Since the early 1800's, Irish people have emigrated in large numbers to many parts of the world. Close economic and cultural ties exist with countries where a significant proportion of the population is of Irish descent. These include Australia, Britain, Canada, New Zealand and the United States.Diplomatic relations are maintained with 89 countries.
With a view to encouraging a sense of public ownership of foreign policy, the Government is to publish a White Paper on Foreign Policy in mid-1995. As part of the preparations for the White Paper, a series of open seminars dealing with aspects of foreign policy were held at venues throughout the country in 1994 and early 1995. The topics covered included Development Cooperation, Human Rights, the United Nations and Peace-Keeping, and the European Union and the future evolution of European Security.
Ireland has been a member of the United Nations since 1955, and has been active in efforts to maintain international peace and security in accordance with the UN Charter. Ireland has twice served on the Security Council, in 1962 and in 1981-2. The Defence Forces have served with distinction in many UN peace-keeping missions and a significant proportion of their personnel is deployed on UN service today. Members of An Garda Síochána (the police force) have also served in UN peace-keeping operations in recent years (see Police, page 57 and Defence, page 60).During the plenary debate at the commencement of the General Assembly each year the Minister for Foreign Affairs has traditionally taken the opportunity to outline the Government's approach to global problems and to inform Member States of developments in relation to Northern Ireland.
Ireland supports UN specialised agencies such as the UN High Commission for Refugees, the UN Development Programme, the International Labour Organisation and the World Health rganisation. The country plays an active role in the Commission on Human Rights and in other UN fora in promoting universal standards of human rights. Ireland has been consistently involved in efforts to promote the limitation of arms, particularly nuclear weapons. The Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty originated in an Irish initiative at the UN General Assembly in 1958, and the country was first to ratify the Treaty.
In 1949 Ireland was a founder member of the Council of Europe which brings together all European parliamentary democracies. Ireland is an active participant in the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe (CSCE), now renamed the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE). The CSCE played an important role in bringing an end to the East - West divide by developing agreed norms and principles governing security, arms control, human rights and cooperation on economic, social and cultural matters. Since the end of the Cold War, the CSCE has evolved into an organisation with a key role in the spread of democratic values and in the promotion of cooperation among all European countries. Ireland is committed to the further development of the OSCE as a pan-European security forum and to achieving a central role for the organisation in continent-wide security arrangements.
The following are some of the other international organisations of which Ireland is a member: Bank for International Settlements, European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), Food and Agricultural Organisation of the United Nations (FAO), International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD, also known as the World Bank), International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO), International Development Association (IDA), International Finance Corporation (IFC), International Telecommunications Union (ITU), Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO), Universal Postal Union (UPU), World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) and the World Trade Organisation (WTO).
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