International Institutions

The goal of the OLBIOS Advisory Group is to help you ask the right questions, raise awareness and inform you on the ethical issues you are confronted with, using ethics not as a constraint machine but as a basis for a stronger, deeper, more conscious and creative approach to your field.

What constitutes the reciprocal legitimacy of international institutions and what are the normative implications of their structure?

Can the legitimacy of a State be understood solely in terms of the relationship between the State and its citizens, without reference to the effects of State power on others?

In how many ways can a State’s participation in international institutions contribute to its legitimacy?

For what reasons has the legitimacy of humanitarian intervention been contested for more than a century? And why does the pressure for such intervention persist and grow?

The norms that have competed in shaping State practice and the normative discourse: human rights, peace preservation, and sovereignty; should these norms be rebalanced over time?

What authorizes the UN Security Council to use force?

What are the limits of great-power influence and the role of non-permanent members in supporting the sovereignty norm?

How to react to the changing character of mass violence? Are normative adjustments and new institutional designs required to protect populations against new forms of violence?

Under which conditions are institutions subject to distributive justice norms?

Which sound reasons support claims to a relative share of the benefits of institutions?

The critical role that ethics (and religions) play in institutions and regimes such as the UN, trans-national organizations, international law, and in human rights issues.

The two explicit propositions and the one implicit idea on which the Westphalian system was built: the propositions of emphasizing state sovereignty, non-intervention and the idea of the secularization of world politics.

Institutions as responses to disaster.

The NGOs, both religious and secular, that are accredited to the UN. Are the international and trans-national sectors of politics, religion, and ethics much more important and contentious than was the case sixty years ago?

Why discussions of ethics at all levels, from Kung’s comprehensive global ethic to individual states’ and NGOs’ reactions to genocide in Rwanda and Darfour, play a significant role.

Do practitioners like the U.N. Secretary General often experience support and/or obstruction by individual states on the Security Council or other bodies?

The effectiveness of the UN in the field of human rights? How many reform measures are under consideration?

Implementation of « the responsibility to protect ».

Analysing the notion of « credibility », including the idea of « fairness » to all

Overall, has the UN done a lot of good? Relief and development organisations like the Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and the Office of the High Commissioner for Refugees.

Relations of the UN with other supranational organizations with economic portfolios and executive authority: the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the International Labour Organization (ILO), the World Bank, the World Trade Organization (WTO).
Study of selected developmental organizations: the Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO), the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), the UN Development Program (UNPD), the UN Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO).

The usefulness and impact of periodic global conferences and their influence on world public opinion ( Conference on Women, UN Millennial Summit).

Study of selected organizations administering specialized portfolios: the World Health Organization and the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization.

Functioning of a supranational organization on the issue of proliferation: the IAEA (International Atomic Energy Agency) and the US invasion of Iraq in 2003.

Process of reform based on the « solidarity of strangers » and subsidiarity, i.e. assigning a task to the lowest possible effective level of governance.

The UN Secretary-General and Moral Authority. Importance of the ethical framework of an individual office holder and how this impacts the role played by a secretary-general.

Global Ethic and the UN; the example of the treatment of the Israel issue.

The issue of the inaction of the UN in the case of Darfur, and the chosen absences of military interventions.

The two ways international institutions can change State behavior in cooperative directions : material rewards and punishments, and changes in the domestic distributions of power among social groups pursuing mostly a constant set of interests or preferences.

How is it possible to maximize security in an anarchical environment?

Why do actors entering into an international interaction rarely emerge the same?

How can cooperative norms be created under anarchy?

Major topics : Preference formation and change. National Identity formation. Creation, diffusion and compliance with international norms.

Impact of International Institutions.

Reception, incorporation and implementation of the Ethics Framework in the member-states of the European Union.

Exploring the overall core values of the EU’s Ethics Framework under the light of its current major crisis.

What is an exact implementation of a Code?

The absence of standard-setting leaders.

The ways that following values/targets is understood: Lawfulness, Impartiality/Objectivity, Transparency/Openness, Accountability, Professionalism (expertise), Duty of Care, Reliability/Trust, Courtesy and the service principle.

Ethical aspects taken into account in recruitment procedures.

Job rotation in order to prevent corruption.

Enforcement or the ways to detect corruption: Which special body is dealing with ethic-violation situations?

The power of Disciplinary measures (from written warnings to termination of employment /€“ legal sanctions and punitive measures / reporting systems).

The function and specific ethics issues of the following types of institutions – Environmental Organisations (IUCN) – Migration (IOM) – Maritime – Arms control and nuclear power – Financial & Trade and Customs organisations – Law Enforcement Cooperation – Transcontinental Organizations – Regional ORG – Educational Organizations and Universities – Cultural / Ethnic / Linguistic / Religious International organizations – Ideological political groupings: the case of NATO.

The role of the Confidential Integrity Counsellor (CIC).

Ethics of the Bodies / Funds / Programs /Agencies of the UN.

The Oil for Food scandal. The UN – North Korea scandal, and the charges of double standards.

Does the UN system has the legal right to decide on its own how to treat disclosure of improper/illegal activity?

Are the nine normative power policies of the EU implemented, and how? (Sustainable peace? Social freedom? Consensual democracy?

Associative human rights? Supranational rule of law? Inclusive equality? Social solidarity? Sustainable development? Good governance?)

In contexts like global warming, trade pacts, foreign aid and the treatment of refugees, should all leaders consider to what extent they are prepared to consider the interests of « outsiders »?

Is it in the self-interest of the rich nations to help the world’s poor? In the global village, doesn’t someone else’s poverty very soon become one’s own problem?

Absolute need for a sound global international system on criminal justice.

New forms of global governance, and the controversy on the WTO, global market forces and their policies (freeing-up the private sector, shrinking the bureaucracy, keeping inflation low, removing restrictions on foreign investment) and the sanctions for those who fail to obey.

On State Arrogance (C. Powell quoting Bismarck: « All the Balkans were not worth the bones of a single one of our soldiers »).

Could political leaders not consider their role in the narrowest way?

Should sovereignty be redefined?

Is it a vicious doctrine to not draw a distinction between terrorists and regimes that harbour terrorists? On tyrannical demands on other sovereign nations.

Exact signification of the target of promoting a more just, cosmopolitan world in terms of its principles, actions and impact.

Does the public demand higher standards of ethics, and how?

How to act against the onset of systemic corruption? What can International Organisations really do against poor national administration and mismanagement?

Voluntary global codes proposed by non-governmental organizations.

The idea of the Sovereign State as the exclusive background of diplomacy / public policy / ethics.

Visible and invisible aspects of globalisation.

The priority of local versus global.

Lack of markets for one’s products, illegal immigration, pollution, contagious disease, insecurity, fanaticism, terrorism, etc. The USA / South America example: constructing bridges or walls?

Is it true that in globalization « no one is in charge »? Are we ruled by our own creation (i.e. the Global economy)?

Global Ethics: is it only about using our reasoning abilities to justify our behaviour to the whole world?

The revolution in communications, the global audience, and the need to justify even more a chosen behaviour to the whole world. How this change can create the material basis for a new Ethic that will serve the interests of all in a way that no previous Ethic has ever done.

How the future and our survival depend on how we respond ethically to the idea that we live in one world.

How for the rich nations not to take a global ethical viewpoint is now a danger to their own security.

The new global society as the material basis (a net of connections, links, communications) of a new Ethic.