International Cooperation in the Northern Forum: Emerging New Norms in International Law?
Polar Record 48:4(247) (2012) 372-386.
15 Pages Posted: 7 Sep 2013
Date Written: September 6, 2013
The Northern Forum has been in existence for more than two decades. The cooperative initiatives implement through the Forum allow sub-national governments from different parts of the world to improve the quality of life of northern inhabitants and to support their sustainable development. Over time, the Forum has established a clear structure with self-created rules and guidelines. However, the legal status of the Forum is somewhat ambiguous: it has neither fulfilled the essential criteria of an international organisation nor that of an intergovernmental cooperative body. Nevertheless, these shortcomings are not immense obstacles to the Forum’s ability to serve the well-being of residents of the northern regions. The Forum has granted membership to business organizations, as well as sub-national governments, which is an innovative concept in international cooperation. This article examines the evolution, administrative system, and legal status of the Forum along with its contribution to the development of international law. The article concludes with observations on how this unique of international regional co-operation forum could be characterized under international law and whether it has any influence in creating new norms in international administrative and environmental law
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