Quest for Statehood: Kosovo’s Plea to Join International Organizations
Keywords:International law, international organizations, recognition, statehood, United Nations, UNESCO
The State represents a central concept and a basic subject of international law. In order to function and engage in treaties and relations with other states in a growing globalized world, the State must be accepted and treated as independent by other states. But independence alone is not enough. Declaring independence is typically a unilateral act undertaken by one entity. Hence, there are states in the world today that are independent; however, their international subjectivity is not recognized. This makes their position and ability to engage in the international sphere more complex. As a result, authorities look into ways of bypassing formal recognition. Joining international organizations becomes one alternative. This article explores the quest of Kosovo to join international organizations as a way to secure recognition and statehood. It begins with the United Nations, and briefly analyses the diplomatic efforts of Kosovar governments to accede. The focus of this article however, will be more specifically on Kosovo’s application to join UNESCO, the United Nations’ cultural organization, the Council of Europe and international sports federations, for this process will shed light on several important legal and political aspects of recognition: the application procedure, the political interests of states, the lobbying and securing of states’ support in an entity’s bid to obtain a seat at the organization. Membership in UNESCO is rightfully seen as a gateway to reach to a seat at the United Nations, while bypassing unilateral recognitions granted by states individually. While membership in international organizations will not imply recognition of international subjectivity for a new entity, in practical terms, it offers to achieve what recognition promises. Kosovo has been able to sit at the same table with its regional counterparts and has been able to participate and share in various regional initiatives. As an initial phase of normalization of relations with Serbia, this represents a solid step forward. At a later stage, it could serve as an incentive, or even better as a catalyst to speed up securing full-fledged statehood.
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