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Collaborating with the United nations: Does Flexibility Imply Informality?

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Collecting information has always been both a necessity and a challenge for the United Nations. The timely and accurate knowledge of relevant facts is undoubtedly a necessary prerequisite when exercising its functions. However, given the lack of autonomous sources of information, the United Nations is more often than not reliant upon States to acquire information before they take any action. Recent practice in this respect is marked by informality and opaqueness. These traits come into sharp focus particularly in the context of investigations led by United Nations. What this article will attempt to show is that flexibility, or at least good-functioning, does not necessarily imply informality. By taking similar examples of exchanges of information at the international, European and domestic levels, it will be argued that a formal legal basis stressing a limited number of conditions for the exchange of information has already been established and thus may be possible in the context of the United Nations.

Affiliations: 1: PhD Candidate and Researcher, University of Geneva;, Email:


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