Normative Ordering in Global Administrative Space: Meanings of ‘Gender Equality’ in World Athletics

World Athletics –“the sole competent international authority” for the original Olympic sport– has evolved from a men’s only institution to a self-proclaimed “leading voice on issues of gender equality”. My examination of this institutional evolution reveals how a private association, through its regulatory decisions and practices, has given global meaning(s) to the (legal) concept of ‘gender equality’. These meanings are produced by three distinct but related tracks of regulatory change, concerned respectively with women’s (1) competing, (2) governing, and (3) very being in world athletics. Normative evolution along each track, while influenced by external normative/legal developments, is significantly shaped and constrained by certain foundational principles of World Athletics. These principles serve as both limits and strategic resources in processes of institutional contestation. Through such processes, the gendered institutional order of World Athletics is incrementally re-ordered.

The Role of the UN in Global Land Governance: (Re)Conceptualizing Land Tenure Security for the Global Indicator Framework

For the first time in the history of global UN-led goal-setting processes, so-called ‘land targets’ and ‘land indicators’ are explicitly included in the 2030 Agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals. Land indicators are indicators that supposedly allow for monitoring and tracking of progress of land governance. A core component is the ‘measuring’ of ‘tenure security’. However, as explored by recent scholarship, such indicators do not only ‘measure’ reality but create new realities. This paper examines the interconnectedness and co-constitution of international legal instruments and global governance indicators, i.e. the global indicator framework. Specifically, it investigates the drafting history of two ‘land indicators’ – the ‘tenure security indicator’ (1.4.2) and the ‘gender equality in land indicator’ (5.a.1) respectively – in order to shed light on the process of (re)conceptualization of the concept of tenure security for international/transnational/global land governance.

The Protean Consumer: Competing Conceptions of the Consumer as Drivers of EU Law and Policy-Making

The consumer, as a real person and socio-legal category, is a central character in the EU. Consumer interests are at the core of the oldest EU supranational policy – competition. Consumer protection motivates the emergence of much of EU private law. The consumer also features prominently in new strategic EU policy areas: the digital single market and data protection. Yet, these areas of EU law and policy are developed based on competing implicit understandings of what a consumer is and does. The consumer emerges as bargain-seeking or loyal, vulnerable or resistant, compulsive or confident, ethical or irresponsible. Scholarship has mapped how these different roles emerge in the law, but little attention has gone to how such roles are mobilized by different actors – EU institutions, the Member States, NGOs. My contribution focuses on different conceptions of the consumer within EU law and policy, thus adding nuance to how law-and-policy-making works at the supranational level.

Executive interpretation within the UN system: the rule of law as a means to implement UN norms and standards

Rule of law assistance has been an integral part of UN activities over the past fifteen years. While the concept has experienced some push-back from member states, especially visible in the negotiations of Sustainable Development Goal 16, where the term “rule of law” was demoted from goal- to target-level, it remains an important component of UN field operations. This contribution explores how “rule of law assistance” is understood by UN civil servants, with a focus specifically on the substantive standards that it promotes. I argue that rule of law assistance is a valuable tool for the UN as an international organization to promote the domestic implementation of legal standards that were negotiated under UN auspices, irrespective of their formal legal value. This promotion of “UN norms and standards” persists, despite political contestation of the term “rule of law”, and it has been pushed by UN international civil servants through what I label “executive interpretation”.