Global Governance Centre
27 January 2021

Grégoire Mallard, Farzan Sabet & Jin Sun win the 2020 International Geneva Award

The prestigious award recognizes their journal article, “The Humanitarian Gap in the Global Sanctions Regime: Assessing Causes, Effects and Solutions,” and its relevance for global policy and practice.

Since the late 1990s, targeted sanctions and general humanitarian sanctions exemptions have aimed at avoiding the disastrous humanitarian consequences of comprehensive sanctions. In parallel, global banks in charge of administering the international trade of vital goods (food and medicine) have received guidance on how to implement risk-based approaches to avoid completely blockading sanctioned jurisdictions. But these efforts have failed. Why has the governance of sanctions and sanctions exemption failed, and what can be done to fix the problem?

In the April 2020 issue of Global Governance, Grégoire Mallard (Director of Research and Professor of Anthropology and Sociology, Graduate Institute), Farzan Sabet (presently Researcher at UNIDIR), and Jin Sun (PhD candidate, Graduate Institute), published the paper “The Humanitarian Gap in the Global Sanctions Regime: Assessing Causes, Effects and Solutions.”

The paper argues that a hybrid form of governance in the field of sanctions is responsible for current humanitarian problems. Based on more than eighty interviews, the article assesses various fixes to the governance failures and solutions to address the payment problems that exporters of vital goods in sanctioned jurisdictions face. It also proposes an innovative blueprint for a new multilateral governance of humanitarian exemptions to sanctions, buttressed by Safecorcoin, a new type of digital currency-based payment mechanism.

This research is part of a wider project entitled “Bombs, Banks and Sanctions: A Sociology of the Transnational Legal Field of Nuclear Nonproliferation.” The project will produce a landmark study of the emergent transnational legal order of nuclear nonproliferation. It is funded by the European Research Council (ERC) and hosted at the Graduate Institute’s Global Governance Centre.

The International Geneva Award (IG Award) is a prestigious academic distinction awarded by the Swiss Network for International Studies (SNIS). The IG Award recognizes outstanding publications by scholars whose research is particularly relevant for international organisations and International Geneva.