Relations with World Organizations
Colombia has been an active member of the UN since the organization was founded. It belonged to numerous UN organizations, including the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT), the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC), and the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD). Under the National Front governments, Colombia became a major recipient of funds and programs from international bodies, such as the IDB, IMF, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), and International Labour Organisation (ILO). Colombia preferred to handle security and global matters through the international forums provided by the UN General Assembly and Security Council. Pursuing a somewhat independent course, Colombia became a respected voice in the General Assembly and other international arenas on matters of international law. It played an active role in the various UN conferences on the law of the sea. In late 1975, it became the first nation to call on the General Assembly for a legal definition of outer space and geostationary orbits, arguing that nations have "inalienable and untransferable" sovereign rights to the airspace directly above them, including the geostationary orbit.
Betancur also played a role in improving international trade conditions for developing countries through the International Coffee Agreement (which he helped to renegotiate in 1983), UNCTAD, Aladi, and the Inter-American Economic and Social Council (Consejo Interamericano Econůmico y Social--CIAES). Other international organizations to which Colombia belonged in the late 1980s included the World Bank and International the Telecommunications Satellite Organization (Intelsat), the Washington-based communications consortium.
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