Vanderbilt Journal of Transnational Law


Kristen E. Boon

First Page



Economic conditions are linked to international peace and security. Financial crises, mismanagement of natural resources, food shortages, and climate change can create transnational effects, including conflict. The Security Council is the executive organ of the United Nations, with primary jurisdiction over the maintenance of international peace and security. This Article explores the extent to which the Security Council can and should assert jurisdiction over economic and financial issues.

In the past decade, the economic dimensions of conflict, including the economic causes of war, economic agendas of state and nonstate actors, and economic measures for reconstruction have become central to the Security Council's work and to contemporary concepts of collective security. This Article argues that the Security Council's increasing engagement with economic and financial issues is proper and permissible under Article 39, provided that certain thresholds are met. For example, purely internal disruptions such as bankruptcies would be unlikely to rise to the level of a threat to peace and security, whereas the manipulation of natural resources destined for, or regulated by, international markets may well create threats within the Council's jurisdiction. The Security Council's enforcement jurisdiction under Article 41 has similarly evolved, shifting from the wholesale restriction of economic opportunities via trade embargoes and sanctions to the promotion of prospective measures such as good economic governance. If the Council's economic interventions continue, it will become a player of some significance in applying and developing international economic norms.