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International Economic Law

Public International Law
21 Nov 2013
JRU Law School
Pascua, Donna Phoebe M.
• Fundamental Principles of International Economic Law
– The Definition of International Economic Law
– The Basis of International Economic Law
– Fundamental Principles of International Economic Law
• The Institutional Structure of International Economic Law
• The Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC)
• About ECOSOC
• Rules of Procedure
• Key Functions of the ECOSOC
– Annual Ministerial Review
– Development Cooperation Forum
• Subsidiary organizations
• An Overview of the UN Report on Global Sustainability

“The main international economic agenda in the post-Second
World War period involved promoting the free movement of
goods and capital across borders and enabling states to exploit
their natural resources to the maximum extent possible for their
economic development.” – S.P. Subedi, University of Leeds
International Economic Law
– Regulates the international economic order or
economic relations among nations
– Includes a vast array of topics such as:
• International Trade Law
• International Economic Integration Law
• Private International Law
• International Business Regulation
• International Financial Law
• The role of law in development
• International tax law
• International intellectual property law

International Economic Law
– pacta sunt servanda = With reference to international
agreements, "every treaty in force is binding upon the parties to
it and must be performed by them in good faith."
– Freedom
– Sovereign equality
– Reciprocity
– Economic sovereignty
– The duty to cooperate
– Permanent sovereignty over natural resources
– Preferential treatment for developing countries in general and
the least-developed countries in particular
Basis: Economic Sovereignty
• Having control over the economic activities of both juridical
and natural persons conducting business within the
country, whether nationals of that country or foreigners
– E.g. sovereignty over the natural resources of the country and
require that foreign individuals and companies to comply with
the new policy adopted by the state
International Economic Law
– The right to economic development
– The law on natural resources

• The Stockholm Declaration 1972
• The Charter of Economic Rights and Duties of States 1974
• World Charter for Nature 1982
• UN Convention on the Law of the Sea 1982
• The Bruntland Commission
• The Rio Conference 1992
• The UN Convention on Biological Diversity 1992


Institutional Structure
• Principal international economic institutions
of a universal character:
– International Monetary Fund (IMF)
– International Bank for Reconstruction and
Development (World Bank)
– General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) –
replaced by the World Trade Organization (WTO)

– The UN and its specialized agencies
Institutional Structure
• All principal institutions
originated in wartime planning
for a better economic future
• The planning took place against
the background of:
– Impoverishing economic policies of
the 1930s
– In the context of ambitious planning
that let to the establishment of the
universal political institution, the UN
• All principal institutions coexist
with international economic
organizations of a regional
character (e.g. OECD, BIS, EC)

• to promote a stable and open
international monetary system
World Bank
• to promote economic growth
through post-war reconstruction
and development through
productive investment
• to provide the framework for the
establishment of an open
international trading system
• to promote world peace through
institutionalized political
ECOSOC’s inaugural session, 23 January 1946
• A founding UN charter body established in 1946
• 54 member-governments elected by the General Assembly for
3-year terms

Africa = 14 Seats West & other states =
13 Seats
Asia & the Pacific =
11 Seats
Latin America &
Caribbean = 10 Seats
Eastern Europe = 6
• Responsible for some 70% of the human and
financial resources of the entire UN system
• The Bureau (5 members) are elected by the
Council at the beginning of each annual
– Main functions:
• To propose the agenda
• To draw up a programme of work
• To organize the session with the support of the UN

ECOSOC’s current chamber in UN headquarters in New York
ECOSOC: Rules of Procedure
• Sessions
• Agenda
• Representation, Credentials
• Bureau
• Sessional Bodies and Subsidiary Organs
• Secretariat
• Languages
• Public and Private Languages
• Records
• Conduct of Business
• Voting and Elections
• Participation of Non-Members of the Council
• Consultation with Non-Governmental Organizations
• Amendments and Suspension of Rules of Procedure
ECOSOC: Sessions
• Annual organizational session and substantive
– Organizational session: shall be convened on the first
Tuesday in February and resumed at the end of April
– Substantive session: shall take place between May and

– Special sessions: shall be convened within 6 weeks of
a decision to hold such a session or of receipt by the
President of a request for such a session
ECOSOC: Key Functions
• Annual Ministerial Review (AMR)
– To assess progress in achieving the internationally
agreed development goals (IADGS) arising out of
major conferences and summits.
• Annual thematic review
• National voluntary presentations on progress and
challenges towards achieving the IADGs
• Development Cooperation Forum (DCF)
– To enhance the coherence and effectiveness of
activities of different development partners.
ECOSOC: Annual Ministerial Review (AMR)
• 2013 AMR Preparations
– Regional Meetings: focus on a topic related to the AMR
theme that is of particular relevance to the region hosting
the consultations
• Exchange of views among different stakeholders
• Review of regional progress and challenges
• Sharing of good practices
• Generation of action-oriented recommendations
• Identification of regional perspectives to be reflected in the AMR
– E.g. Regional Preparatory Meeting for Asia and the Pacific:
“Science, Technology and Innovation (STI) for Promoting
Renewable Energy Technologies”, Thailand, 13 March 2013

ECOSOC: Development Cooperation Forum
• Preparations for the 2014 Development
Cooperation Forum (July 2014, New York)
– E.g. Vienna Policy Dialogue (December 2012,
• Explored root causes of persistent gender inequalities
and identified successful strategies to promote gender
equality and the empowerment of women through
development cooperation, including through gender
responsive mutual accountability, budgeting and
planning practices at country level

ECOSOC: Subsidiary Organizations
• ECOSOC Functional Commissions
• ECOSOC Regional Commissions
• ECOSOC Standing Committees
• ECOSOC Ad Hoc Bodies
• Expert bodies composed of governmental experts
• Expert bodies composed of members serving in their personal

ECOSOC: Subsidiary Organizations
• Expert bodies composed of members serving
in their personal capacity

Committee for Development Policy
Committee of Experts on Public Administration
Committee of Experts on International Cooperation in Tax Matters
Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights
Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues
UN Report on Global Sustainability
• Working Towards a Sustainable Economy
– Incorporating social and environmental costs in regulating
and pricing of goods and services, as well as addressing
market failures
– Creating an incentive road map that increasingly values
long-term sustainable development in investment and
financial transactions
– Increasing finance for sustainable development, including
public and private funding and partnerships for mobilize
large volumes of new financing
– Expanding how to measure progress in sustainable
development by creating a sustainable development index
or set of indicators

UN Report on Global Sustainability
• Strengthening Institutional Governance
– Improving coherence at the subnational, national and
international levels
– Creating a set of sustainable development goals
– Establishing a periodic global sustainable development
outlook report that brings together information and
assessments currently dispersed across institutions and
analyses them in an integrated way
– Making a new commitment to revitalize and reform the
international institutional framework, including
considering the creation of a global sustainable
development council
UN Report on Global Sustainability: A Call to Action
Empowering people to
make sustainable choices
Working towards a
sustainable economy
institutional governance
to support sustainable

The Sec-General to implement
the recommendations that fall
within his authority and to take
the full set of recommendations
to the UN family as a whole.

The Sec-General and the UN to
use the convening power of the
organization to advance the
recommendations in the
wider international community,
including Governments
at all levels, international
organizations, civil society, the
scientific community and the
private sector.
Earth provides enough to satisfy every
man’s need,
but not every man’s greed.
Mahatma Gandhi

• Resources:
– International Economic Law, S.P. Subedi, University of London, 2006
– International Economic Institutions: The Challenge of Coordination,
Stephen Silard, American University International Law Review, 2011
– UN Economic and Social Council,