Evolving Governance Across a Stressed Planet
Steps to establish a multilateral security framework in response to a rapidly changing technological, economic and geopolitical landscape began soon after the French Revolutionary wars and the onset of industrialisation. They gathered pace in the second half of the nineteenth century, and reached even greater intensity in the twentieth century, especially in the wake of two world wars and the advent of nuclear weapons. The emerging multilateralism was a complex, multi-spatial, multifunctional phenomenon, in which norm setting, legal codification and institutionalisation were closely, though often erratically interconnected.1 Paralleling the steady expansion of the corpus of international law was the growth in international organisations – global and regional, governmental and nongovernmental – which was both a product and a source of international law in the contemporary world.2 The international relations literature of recent decades has paid increasing attention to the interaction of laws, rules and regulations on the one hand and organisational infrastructure on the other.3 Regime theory was perhaps one of the more fertile attempts to conceptualise the phenomenon.4 The study of international regimes, which gained considerable prominence in the 1980s, was subjected to extensive and often justifiable criticism.5 Regime theory was nevertheless instructive in that it drew attention to the circumstances which prompted states to widen the field of international coordination and the legal and institutional strategies they adopted in pursuit of this goal. International regimes, it was argued, served a wide range of purposes and interests. At one end of the spectrum, regimes might involve highly technical and relatively uncontroversial...
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