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Disaster risk reduction in light of the COVID-19 crisis: Policy and legal considerations

1. Re-setting the scene: The task at end The current crisis triggered by the COVID-19 does not seem to have a precedent since World War II in its global scope and import. The etymology of the word ‘crisis’ contains a good indication of the task at end. A Crisis is not only a moment of...

The health of international cooperation and UNGA Resolution 74/274

1. Introduction COVID-19 and the unprecedented crisis that it brings offers an opportunity for the strengthening and advancement of international cooperation. States, however, have reacted, at least initially, answering primarily to national interest instead of recognizing a common threat to humanity that calls for a united response. On 20 April 2020, the United Nations General...

The United Nations principal political organs and the universal pandemic: How to meet, negotiate and deliberate under ‘new, extraordinary and exceptional circumstances’?

1. Introduction In a United Nations setting that was quite disoriented by the unprecedented situation created by a declared universal pandemic, in mid-March 2020 the UN Headquarters were shut down and nobody, including UN officers and delegates, was allowed to enter the New York premises of the Organization. It took some days to single out...

COVID-19 and multilateral governance at the United Nations between risk-prevention, procedural adaptation and feeble response

Introduced by Enrico Milano and Giulio Bartolini*     The social, human, economic and political impact of the COVID-19 pandemic can be hardly overestimated. As we write, the virus has infected more than 8 million people worldwide, causing the death of over 400,000. That accounts, in just a few months, to more than double the...

Twin crises in the WTO, and no obvious way out

Pause for a moment. Assume that, by magic wand, the Trump Administration changes its attitude, and agrees to new appointments to the Appellate Body (AB). Have the WTO problems disappeared simply because a complete AB is now in place? Even if matters such as Rule 15 are addressed,[1] the distinction between facts and law is...

A Washington wake-up call and hybrid governance for world trade

1. Introduction For more than twenty years, we – the international economic law scholars and practitioners – have lived comfortably alongside the World Trade Organization (WTO) dispute settlement system. While at the same time, the trade community has also enjoyed an unprecedented period of stability in the stormy history of international economic relations following World...

A crisis looming in the dark: Some remarks on the reform proposals on notifications and transparency

1. Introduction In seeming contrast with the other contributors to this Question, I am not much concerned with the systemic causes of the WTO’s current crisis and with proposing plans for its modernisation. For one thing, I have neither the space nor, frankly, the ability to address in depth such issues.[1] For another, I believe...

The stalemate concerning the Appellate Body of the WTO: Any way out?

1. The functioning of the World Trade Organization in 2018-19: From crisis to paralysis? The year 2018 has been momentous for the World Trade Organization (WTO), a turning point in the history of the organisation, with the United States (US) turning its back to a 70-year old support of multilateralism in principle and practice.[1] This...

A WTO if you can keep it

1. The place of the WTO in international economic law In September 1787, the inventor and free trader Benjamin Franklin emerged from the convention in Philadelphia that had just completed drafting the United States (US) Constitution. A lady awaiting outside the State House approached Franklin to ask whether the convention had created a republic or...

‘In Clinical Isolation.’ Is there a meaningful place for the World Trade Organization in the future of International Economic Law?

Introduced by Paolo Turrini and Angelica Bonfanti What the heck. The girl was young, so lively and, what is more, socially accepted. Everyone wanted to date her. And all of a sudden, she fell ill. With the disease came the solitude – or was it the other way round? Now her conditions are stable but...

Procedural rules in WTO dispute settlement in the face of the crisis of the Appellate Body

1. Introduction In the last years, serious criticisms have paved the way for a profound crisis of the dispute settlement system of the World Trade Organization (WTO).[1] Indeed, the US has been challenging the legitimacy of the Appellate Body case law against the letter and the spirit of the Dispute Settlement Understanding (DSU), at the...

Forthcoming