Defining Issues in International Environmental Law
New Horizons in Environmental and Energy Law series
Chapter 16: Finance
1 INTRODUCTION The financing of international organizations does not appear to be an interesting idea and seems far removed from the more enticing political and legal debates which tend to have much higher profiles. As such, there has traditionally been a dearth of literature on this seemingly bewildering area.1 This is ironic, as the financing of IOs, although taking much more indirect routes, often goes to the heart of the organizations. This realization has become apparent in a number of IOs where refusal to pay (typically because of political, as opposed to financial constraints)2 agreed contributions has led to serious questions being raised about the viability of the organization’s existence. The foremost example of the current problem is the United Nations,3 although this problem has also been at the centre of a number of other IOs.4 Unlike many of the other areas of international law, the financing of IOs is a relatively new dilemma. Although historical examples of contributions to IOs can be traced back to classical Greece,5 until the twentieth century, the question of financing such entities was very rare. This was because before the League of Nations most intergovernmental conferences were non-recurring. That is, they met once, transacted their business, and the delegates went home. Accordingly, expenses were temporary. The situation at the beginning of the twenty-first century could not be more different where the number of IOs, the regularity of their meetings, and the overt financial costs of this have proliferated at speed and...
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