Networking Responsibility

Regional Agents and Changing International Norms

In: Global Governance: A Review of Multilateralism and International Organizations
Author: Kate Seaman1
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  • 1 University of MarylandThe Bahá’í Chair for World Peace
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The rapid rise of the Responsibility to Protect and its establishment within the global lexicon is nothing short of astounding. However, there are a number of questions that remain unanswered: Who has the Responsibility to Protect? Who are they protecting? What are the wider implications of this concept of responsibility? How is the concept being operationalized? Regional and subregional organizations are seen as key actors in the operationalization of the Responsibility to Protect, providing increased legitimacy and accountability. This article situates these organizations within a wider “network of responsibility” and examines the impact this engagement has on norm contestation, diffusion, development, and operationalization. The article highlights the potential that regional and subregional organizations have for acting as “linchpins” within a network of responsibility. It also demonstrates the challenges surrounding this role, and the wider implementation and operationalization of the concept.

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