celtic *genawa- from the stem *genu-, in the sense of a bending river or estuary. The medieval county of Geneva in Middle Latin was known as pagus major Genevensis or Comitatus Genevensis. After 1400 it became the Genevois province of Savoy; the name takes various forms in modern languages, Geneva in English, French: Genève, German: Genf, Italian: Ginevra, Romansh: Genevra.
The city shares the origin of * genawa "estuary", with the Italian port city of Genoa. Geneva was an Allobrogian border town, fortified against the Helvetii tribe, when the Romans took it in 121 BC, it became Christian under the Late Roman Empire, acquired its first bishop in the 5th century, having been connected to the Bishopric of Vienne in the 4th. In the Middle Ages, Geneva was ruled by a count under the Holy Roman Empire until the late 14th century, when it was granted a charter giving it a high degree of self-governance. Around this time, the House of Savoy came to at least nominally dominate the city. In the 15th century, an oligarchic republican government emerged with the creation of the Grand Council. In the first half of the 16th century, the Protestant Reformation reached the city, causing religious strife, during which Savoy rule was thrown off and Geneva allied itself with the Swiss Confederacy. In 1541, with Protestantism on the rise, John Calvin, the Protestant Reformer and proponent of Calvinism, became the spiritual leader of the city and established the Republic of Geneva.
By the 18th century, Geneva had come under the influence of Catholic France, which cultivated the city as its own. France tended to be at odds with the ordinary townsfolk, which inspired the failed Geneva Revolution of 1782, an attempt to win representation in the government for men of modest means. In 1798, revolutionary France under the Directory annexed Geneva. At the end of the Napoleonic Wars, on 1 June 1814, Geneva was admitted to the Swiss Confederation. In 1907, the separation of Church and State was adopted. Geneva flourished in the 19th and 20th centuries, becoming the seat of many international organizations. Geneva is located at 46°12' North, 6°09' East, at the south-western end of Lake Geneva, where the Rhône flows out, it is surrounded by three mountain chains, each belonging to the Jura: the Jura main range lies north-westward, the Vuache southward, the Salève south-eastward. The city covers an area of 15.93 km2, while the area of the canton is 282 km2, including the two small exclaves of Céligny in Vaud.
The part of the lake, attached to Geneva has an area of 38 km2 and is sometimes referred to as petit lac. The canton has only a 4.5-kilometre-long border with the rest of Switzerland. Of 107.5 km of border, 103 are shared with France, the Département de l'Ain to the north and west and the Département de la Haute-Savoie to the south and east. Of the land in the city, 0.24 km2, or 1.5%, is used for agricultural purposes, while 0.5 km2, or 3.1%, is forested. The rest of the land, 14.63 km2, or 91.8%, is built up, 0.49 km2, or 3.1%, is either rivers or lakes and 0.02 km2, or 0.1%, is wasteland. Of the built up area, industrial buildings made up 3.4%, housing and buildings made up 46.2% and transportation infrastructure 25.8%, while parks, green belts and sports fields made up 15.7%. Of the agricultural land, 0.3% is used for growing crops. Of the water in the municipality, 0.2 % is composed of lakes and 2.9 % streams. The altitude of Geneva is 373.6 metres, corresponds to the altitude of
International Monetary Fund
The International Monetary Fund is an international organization headquartered in Washington, D. C. consisting of "189 countries working to foster global monetary cooperation, secure financial stability, facilitate international trade, promote high employment and sustainable economic growth, reduce poverty around the world." Formed in 1944 at the Bretton Woods Conference by the ideas of Harry Dexter White and John Maynard Keynes, it came into formal existence in 1945 with 29 member countries and the goal of reconstructing the international payment system. It now plays a central role in the management of balance of payments difficulties and international financial crises. Countries contribute funds to a pool through a quota system from which countries experiencing balance of payments problems can borrow money; as of 2016, the fund had SDR477 billion. Through the fund, other activities such as the gathering of statistics and analysis, surveillance of its members' economies and the demand for particular policies, the IMF works to improve the economies of its member countries.
The organisation's objectives stated in the Articles of Agreement are: to promote international monetary co-operation, international trade, high employment, exchange-rate stability, sustainable economic growth, making resources available to member countries in financial difficulty. IMF funds come from two major sources:quotas and loans. Quotas, which are pooled funds of member nations, generate most IMF funds; the size of a member's quota depends on its financial importance in the world. Nations with larger economic importance have larger quotas; the quotas are increased periodically as a means of boosting the IMF's resources. The current Managing Director and Chairwoman of the International Monetary Fund is French lawyer and former politician, Christine Lagarde, who has held the post since 5 July 2011. Gita Gopinath was appointed as Chief Economist of IMF from October 1, 2018, she received her Ph. D. in economics from Princeton University. According to the IMF itself, it works to foster global growth and economic stability by providing policy advice and financing the members by working with developing nations to help them achieve macroeconomic stability and reduce poverty.
The rationale for this is that private international capital markets function imperfectly and many countries have limited access to financial markets. Such market imperfections, together with balance-of-payments financing, provide the justification for official financing, without which many countries could only correct large external payment imbalances through measures with adverse economic consequences; the IMF provides alternate sources of financing. Upon the founding of the IMF, its three primary functions were: to oversee the fixed exchange rate arrangements between countries, thus helping national governments manage their exchange rates and allowing these governments to prioritize economic growth, to provide short-term capital to aid the balance of payments; this assistance was meant to prevent the spread of international economic crises. The IMF was intended to help mend the pieces of the international economy after the Great Depression and World War II; as well, to provide capital investments for economic growth and projects such as infrastructure.
The IMF's role was fundamentally altered by the floating exchange rates post-1971. It shifted to examining the economic policies of countries with IMF loan agreements to determine if a shortage of capital was due to economic fluctuations or economic policy; the IMF researched what types of government policy would ensure economic recovery. A particular concern of the IMF was to prevent financial crisis, such as those in Mexico 1982, Brazil in 1987, East Asia in 1997–98 and Russia in 1998, from spreading and threatening the entire global financial and currency system; the challenge was to promote and implement policy that reduced the frequency of crises among the emerging market countries the middle-income countries which are vulnerable to massive capital outflows. Rather than maintaining a position of oversight of only exchange rates, their function became one of surveillance of the overall macroeconomic performance of member countries, their role became a lot more active because the IMF now manages economic policy rather than just exchange rates.
In addition, the IMF negotiates conditions on lending and loans under their policy of conditionality, established in the 1950s. Low-income countries can borrow on concessional terms, which means there is a period of time with no interest rates, through the Extended Credit Facility, the Standby Credit Facility and the Rapid Credit Facility. Nonconcessional loans, which include interest rates, are provided through Stand-By Arrangements, the Flexible Credit Line, the Precautionary and Liquidity Line, the Extended Fund Facility; the IMF provides emergency assistance via the Rapid Financing Instrument to members facing urgent balance-of-payments needs. The IMF is mandated to oversee the international monetary and financial system and monitor the economic and financial policies of its member countries; this activity facilitates international co-operation. Since the demise of the Bretton Woods system of fixed exchange rates in the early 1970s, surveillance has evolved by way of changes in procedures rather than through the adoption of new obligations.
The responsibilities changed from those of guardian to those of overseer of members' policies. The Fund analyses the appropriateness of each member country's economic and financial policies for achieving orderly economic growth, assesses the consequences of these policies for other countries and for the global e