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This book gives an overview of the world of IOs today. It emphasizes both the practical aspects of their organization and operation, and the conceptual issues that arise at the junctures between nation-states and international authority, and between law and politics. While the focus is on inter-governmental organizations, the book also encompasses non-governmental organizations and public policy networks.

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The book first considers the main IOs and the kinds of problems they address. This includes chapters on the organizations that relate to trade, humanitarian aid, peace operations, and more, as well as chapters on the history of IOs. The book then looks at the constituent parts and internal functioning of IOs. The text also addresses the internal management of the organization, and includes chapters on the distribution of decision-making power within the organizations, the structure of their assemblies, the role of Secretaries-General and other heads, budgets and finance, and other elements of complex bureaucracies at the international level.

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Keywords: NGOs Non-Governmental Organizations , Collective security , International organizations, membership , Humanitarian intervention , International organizations, resolutions , Procedural law in international organizations , International organizations, practice and procedure. Cambridge University Press, In —15, he served as Academic Dean. Malone of Law and Practice of the United Nations , 2nd ed.

The UN in crisis: priorities for the next Secretary-General, Prof. Ian Johnstone

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For questions on access or troubleshooting, please check our FAQs , and if you can''t find the answer there, please contact us. All Rights Reserved. And the latter in particular is of interest to the general international lawyer: it suggests that the responsibility of international organizations under international law cannot fruitfully be approached from a functionalist perspective, and further suggests that our available frameworks of thinking about organizations are inadequate to address such questions as whether organizations are bound by general international law.

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Functionalism, as devised and developed, never thought about such issues and, more importantly, never could have done so coherently at any rate: a theory focusing on the principal-agent relationships cannot accommodate other concerns, at least not without diluting its original focus. To put it strongly and in different terms, functionalism has a blind spot: the issue of control. Actors other than the member states have no means of controlling organizations.

How then did this state of affairs come about? This was picked up by several others, most notably by Paul Reinsch, a lawyer cum political scientist based in Wisconsin who wrote in the early 20 th century. For Reinsch, the outstanding characteristic of organizations was that they were assigned a function and, employing a fairly narrow definition of organization, he could confidently view those functions as emanations of the common good. Now who could argue with that?

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In doing so, functionalism lost some of its connection to the common good, but without anyone noticing. While Reinsch had still paid some attention, however intuitively perhaps, to the substance of the function assigned to organizations, for Sayre and Mitrany it was the mere fact of inter-state cooperation that counted: all cooperation is, in principle, beneficial.

The net result is that entities as diverse as the World Health Organization and NATO, as diverse as the EU and the UN or the European Forest Institute, as diverse as the Nordic Investment Bank and OPEC, are said to be governed by the same legal framework, ultimately on the basis of the thought that if states would just assign functions to international organizations, then the world would be a better place, regardless of which precise functions these organizations are endowed with.

Functionalism, therewith, is a strongly a-political theory aiming to make sense of a strongly political environment, and it is under reference to the functioning of the organizations that many activities will be justified.


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That this was bound to be problematic should have been clear as early as the s and s, for instance when the UK campaigned to get Liberia expelled from the League of Nations for its cavalier attitude towards human rights. This had nothing to do with the functioning of the League; instead, it strongly suggested the intrusion of political considerations. More structural issues became clear later, e.


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In its capacity as member state it could have been subjected to functionalist concerns, but in its capacity as treaty partner it was protected by the pacta sunt servanda norm. This illustrated that when it comes to dealings between the organization and the outside world, functionalism was of little help, an impression further strengthened by episodes such as the Tin Council crisis in the s, or the long-standing discussions concerning the World Bank and human rights.

A functionalist perspective seems to offer little solace: while it may not be the function of the UN to spread diseases, if accidents occur during the proper exercise of functions, the law would nonetheless seem to protect the organization. Either way, functionalist immunities protect the UN from suit in fact, immunity is well-nigh absolute, as functionalism knows no limits , and functionalist doctrine renders uncertain even the claim that the UN did something legally wrong under international law.

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After all, there is no international prohibition of negligence, and if it is true that the peacekeepers were tested for cholera in accordance with regular practice and internal rules, then the claim of negligence becomes difficult to sustain at any rate. The piece concludes with some prospects for change. What precisely these concerns should be though remains uncertain; which other approaches offer better perspectives remains as yet unspecified, although in particular Global Administrative Law has made some waves over the last decade as a partial alternative.

Some organizations may do work most of us can appreciate within the present global structure, yet may also be complicit in keeping that unfair global structure in place: is it then preferable to find ways to control them, or should they be replaced by different entities embodying a more just global system?