Tuesday, March 30, 2010

The Western European Union

The Flag of the Western European Union

The WEU was formed out of the Treaty of Brussels in 1954, which formed an organisation with the stated aim of creating in Western Europe the firm basis of economic recovery, to promote unity in western Europe in the face of aggression, and to promote unity and integration.

The WEU as an organisation has full members, and associate members, observers, and partner nations. Though the future of the WEU is under much debate, with many of its functions undertaken now by the EU itself. Indeed, Britain has served notice to withdraw from the WEU by the end of 2010, and the president of the WU has stated that it is likely that by early 2011, it is likely that the WEU will be obsolete, and the organisation will be disbanded.

The flag for the WEU consists of the initials of the WEU in English and French arranged in a cross shape in the centre of a blue field, with a semi circle of gold stars underneath. Each star representing a member state.

Member States

Belgium                    France
Germany               Greece
Italy                       Luxembourg
The Netherlands     Portugal
Spain                     The United Kingdom

Associate Member States

Czech Republic     Hungary
Iceland                   Norway
Poland                  Turkey

Observer States

Austria                  Denmark
Finland                 Ireland

Associated Partner States

Bulgaria                Estonia
Latvia               Lithuania
Romania               Slovenia

The United Nations

The Flag of The United Nations

The United Nations was born out of the ashes of the League of Nations, the organisation set up after World War 1, to act as a forum for nations to discuss issues, rather than going down the path to war. However, the Second World War followed, and the United Nations was born. This time, with slightly better teeth.

The United Nations came into being after the war, when the 5 (future) permanent members of the Security Council, The US, The UK, France, China, and the Soviet Union, all signed, along with a majority of the other nations at the Conference on International Organisation.

The United Nations is divided into 5 major organs. The Security Council, which is able to pass binding resolutions on member-states, the General Assembly, which is the main deliberative chamber with each nation having 1 vote. There is also Economic and Social Council, the Secretariat, and the International Court of Justice.

The United Nations currently uses 6 official languages. Arabic, simplified Chinese, (British) English, French, Russian, and Spanish. 

The first flag of the United Nations took an emblem that could be converted simply into a pin for its members. And finally settled in a top-down map of the world, with the north pole at the centre of the map. It also placed the USA at the centre of the projection as the US was the host for the new United Nations, in New York.

Surrounding the map are 2 olive branches, linking together at the bottom to symbolise the new organisations hope for peace in the world. This emblem was white, placed on a light blue banner. The colour chosen as the opposite of red, the colour of war.

Many of the United Nations constituent organisations use the same colour combinations as the host emblem. Some of the banners in use take elements from the main UN flag, whilst others do not.

The IAEA is independent of the UN, but reports to the Security Council. Its job is to foster peaceful scientific links between nations, as well as encouraging the peaceful development for nuclear technology, whilst taking steps to prevent the transference of nuclear weapons technology. Its banner takes the light blue background, with the olive branches, but replaces the globe with a Rutherford model of the atom.

The International Civil Aviation Organisation aims to push for standardised levels of safeguards and checks internationally for air travel. By pushing for unified standards, they hope to allow the aviation industry to develop more quickly. The flag of the ICAO consists of the UN flag, but with wings superimposed over the logo.

The International Labour Organisation replaces the central map of the world with a cog wheel that has been split into three parts, with "ILO" placed in the centre. The organisation itself campaigns for the rights of workers around the world.

The International Maritime Organisation shrinks the image of the world down, and superimposes it over 2 anchors linked by a short length of chain. This organisation has a similar remit to the ICAO, pushing for uniform regulations with regards shipping round the world.

The ITU removes the standard UN logo, and replaces it with a 3D representation of the globe with a flash of lightning, and the letters "ITU" placed over it. The ITU is the oldest of all United Nations Organisations, and is responsible for international telecommunications.

UNESCO features a simplified image of the Parthenon in Greece, with the letters "UNESCO" acting as the pillars. UNESCO was established to deal with education and culture around the world. Most significantly looking after major cultural sites.

UNICEF imposes the image of a mother holding her baby over the UN globe. UNICEF is responsible for emergency aid, education, and health related issues for children around the world.

The Universal Postal Union took the uniform UN banner, and removed the UN logo, to replace it with a simple image of the globe surrounded by people of various ethnicities sharing letters around it. The UPU was founded to ensure there where 3 basic principles followed with regards international post. 1, that the host nation gets to keep the money from international postage. 2, that domestic postal services treat international mail equally to domestic. 3, that member states hold to a reasonably uniform rate for shipping letters round the world.

The World Health Organisation places the staff and serpent image of medicine over the UN image. The WHO is responsible for international health issues, such as monitoring, coordinating, and assisting with the treating of epidemics. It is also engaged in inoculation campaigns to eradicate diseases in many of the Earth's continents.

The World Meteorological Organisation places an eight point star at the top of the map, with the letters "WMO" on either side, in English, and in French. This organisation deals with climactic studies.

Then, in 1947, the decision was made to remove the dominance of any 1 nation in the flag, and rotate the map so that it was vertically bisected by the international dateline and Prime Meridian. Though, ironically, this does place Britain almost smack in the middle!

The UN flag has also been used as the inspiration for many flags, not just those of the organisations different bodies. For example, during the UN mandate of Cambodia, it used the UN colours of light blue and white. Various flag proposals have featured the UN olive branches, such as the proposed flag for Kosovo, and Bosnia.

Member States

Most of the nations of the world are members of the United Nations, meaning it is easier to list the nations that are NOT part of the United Nations! Some, such as the Vatican City, have observer status (*) whilst others are outside the organisation entirely, like Taiwan.

Kosovo                    Taiwan
Vatican City *

The Pacific Community

The Flag of the Pacific Community

The Pacific Community was formed after the Second World War to promote close co-operation between the island states of the southern Pacific. It has since developed into a community sharing assistance between the member states through three fields. 

The first area is land, where they work on crops, biodiversity, forestation, and other topics. Another area for co-operation is marine resources, working on marine legislation, tourism, and conservation activities. The final area is social. This includes human development, health, and cultural affairs.

The flag of the Pacific Community is a blue field on which is an incomplete circle of stars, representing each territory involved in the organisation, and completed with a light blue bar representing the Community uniting the territories together.

Within the circle consisting of a sail, a palm tree, and the ocean. The sail represents movement and change, the ocean represents the links between the nations, and the palm tree represents wealth.
Member States

American Samoa    Australia
Cook Islands          Fiji
French Polynesia         France
Guam                      Kiribati
Marshall Islands       Micronesia
Nauru                     Niue
Northern Marianas  New Caledonia
New Zealand          Palau
Papua New Guinea      Pitcairn Islands
Solomon Islands     Tokelau
Tonga                     Tuvalu
USA                       Vanuatu
Wallis & Fortuna Isles