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The United Nations of the Future. What role for international law?. Professor Nico Schrijver Grotius Centre for International Legal Studies, Leiden University. Sir Hersch Lauterpacht Memorial Lectures 2010-11. The international architecture for global governance and global justice .

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the united nations of the future what role for international law

The United Nations of the Future. What role for international law?

Professor Nico Schrijver

Grotius Centre for International Legal Studies,

Leiden University

Sir Hersch Lauterpacht Memorial Lectures 2010-11

the international architecture for global governance and global justice

The international architecture for global governance and global justice

Lauterpacht Lecture III

Thursday 24 February 2011

Sir Hersch Lauterpacht Memorial Lectures 2010-11

major substantive changes
Major substantive changes
  • From negative to positive peace
  • From military towards comprehensive security
  • From Cold War human rights rhetoric towards universality and indivisibility
  • From external to internal self-determination and good governance
  • From economic towards sustainable development
un charter as a special treaty
UN Charter as a special treaty
  • Its purposes and principles
  • General public interests
  • Widespread ratification
  • Conciseness
  • Long history
  • Primacy
  • Special legal status
diversity of sources of un law
Diversity of sources of ‘UN law’
  • Charter
  • Normative ‘soft law’ on human rights, self-determination, peace and security, development and environment
  • ‘Hard law’, including treaty law and peremptory norms
current problems in global governance i
Current problems in global governance (I)
  • Poor organisation of consultation and decision-making on international affairs
  • Representativeness and effectiveness
  • Weak transparency, legitimacy and accountability
  • Role of civil society
  • Role of business sector
current problems in global governance ii
Current problems in global governance (II)
  • Fragmented rather than comprehensive approaches
  • No coherence
  • Significant gaps, e.g. environment
  • Risk of ad hoc groups such as G-8 or G-20 taking over part of mandate UN
un under attack
UN under attack

Security Council – representative?

General Assembly – “we the peoples”?

ECOSOC – merely sleeping beauty

Trusteeship Council – empty shell

International Court of Justice – world court?

Secretary-General – secretary or general?

security council reform i
Security Council reform (I)
  • Composition
  • Functioning
  • Implied powers or mission creep?
  • Acting ultra vires?
  • Primus inter pares? Relationship with regional organisations
  • Relationship with the GA and ICJ
inter regional organisations on the security council
(Inter-)Regional Organisations on the Security Council?
  • European Union
  • African Union
  • ASEAN plus
  • Organisation of American States
  • Organisation of Islamic Conference
alternative idea for composition security council
Alternative Idea for Composition Security Council
  • China, France, Russia, UK, USA (P-5)
  • India
  • Japan
  • Brazil
  • South Africa
  • European Union
  • African Union
  • ASEAN plus
  • Organisation of American States
  • Organisation of Islamic Conference
  • One elected member from each region (4)

Total 18

current human rights architecture
Current human rights architecture
  • General Assembly
  • Security Council
  • ECOSOC
  • UN Secretary-General
  • International Court

of Justice

  • Office of the High

Commissioner for

Human Rights

  • Human Rights Council
the establishment of the human rights council in 2006
The Establishment of theHuman Rights Council in 2006
  • UNGA Res. 60/251, 15 March 2006
  • Membership: from 53 to 47
  • Election by simple majority in GA
  • Suspension of membership by two third majority
  • Merely advisory and recommendatory powers
un treaty bodies
UN treaty bodies
  • Human Rights Committee (civil and political rights)
  • Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights
  • Committee on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination
  • Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women
  • Committee Against Torture
  • Committee on the Rights of the Child
  • Committee on the Rights of all Migrant Workers and Members of their Families
  • Committee on the Rights of Persons with a Disability
  • Committee on Forced Disappearances
global governance of economic and financial affairs
Global Governance of Economic and Financial Affairs

Role Bretton Woods institutions

Multiplicity of actors

North – South dialogue in stalemate

International cooperation for development

current structure environmental governance
Current structure environmental governance

United Nations Environment Programme

UN Commission on Sustainable Development

UN Specialized Agencies (FAO, World Bank, IFAD, WMO, IMO, UNESCO)

Other UN institutions and organs

Treaty secretariats

Commodity organisations

features of environmental governance
Poor organization and environmental consultation and decision-making

Fragmentation and proliferation

Integration of environment, development still to be achieved

Interaction between local, national, regional and global levels

Drastic measures necessary for redesigning the international architecture for environmental governance and global resource management

Features of environmental governance
alternative ideas for improving global environmental governance
Environmental Security Council

Green UN police forces

International environmental Ombudsman

Upgrading UNEP into Specialized Agency

Single treaty body for environmental conventions

UN World Environment Organization (UN WEO)

Alternative Ideas for improving global environmental governance
post un era who is the ultimate guardian of general public interests
Post-UN era? Who is the ultimate guardian of general public interests?

Civil society and corporate sector

World peoples’ assembly

Regional organizations on the Security Council

EU, AU, OAS, ASEAN

Stand-by police force and UN army

New World Environment Organization

Towards a World Court on Human Rights

Improving compulsory jurisdiction International Court of Justice