International Organizations for Sustainable Development in the 21st Century
This course provides students with exposure to the particularities and challenges characterising the work of International Organizations in the 21st century. It is not a theoretical course on the fundamentals of international law and the structures of international organizations or sustainability science (which are covered by other related courses, but a practice-oriented course focusing on the concrete issues of International Organisations.
In this course, we will first analyze in depth the structure and functioning of international organizations and understand how they contribute to global efforts for sustainable development. Then, students will learn from the firsthand experience of invited expertsfrom several international organizations. In the latter part of the course, students will practice the lessons for the analysis of complex sustainable challenges (involving more than a single SDG). Finally, students are expected to be able to elaborate a proposal for an action plan for an international organization, including their own contribution if there would be to follow a career in such an organization.
This year’s overarching topic will be “International Organizations and Crime”.
While development is predominantly imagined as economic growth, other factors are equally important, factors which have to do with ethical standards, societal values, normative orders, and justice as a guiding principle, however defined. Within this horizon, an extremely uncomfortable yet persistent pathology of the international economic and political landscape enabling development is crime. Crime in this context covers more than traditional or legal category crime as an offence and may include antisocial or socially undesirable deeds or behaviours. Criminal activities, which by their nature know no border, have severely detrimental effects on numerous aspects of development. For example, corruption harms the formation and maintenance of social trust, without which no society can prosper. Environmental degradation is often the direct result of environmental crimes. Crimes against peace and major violations of human rights in war destroy the dignity of human life. The international trafficking of human beings, illicit drugs, forged currency, and many other items, is the cause of grave economic harm and human suffering.
International Organizations, as the main actors in promoting sustainable development worldwide, systematically come across the issue of criminal activities in their respective domain of action. Some IOs are specifically designed to deal with crime as their mission, namely the gathering and analysis of the relevant data, the provision of legal frameworks, information exchange, as well as the coordination of international anti-crime investigations and operations. In this class we will therefore look at the problem of sustainable development and International Organizations through the prism of crime, an unusual yet highly pertinent way to explore IOs, their activities and how they respond to the challenges of the 21st century.