Rules based order (RBO)

About Rules based order
  • A rules-based order may generally be understood as a shared commitment by States to conduct their activities in accordance with an existing set of rules.
  • The rules-based order is underpinned by a system of global governance that has developed since the Second World War.
  • The United Nations is considered to be at the heart of this rules-based order.
  • RBO seems to be a broader term than international law which is defined as legally binding rules that are based on, and require the consent of each individual State.
  • It seems to include both traditional international law rules, and what is usually referred to as “soft law” – legally non-binding political commitments.
  • The term “rules-based order” blurs the distinction between binding and non-binding rules, giving the impression that all States and international actors are subject to this order, irrespective of whether or not they have consented to these rules.
  • While international law is general and universal, the “rules-based order” seems to allow for special rules in special – sui generis – cases.
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