This chapter looks to make sense of the paradox of change in the United Nations, whereby an alteration in the behaviours of the Member States can modify the rules of the Organization that bind the same Members. By looking to complexity theory, it shows how we can think of the UN ‘system’ as the emergent property of the actions and interactions of the Member States, evolving as they respond to new information about events in the outside world or the unexpected actions of another State. The work takes as its case study the amendment of the rules for voting in the Security Council that followed the ‘empty chair’ policy assumed by the USSR in 1950. Whilst an evolution in the plain meaning of Charter provisions can be explained by the role of subsequent practice in the interpretation of treaties, there remains the problem of the status of the first resolution adopted under any ‘new’ procedure, in this case Security Council Resolution 80 (1950), which called on the governments of India and Pakistan to make immediate arrangements for the demilitarization of Jammu and Kashmir. The contention is that, by thinking of the United Nations Organization as a complex system of regulatory authority, we can make sense of the change in the procedural rules of the Security Council and explain how an innovation in practice can establish a new rule of behaviour. The key is that change is observed within a temporal frame, which also changes over time.
Saturday, August 18, 2018
Wheatley: Explaining Change in the United Nations System: The Curious Status of UN Security Council Resolution 80 (1950)
Steven Wheatley (Lancaster Univ. - Law) has published Explaining Change in the United Nations System: The Curious Status of UN Security Council Resolution 80 (1950) (in Complexity Theory & Law: Mapping an Emergent Jurisprudence, Jamie Murray, Thomas Webb, & Steven Wheatley eds., 2018). Here's the abstract: