Cosmopolitan democracy or administrative rights? International organisations as public contractors

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International organisations contract with other subjects, private and public, in order to procure goods, services and works and perform their institutional functions. In 2012, the organisations belonging to the United Nations system spent more than USD15.4 billion in procuring goods, services and works. From 2000 to 2012 the value of purchases made by the UN alone went from over USD687 million to almost USD3 billion. This significant growth trend has been gradually emerging since the founding of these organisations, reaching a peak in the past decade. The expenditure for international organisations has a significant impact on governmental budgets and contributors and is a business opportunity for companies and individuals. To manage these resources and balance the interests connected to them, it has been gradually developed a body of rules aimed at regulating the relationships between international administrations and private parties, both in the vendors' selection phase and in contract execution. Despite the economic importance of the issue and this emerging regulatory framework, the legal aspects of procurement activity of international organisations has never undergone an in-depth analysis. The paper should then try to answer the following questions: does this body of procurement rules allow observers to argue in favour of a global public law, which is produced by international institutions and has a direct impact of individuals irrespective of their location, nationality and culture? Does this harmonized codification process, if any, create new rights for individuals vis-à-vis international organisations? What are the main features and principles that characterize this body of rules and does the content of such rules go beyond and differ from the states' legal frameworks? Do these rules fill legitimation and accountability gap of international organisations?.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)647-665
Number of pages19
JournalCambridge International Law Journal
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2014
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Law


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