This book proposes that fundamental concepts of institutional law need to be rethought and revised. Contrary to conventional wisdom, international organizations do not need to have members, and the members do not need to be states and international organizations. Private sector entities may, for instance, also be full members. Furthermore, international organizations do not need to possess international legal personality, nor is their autonomy a corollary of their personality. Moreover, the notion of “subject of international law” also needs to be reconsidered and the very concepts and definitions of “intergovernmental organization” and “international organization” need to change and be defined in a wider manner.
In this publication the legal implications of membership are analyzed and a new analytical framework for international organizations is proposed. The argument is propounded that the power of creation of new organizations has passed over to international organizations and other entities while an outlook on future development is also presented.
Dr Gerd Droesse is a recognized specialist in institutional law, international administrative law, complex institutional and financial policy matters and corporate governance issues, with over 30 years of experience in working for international organizations in senior and management positions. He was the Legal Counsel/Acting General Counsel of the Green Climate Fund and assisted the World Green Economy Organization as General Counsel in its transition to a new type of intergovernmental organization.
Specific to this book:
- Offers an analysis of the legal implications of membership and proposes a new analytical framework for international organizations
- Substantiates the need for changing fundamental concepts of international law proposed by the prevailing doctrine as well as new concepts of, and a new analytical framework for, international organizations
- Propounds membership as a core concept of the law of international organizations and membership concepts as relevant to a great variety of matters
Excerpts from a book review:
(…) Droesse questions the textbook claim that “One element all organizations have in common is that they have members”. The author does this along three lines of argumentation: “First, an international organization does not need to be established by a treaty, nor is there a need for membership structures to be established by a treaty. Second, the parties to the treaty establishing an international organization do not need to become members of the organization. Third, an international organization does not need to have members and in fact, there are organizations which qualify as ‘international’ even though they do not have any members”. This, indeed, is refreshing and the claims are substantiated by many examples from practice.
Perhaps the key—and important—contribution by the book (…) is mapping the impact of all these developments in the international legal system on our understanding of the concept of international organization(s). In thirty theses the concluding chapter of the book convincingly lists how we, scholars, need to redefine and fine-tune the concepts and classifications we are used to working with. Indeed, while many of us will have referred to the new developments in our courses and textbooks, we have not fundamentally changed our definitions and classifications to take the variety of international institutions onboard and to reassess key concepts such as membership. In that sense, the book by Droesse can be read as a wake-up call that deserves to be heard by everyone studying the law of international organizations (broadly defined of course).
Ramses Wessel, University of Groningen, Groningen, The Netherlands, Book Review in International Organizations Law Review (2020) 1-6, published by Koninklijke Brill NV, Leiden, The Netherlands, of Gerd Droesse's Membership in International Organizations: Paradigms of Membership Structures, Legal Implications of Membership and the Concept of International Organization. The Hague: T.M.C. Asser Press, 2020.
For the full review, see doi.org/10.1163/15723747-2020018.