Asian and Pacific International Organizations: Mainstream or Sui Generis? An International Institutional Law Perspective
Grotius Centre Working Paper No 2016/052-PIL
38 Pages Posted: 29 Feb 2016
Date Written: February 29, 2016
The purpose of this paper is to provide a succinct overview of Asian and Pacific international organizations through the lens of institutional law. The paper demonstrates that the number of Asian and Pacific IOs is increasing with more in existence than is often presumed. There are many more Asian and Pacific IOs at present than the well-known few such as ASEAN, the Economic Cooperation Organization, the Shanghai Cooperation Organization and the recently created Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank. As far as their institutional law is concerned, Asian and Pacific IOs are not fundamentally different from other IOs: there is unity within diversity. Even though there are significant differences between the 58 IOs covered – as far as membership, institutional structure, powers, etc. are concerned – in many respects they are similar, not only to each other but also to IOs outside the region. Almost all of them are created by treaty, almost all of them have only states as members, almost all of them are international legal persons (whether or not this is explicitly stated in the constitution), most of them have the privileges and immunities that are usually given to IOs, including the immunity from jurisdiction, and most secretariats are independent. Perhaps the only significant difference between Asian and Pacific IOs and other IOs is that there are no Asian and Pacific IOs that have judicial organs, and hardly any have parliamentary organs or frameworks for cooperation amongst members of parliaments of the member states of these organizations.
Keywords: international organizations, Asia, Pacific, international institutional law
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