The power of the purse: the law of international organizations between social development and economic interests

International organizations has undergone dramatic changes in the last thirty years -the most relevant one being the development of rules governing their relationships with individuals. This body of public law should allow the organizations to face global challenges, such as development and social justice. Does this body of rules effectively fulfil these objectives? Does it instead achieve other goals? Does the content of these rules suggest that the process through which they are shaped and the objectives pursued in practice respond to other kind of interests, namely economic interests of the states financing the organizations? The paper explores the dynamics underlying the development and implementation of the law of international organizations, arguing that the interplay of economic interests among states, which in many ways still carries the traces of the colonial past, has determined both the emergence of this body of law as well as its contents and shortcomings.

The United Nations and Democracy Promotion. The Importance of Being Earnest

Democracy has become a concept readily identifiable with the UN in relatively recent times. It was only at the end of the Cold War that democracy promotion entered at the fore of UN-driven global activities. The UN institutional and legal framework remained, instead, fundamentally unaffected by the post-1989 events, creating a discrepancy between the unchanged organization’s founding values, membership requirements, and general structures, and its progressively more intense pro-democratic global projection.
The paper firstly analyzes the approach of the UN towards democracy before and after 1989. It then focuses on the view of democracy both as a “universal value” (democracy as an end) and on the view of democracy as an instrument (democracy as a means). The 3 basic axioms – democracy for peace; human rights; and development – will be analyzed from both a theoretical/empirical point of view. In the conclusion, attention will be paid to the “importance of being Earnest” for the UN.

Authority in the Global Health Governance

The Westphalian sovereigntist scheme is inherently deficient to provide for non-voluntary international coordination. The level of compliance that the handling of global public goods may require is hardly delivered by such a scheme. Globalization, and its intense densification during the last half-century, inflicted a serious crisis in that mainstream scheme. With the gradual shift of centers of power and decision-making to transnational fora and institutions, the paper analyses the global health arena through lenses of the World Health Organization, which is responsible to promote the highest possible level of health to the world’s population, and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the private philanthropic institution turned into one of the most important players in global health. The paper problematizes the leadership role of the WHO in a crowded global health governance context.

Integration Clauses in Latin-American and Caribbean Constitutions

In the last decades, new or amended national Constitutions in the Latin American and Caribbean countries have started to include ‘integration clauses’, which anchor at the national level the commitment of these States with regional integration. This article makes a comprehensive study of such integration clauses in all Constitutions in the region, using the theory of imperfect contracts as analytical framework. The paper analyses dimensions such as the clauses’ political principles and their geographical scope. We show that integration clauses reflect diverse political projects for the region and the richness of subregional idiosyncrasies, which crystallize in a mosaic of overlapping integration experiences. However, at the same time, variation with regards of integration clauses in national constitutions results in different degrees of completeness of the provisions, which points at a still imperfect articulation between the national and supranational levels.

Empire Strikes Back: Comparative Notes on Evolving Conceptions of Western Imperialism

Is the U.S. an empire? This paper will apply the ‘concept/conception’ analytical distinction to the notion of empire, in order to compare evolving conceptions of the concept throughout some of its instantiations in Western history (from the Athenian Empire to the Macedonian, Roman, Spanish, British, and American Empires). My working definition of empire will comprise the ideas of ‘civilization’, as developed by M. Ignatieff, and of the ‘Nomos of the Earth’, coined by C. Schmitt. The foremost features of the American Empire are its informality and its reluctance to embrace its nature. Informality was first developed by the modern European empires in order to harness private initiative and the free movement of capital. Informality in the American Empire is mirrored by its selective attitude towards international law and institutions. Reluctance results from Americans seeing their values as ‘natural’, ‘self-evident’, and universal. Yet, it is still preferable to international anarchy.

Margin of appreciation and subsidiarity: The Strasbourg Court post-Protocol 15 ECHR

As of March 2019, two states have not yet ratified Protocol 15 ECHR. When that Protocol enters into force, the Convention’s Preamble will be amended and a reference to the margin of appreciation and subsidiarity will be included therein. It is well-known that notions of subsidiarity and deference have generated substantial attention over the last years; the question of the legitimacy of the Strasbourg Court has emerged as a widely debated topic. The Copenhagen Declaration (April 2018) serves as further evidence of this claim. This paper will argue that i) Protocol 15 will have implications for the Convention system; ii) albeit not in the direction that some critics of the Strasbourg Court might have anticipated, since it will leave the ECtHR in a relatively strong position despite the amendments in the Preamble; iii) yet it will also incite the Court to provide clearer definitions on the margin of appreciation, as well as on its relationship with European consensus.