International cooperation: what is it?

Everyone who regularly watches the news on the central television channels has definitely paid attention to the impressive place occupied by the block of international events. We are told about the international cooperation of Russia with different countries and the next sanctions against our state. If an international forum or interstate negotiations are taking place somewhere, they will tell us about it. If we sign any international agreement on cooperation in an important area for us, the news will also be sure to tell about it.

Today we will not go into such nuances as the completeness of information or the possible bias of its presentation in some cases. Today we are talking about the fact that the political and economic cooperation of states is a very important area, the influence of which on our lives is quite large. Some consequences affect our lives and our wallet almost immediately when it comes to military operations or sanctions. Some will have long-term consequences for future generations when it comes to, for example, ecology and limits on emissions into the atmosphere.

Therefore, it will be useful to understand what international cooperation is, what kind of cooperation between countries is, what is the essence of cooperation. At the same time, it is worth remembering that any cooperation is, first of all, communication between very specific people. So if you go through our programs “ Best Communication Techniques ” and “ Relationship Psychology ”, it will be easier for you to understand what is happening both in higher spheres and in the head of your interlocutor.

So let’s get started!

International cooperation: what is it?

First, let’s look at what the term “collaboration” means. This is a process of joint activity in any area. It is usually assumed that such interaction is mutually beneficial, and in the process of such joint activity, each participant achieves some of his goals.

Accordingly, international cooperation is the interaction of two or more countries in various fields: science, education, tourism, healthcare, the military-industrial complex, etc. This can be joint or mutually agreed production, mutual guarantee of risks and investments, mutual recognition of educational diplomas and covid vaccination certificates, and much more.

As a result, each party receives various tangible or intangible benefits: access to goods and technologies, sale of goods and technologies, freedom of movement of capital, scientific personnel, tourists, savings in the joint development or use of any resources.

It happens that for some of the parties the benefit is not obvious, and the terms of cooperation are not very favorable. However, this is only at first glance. For example, the Soviet Union invested huge amounts of money in the construction of schools, hospitals, power plants in developing countries, taught foreign students in medical and technical universities, and shared technology almost for nothing. In return, the USSR received support from developing countries in the international arena, which was very useful in the era of the Cold War.

In any case, international cooperation is a profitable and expedient for some reason interaction of two or more states.

Types and forms of cooperation

We have already begun to talk about the fact that cooperation between countries can develop in a variety of areas. In what directions is the development of cooperation at the state level going in the first place?

Main types of international cooperation:

  • political cooperation.
  • Economic cooperation.
  • Scientific and technical cooperation.
  • Cooperation in the field of education.
  • Cooperation in the field of medicine and healthcare.
  • Cooperation in the field of culture and art.
  • Cooperation in the field of information, communications and telecommunications.
  • Cooperation in the field of ecology and nature protection.
  • Cooperation in the field of combating crime.
  • Cooperation in the military sphere.

Cooperation can develop both within existing structures and involve the emergence of new governing bodies. For example, the United Nations (UN) was created to develop cooperation between states in maintaining peace and preventing wars. Initially, it included 50 member states of the anti-Hitler coalition, but later the UN united almost all states of the world recognized in the international arena [ UN, 2022 ].

In view of the fact that maintaining peace and countering wars is a very multifaceted process, appropriate organizational structures are needed to achieve this goal. Therefore, within the framework of the UN, the main bodies operate, such as the General Assembly, the Security Council, the UN Secretariat and others.

In addition, within the framework of the UN, specialized agencies work in various areas. For example, UNESCO is a specialized agency of the United Nations for the development of education, science and culture in different countries [ UNESCO, 2022 ].

Consider the example of NATO. The NATO bloc was originally created in 1949 as a military-political association, the purpose of which was to protect Europe from possible aggression from the USSR. Over the past seven decades, many new countries have joined NATO, and in 1994 the Partnership for Peace cooperation program for non-NATO countries was launched.

Thus, when a country expresses a desire to cooperate with NATO, neither this country nor NATO needs to “reinvent the wheel” and any organizational and legal forms for such interaction. This intention can be implemented within the framework of already existing NATO structures [ NATO, 2020 ].

Or, for example, the European Union (EU), created on the basis of the European Economic Community (EEC) in 1992. Here, the former cooperation within the framework of the EEC became the basis for the creation of a new structure. The initial goal of the EU was regional integration within Europe in the broadest sense of the word: open markets, free movement of people, capital, goods and services, unification of legislation, mutual recognition of diplomas and other documents [ European Union, 2022 ].

The organization of cooperation on such a scale required the creation of many EU bodies and institutions: the European Council, the European Parliament, the European Commission with the functions of the EU government, the Court of Justice of the European Union, the European Court of Accounts and the Central Bank. Each of these bodies is responsible for a certain area of ​​cooperation (finance, law, others) or provides a consolidated position of the European Union on certain international problems.

In general, it should be noted that almost all areas of cooperation are somehow related to politics, which can be seen in the example of the sanctions imposed against Russia. So, due to political disagreements that have arisen at the international level, almost everyone suffers, from retail chains and car factories to athletes and breeders of thoroughbred cats.

And this despite the fact that neither an international-class athlete, nor the owner of a Siamese cat or a Maine Coon, nor the board of directors of an enterprise can directly influence the international policy of their state. Simply because it is not within its competence, and the state has its own structures responsible for foreign policy.

In what format can cooperation be carried out at the international level? This is, first of all, representation and participation in the work of governing structures and bodies that ensure the interaction of countries. For example, representation in EU structures for EU member states, reports and other forms of participation in the work of the European Parliament by representatives of countries that have signed the Association and Free Trade Agreement with the EU, etc.

By the way, the Association Agreement is also a format of international cooperation, because it is, in fact, a cooperation agreement. In principle, any cooperation agreement, bilateral or multilateral within an organization, a declaration of intent, a program of joint actions, or any other document is also a form of cooperation between countries.

Documents signed at the international level predetermine the vector of cooperation. However, in any interaction, especially at the state level, there are many organizational and technical issues that do not require the participation of the entire government and parliament. For the technical implementation of international cooperation issues, there are forms.

These are, for example, intergovernmental commissions on trade and economic cooperation, scientific and technical cooperation or the solution of some regional problem. For example, the intergovernmental commission for the organization of the Europe-Caucasus-Asia transport corridor (TRACECA from the English Transport Corridor Europe-Caucasus-Asia), where countries interested in solving the task are participating [ TRACECA, 2022 ].

Intergovernmental commissions are also created to solve global problems on a global scale. An example is the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission under the auspices of UNESCO, which allows for the coordination of scientific research and expeditions at the working level, provides for the exchange of data, and facilitates the training of scientific personnel for countries conducting oceanographic research [ UNESCO, 2021 ].

In addition, constant coordination of actions at the intergovernmental level makes it possible to establish a global warning system for emerging tsunamis and other dangers from the ocean [ E. Davis, 2017 ]. A tsunami, originating in one part of the ocean, then moves in a certain direction.

The sooner the countries in which the tsunami is heading receive this information, the more time they will have to assess the potential danger and take adequate measures. For example, to evacuate the population. However, for timely notification, an established system of information exchange should work, which is ensured by work at the level of the intergovernmental commission.

If the work of the intergovernmental commission covers a very wide range of issues, special working groups are created in the structure of the commission for each direction. For example, according to the situation as of May 2022, the Russian-Hungarian intergovernmental commission on economic cooperation has 11 working groups: on energy, construction, industry, agriculture, etc. [ Embassy of Hungary in Moscow, 2022 ].

The result of the work of such highly specialized working groups as part of intergovernmental commissions are agreements on holding international forums, conferences, and world exhibitions. The direct organization of such events is carried out by the organizing committee, which usually works in close cooperation with the authorities that oversee the holding of international events of this kind.

Separately, it is worth talking about cross-border cooperation between states. The same forms are practiced here as for any other international cooperation: the signing of treaties and agreements, the work of intergovernmental commissions, the development of interregional cooperation programs, the holding of interregional forums and exhibitions [ I. Logvinova, 2017 ]. The only difference is that they are aimed more at developing interaction between regions, rather than states as a whole.

One hardly needs to be a specialist in international relations to notice that residents of border regions always interact with their neighbors more intensively than with anyone else, regardless of the presence or absence of regulatory and regulatory documents.

So, in Vladivostok, there are traditionally a lot of “right-hand drive” cars imported from nearby Japan. Almost the entire adult population of St. Petersburg managed to visit neighboring Finland, because it is available as part of a weekend tour. And from Blagoveshchensk, bordering with China, it is easier to go to China for shopping yourself than to order the right product on the Internet or look in stores.

The state tries to intervene in the existing cooperation, often through prohibitions. For example, a couple of years ago, motorists were excited by the message that “Right-hand drive cars for other regions are prohibited from registering in Vladivostok” [ VL Novosti, 2020 ].

The problem here is that when registering in Vladivostok, it was then possible to go home “on your own” in a freshly bought car, and with such a ban, you need to pay extra for delivery to the region. This is an example when the state, instead of facilitating the development of cross-border trade, is looking at how to “snatch” an extra penny for itself from the pockets of its citizens.

However, not everywhere and not always the state creates obstacles to interregional cooperation. It also happens vice versa, especially since the field for cooperation is the widest. This includes the simplification of the visa regime for the border regions, and the development of direct transport links between the border regions, weekend tours, cultural exchange, education at universities in a neighboring country for young people from adjacent regions, joint and coordinated environmental activities.

The latter is extremely important, because if, for example, production waste is dumped somewhere into a river that passes through the territory of several countries, the negative consequences will affect all countries located along the riverbed. Therefore, border regions often coordinate actions at their local level, which is always faster than waiting for decisions on every small issue from the central authorities.

In particular, for this purpose, in 1998, the international organization “Euroregion Lower Danube” was created, uniting the border regions of Moldova, Ukraine and Romania. In addition to solving environmental issues, within the framework of the Lower Danube Euroregion, issues of integrating the transport infrastructure of border regions, combating organized crime and smuggling, and preventing natural disasters and floods are being addressed.

In the image and likeness of larger international organizations, the General Assembly of the Association for Cross-Border Cooperation “Euroregion Lower Danube” is periodically held and governing bodies are elected [ E. Vesnina, 2018 ]. Within the framework of the organization, special commissions have been created for transport, communications, energy, environmental protection, the fight against crime and others.

It can be said that cross-border cooperation is a promising direction for the development of both international cooperation in general and the economic potential of a particular territory in particular. Serious scientific research is devoted to this topic. In particular, the study “Local border traffic as a form of liberalization of the visa regime and development of the territory” [ G. Kretinin, D. Mironyuk, 2014 ].

So, let’s summarize the forms in which international cooperation can be carried out.

Forms of international cooperation:

  • Creation of international organizations.
  • Representation and participation in the work of international organizations
  • Contracts and agreements on cooperation.
  • Cooperation programs.
  • intergovernmental commissions.
  • International forums, conferences, exhibitions.

Thus, you and I have received a general idea of ​​what international cooperation is and how it is carried out. And now I would like to ask a question: what will happen if there is no international cooperation…? Why do we need to cooperate with other countries?

Goals of international cooperation

It seems that while we understood the nuances and formats of international cooperation, we already understood why it is needed. At a minimum, then, to make our world more comfortable and communicative, to make it easier to get acquainted with different countries and cultures, so that medicines, goods, technologies and a decent standard of living are available where they cannot yet produce all of the above on their own.

What will happen if all this does not happen? After all, somehow our distant ancestors lived in those days when there were no telephones or airplanes, and people did not know not only what was happening at the “other end of the world”, but even that this “other end of the world” exists?

The answer lies in the question itself. If we do not develop international cooperation, then very soon we will live exactly like this: without aircraft, communications, the latest technologies, having no idea what is happening on the “other side of the world” and the ability to timely receive information about the potential danger in the form of natural disasters, natural and man-made disasters.

With the current interconnectedness and interdependence of “everything and everything” in this world, almost any catastrophe risks becoming planetary, as happened with the covid epidemic, and almost every serious military conflict becomes an occasion to discuss the possibility of World War III. Therefore, today international cooperation is not just a guarantee of comfort and prosperity, but a vital condition for the survival of all mankind.

We believe that everything will be fine on the scale of the planet Earth. We invite you to our programs ” Best Communication Techniques ” and ” Relationship Psychology ” so that everything goes well for you personally. And we propose to answer the question on the topic of the article:




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