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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.

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Presentation on theme: "The United Nations of the Future. What role for international law? Professor Nico Schrijver Grotius Centre for International Legal Studies, Leiden University."— Presentation transcript:

1 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

2 The international architecture for global governance and global justice Sir Hersch Lauterpacht Memorial Lectures Lauterpacht Lecture III Thursday 24 February 2011

3 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

4 UN Charter as a special treaty Its purposes and principles General public interests Widespread ratification Conciseness Long history Primacy Special legal status

5 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

6 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

7 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

8 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?

9 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

10 Review of recent reform proposals (I)

11 Review of recent reform proposals (II)

12 (Inter-)Regional Organisations on the Security Council? European Union African Union ASEAN plus Organisation of American States Organisation of Islamic Conference

13 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

14 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

15 The Establishment of the Human 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

16 Human Rights: from Commission to Council Former Commission New Council Africa15 (28%)13 (28%) Asia12 (23%)13 (28%) Latin America11 (21%)8 (17%) Eastern Europe5 (9%)6 (13%) Western Europe & Others 10 (19%)7 (15%) Total53 (100%)47 (100%)

17 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 UN treaty bodies

18 Global Governance of Economic and Financial Affairs Role Bretton Woods institutions Multiplicity of actors North – South dialogue in stalemate International cooperation for development

19 Current structure environmental governance 1.United Nations Environment Programme 2.UN Commission on Sustainable Development 3.UN Specialized Agencies (FAO, World Bank, IFAD, WMO, IMO, UNESCO) 4.Other UN institutions and organs 5.Treaty secretariats 6.Commodity organisations

20 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

21 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

22 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


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