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Examining the International Commission on Intervention and State Sovereignty as a model for "stage one" international decision-making Taylor, Sarah Margaret Berghofer

Abstract

This thesis is an examination the feasibility of using the International Commission on Intervention and State Sovereignty (ICISS) as the model for a new form of international decision-making increasingly visible at this time in history. The term this thesis proposes is "Stage One" international decision-making. The term is defined as the formation of a carefully constructed international gathering of eminent thinkers and actors, similarly interested in a particularly complex, controversial, and current problem for international relations, in need of immediate and widespread debate, but which the established international institutions for international debate are unwilling or unable to address. The structure of the ICISS is such that issues of state reception and inclusion, legitimacy, timing, participant selection, and political fall-out are overarching concerns that arise, and will be addressed, in this analysis of the structure and impact of the ICISS as a model for future "stage one" (initializing) international dialogue of controversial yet imminent matters affecting international peace and security. The methods of investigation used include analysis of scholastic and governmental literature related to Canadian foreign policy on human security, interviews with and analysis of various individuals involved in the ICISS, and analysis of preliminary findings and reports by the Commission. The general conclusions drawn are that the ICISS' dedication to maintaining the sanctity of the UN while seeking other means for fostering international action, and its attempt to provide an open discussion forum, are positive features. However, the Commission is not an ideal model for "stage one" international decision-making mainly as a result of the idiosyncratic nature of its participant selection and the inference of secondary mandates, which go beyond simply initiating international debate.

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