Defining Issues in International Environmental Law
New Horizons in Environmental and Energy Law series
Chapter 11: The Primacy of the IWC and Related International Organizations
1 INTRODUCTION In international law generally, there is a growing concern over the primacy of competing international organizations with overlapping concerns. With regard to the IWC, this concern is multifaceted, as it has relationships with a number of prominent other international organizations, which often deal in areas of mutual interest. 2 INTERNATIONAL ORGANIZATIONS International organizations (IOs) – as opposed to non-governmental organizations1 – are composed of sovereign actors, which agree on a founding constitutional document for the organization. This does not mean that IOs are to be equated with states, or that they hold supra-sovereign powers, but rather that they are capable of possessing rights and duties that are in accordance with international law.2 The earliest IOs date from the nineteenth century.3 In the twentieth century, the League of Nations, the International Labour Organization and a number of other smaller IOs were created after the First World War. Following the Second World War, a dramatic growth of universal (and regional)4 IOs occurred as a result of the ever-increasing recognition by governments of the international dimensions of an increasingly globalized world. Currently, there are over 250 IOs serving some 200 states.5 Before an international organization can make any impact on the international scene, it must be afforded some degree of international personality. Personality is short-hand for the proposition that an entity is endowed by international law with legal capacity.6 The legal personality of IOs may, to some extent, parallel that of states. However, IOs, unlike states, do not all hold equal degrees...
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