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  • Author: Andrew Guzman
  • Publication Date: 02-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: European Journal of International Law
  • Institution: European Journal of International Law
  • Abstract: In the classic novel, Frankenstein , Doctor Frankenstein creates a living creature in the hope of cheating death. The monster turns against Doctor Frankenstein and kills several people, causing the doctor to regret his decision to make the monster in the first place. When states establish an international organization (IO), they create an institution with a life of its own. In doing so, states risk the institution becoming a monster and acting contrary to their interests. In contrast to Frankenstein, however, states are aware of this risk and are able to guard against it. This article explains that much of the existing landscape of international organizations has been formed by the state response to this 'Frankenstein problem'. The effort by states to avoid creating a monster explains, among other things, why there are so many IOs, why they vary so widely in scope, and the manner in which they are permitted (and not permitted) to affect international law and international relations. The article also identifies the four types of activities that IOs are typically allowed to undertake and explains how states choose which activities to place within which organizations. In addition to providing a new analytical perspective on IOs and how states use them, the article advances the normative argument that states have been too conservative. As if they learned the lessons of Frankenstein too well, states have been reluctant to give IOs the authority necessary to make progress on important global issues. Though there is a trade-off between the preservation of state control over the international system and the creation of effective and productive IOs, states have placed far too much weight on the former and not nearly enough on the latter.
  • Political Geography: United Nations
  • Author: Rear Admiral Nils Wang
  • Publication Date: 03-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal of Military and Strategic Studies
  • Institution: Centre for Military and Strategic Studies
  • Abstract: In May 2008, the five Arctic coastal states - the United States, Russia, Canada, Norway and the Kingdom of Denmark, including Greenland and the Faroe Islands - signed the Illulissat Declaration. The declaration established that the 'Arctic Five' will lay claim to the sea territorial rights awarded to them by the 1982. United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), and that they will settle disputes within the framework of existing international law. This was a very strong message to NGOs and external state actors, arguing that a protective treaty should govern the Arctic, just like the Antarctic.
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States, Japan, China, Canada, India, Norway, Denmark, United Nations, Italy
  • Author: Paul Ballonoff
  • Publication Date: 03-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Cato Journal
  • Institution: The Cato Institute
  • Abstract: Recently The Economist (2013a), a prominent journalistic advocate of strong policies to control CO2 emissions, expressed their puzzlement on the absence of warming over the last 15 years. They observed that this flat period of global average temperature occurred despite that CO2 emissions from human sources continued at an increased rate. The total human-produced CO2 emissions in that period of flat temperatures represent a quarter of all such emissions ever produced. The standard climate models, such as those used by the United Nation's International Panel on Climate Change (UN IPCC), anticipated that such massive CO2 increases should have caused continuing increases in average global temperatures. The Economist noted that observed global average temperature is now at the lowest end of the predicted range, and that if the present trend continues, the actual temperatures will soon be below even the lowest forecasts. Most recently, Fyfe, Gillett, and Zwiers (2013) demonstrated that the current climate models have experienced a systematic failure—a finding very similar to Knappenberger and Michaels (2013).
  • Topic: Environment, United Nations
  • Political Geography: United Nations
  • Author: Ban Ki-moon
  • Publication Date: 04-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Americas Quarterly
  • Institution: Council of the Americas
  • Abstract: The private sector has long been a key partner for the United Nations on advancing sustainable development initiatives throughout the world. Today, climate change presents one of the most urgent global challenges to sustainable development, and it will demand the support and engagement of the private sector to confront it effectively. Investing in green energy is not only the right thing to do morally, but also, for companies who take it up, benefits the bottom line.
  • Topic: Environment
  • Political Geography: New York, United Nations
  • Author: Steven Cohen
  • Publication Date: 04-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Americas Quarterly
  • Institution: Council of the Americas
  • Abstract: Climate change has been called the biggest global challenge of the current generation. As scientific uncertainty has diminished, climate change has emerged as an important item on the international institutional agenda.
  • Topic: Environment
  • Political Geography: United Nations
  • Author: Ruti Teitel
  • Publication Date: 04-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Ethics International Affairs Journal
  • Institution: Carnegie Council
  • Abstract: Whence does international law derive its normative force as law in a world that remains, in many respects, one where legitimate politics is practiced primarily at the national level? As with domestically focused legal theories, one standard answer is positivistic: the law's authority is based on its origin in agreed procedures of consent. This is certainly plausible with respect to treaty obligations and commitments that derive from the United Nations Charter, but it leaves customary international law vulnerable to legitimacy critiques-of which there is no shortage among international law skeptics. Even with respect to conventional international norms, such as treaty provisions, there is often a sense that such consent is democratically thinner than the public consent to domestic law, particularly fundamental domestic law, constitutional norms, and derivative principles of legitimate governance. State consent in international law, in this view, is often a very imperfect proxy for democratic consent to international legal norms. While it is obvious to international lawyers why (as a matter of positive law doctrine) state consent should make international norms prevail over domestic norms to which there is arguably deeper democratic consent, persistent critics of international law have questioned whether this should be so as a matter of legitimacy.
  • Political Geography: United Nations
  • Author: Paloma Muñoz Quick
  • Publication Date: 04-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Americas Quarterly
  • Institution: Council of the Americas
  • Abstract: While numerous United Nations mechanisms have addressed the impact of business activities on Indigenous rights, it was only in 2011—with the UN Human Rights Council's unanimous endorsement of the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights—that the role of businesses in respecting, or abusing, these rights was officially acknowledged.
  • Topic: Human Rights
  • Political Geography: United Nations
  • Author: Angela Bunch
  • Publication Date: 04-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Americas Quarterly
  • Institution: Council of the Americas
  • Abstract: Indigenous peoples' control over natural resources continues to be one of the most controversial issues in international law. Numerous international human rights treaties recognize Indigenous communities' right to be consulted over the use of resources on or beneath their communal lands. But international law tends to consider third parties' exploitation of natural resources on Indigenous land to be legal—as long as Indigenous rights to consultation, participation and redress, among other rights, are met.
  • Topic: International Law
  • Political Geography: United Nations
  • Author: James W. Nickel
  • Publication Date: 08-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Ethics International Affairs Journal
  • Institution: Carnegie Council
  • Abstract: Like people born shortly after World War II, the international human rights movement recently had its sixty-fifth birthday. This could mean that retirement is at hand and that death will come in a few decades. After all, the formulations of human rights that activists, lawyers, and politicians use today mostly derive from the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and the world in 1948 was very different from our world today: the cold war was about to break out, communism was a strong and optimistic political force in an expansionist phase, and Western Europe was still recovering from the war. The struggle against entrenched racism and sexism had only just begun, decolonization was in its early stages, and Asia was still poor (Japan was under military reconstruction, and Mao's heavy-handed revolution in China was still in the future). Labor unions were strong in the industrialized world, and the movement of women into work outside the home and farm was in its early stages. Farming was less technological and usually on a smaller scale, the environmental movement had not yet flowered, and human-caused climate change was present but unrecognized. Personal computers and social networking were decades away, and Earth's human population was well under three billion.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Human Rights, Human Welfare, International Law, International Political Economy, Sovereignty, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: United States, Japan, China, Europe, Asia, United Nations
  • Author: Andrew Gilmour
  • Publication Date: 08-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Ethics International Affairs Journal
  • Institution: Carnegie Council
  • Abstract: Ever since the Charter of the United Nations was signed in 1945, human rights have constituted one of its three pillars, along with peace and development. As noted in a dictum coined during the World Summit of 2005: "There can be no peace without development, no development without peace, and neither without respect for human rights." But while progress has been made in all three domains, it is with respect to human rights that the organization's performance has experienced some of its greatest shortcomings. Not coincidentally, the human rights pillar receives only a fraction of the resources enjoyed by the other two—a mere 3 percent of the general budget.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Human Rights, Human Welfare, International Law, International Political Economy, Sovereignty, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Europe, United Nations