The range of actors and instruments involved with UN sanctions has increased significantly over the past two decades. The growing frequency with which peacekeeping operations, international judicial processes, regional sanctions, and other instruments are employed together with UN targeted sanctions raises issues of coordination and complementarity. With this broad variety of actors comes overlapping mandates that may reinforce sanctions’ objectives or undermine them. How these many actors interact with each other directly influences the overall effectiveness of UN sanctions. This chapter examines the range of actors, institutions, and mechanisms both within the United Nations system and outside of it that relate to UN targeted sanctions. After describing the various types of interactions, the chapter provides illustrations of how these entities cooperate (or fail to cooperate), and the ways in which UN sanctions and the activities of other actors either complement or conflict with each other. It concludes with recommendations to enhance the coordination among UN sanctions and related actors.
The modes of interaction among UN sanctions and other actors generally can be characterized as ‘cooperation’, ‘coordination’, and ‘collaboration’. Most scholarly literature differentiates among the three, with collaboration signifying the most advanced relationship requiring a commitment to shared objectives and missions. Coordination connotes efficiency, valued so as to avoid duplication and overlap, but also implying the consent of those coordinating. Notwithstanding repeated calls for collaboration and better coordination among various actors involved with UN sanctions, most interactions are limited to cooperation at best (and at worse, contradictory or conflicting actions). The aspirational goal of coordination between UN sanctions and other instruments and actors remains desirable, but in practical terms, cooperation is often the most that can be achieved.
The wording of the relevant UN Security Council resolutions, the political environment in which the sanctions operate, and the specific actors involved influence how various actors interact. Since the imposition of sanctions is fundamentally a political act, cooperation or coordination among actors either within the UN or between UN and outside entities is not a simple administrative or technical issue. It is itself political as well, shaped by a variety of institutional factors and dynamics. This explains why the call for ‘more coordination’ as a basic element of efficiency is likely to remain limited without significant changes by and in the Security Council.