Other design considerations

Other considerations

Other considerations to keep in mind when designing sanctions.

UN sanctions are the only restrictive measures legally binding on all UN member states, but they are rarely the only sanctions in place. Other multilateral and unilateral restrictive measures are frequently imposed before, after, or in parallel with UN sanctions. Consideration of the impact and effectiveness of UN sanctions should take into account also the type and scope of sanctions imposed by:

  • Regional organizations
  • Major states

Sanctions are almost never the only policy instruments applied to address conflict situations. Their use should thus be coordinated, and their impact understood, in relation to other tools used by the UN, as well as by states and regional organizations, including:

  • Mediation, negotiations, and diplomatic efforts
  • Legal tribunals and processes
  • Peace operations
  • Threats of force
  • Uses of force
  • Covert measures

Although sanctions are imposed by states and multilateral organizations, their impact to a large extent depends on their implementation by private sector actors. As a result, active engagement with the private sector, including timely communication, issuance of implementation guidance, and monitoring, is often crucial for sanctions effectiveness.

To facilitate the implementation of UN sanctions at the national level, member state capacity might need to be enhanced in a number of areas, including:

  • Legislation
  • Specialized training
  • Implementation assistance
  • Costs alleviation

To mitigate the effects of sanctions, targets often resort to a number of coping and evasion methods, including:

  • Diversion of trade
  • Disguising of identities
  • Use of front companies
  • Sub-contracting with criminal entities
  • Use of safe havens
  • Shifting to alternative value source
  • Use of family members
  • Re-flaging, re-numbering, or disguising of vessels
  • Stockpiling of supplies

Sanctions can have a number of unintended consequences, most of them negative. These include, among others:

  • Strengthening of political factions
  • Strengthening of authoritarian rule
  • Rally round the flag effect
  • Increased corruption
  • Legacy of criminalization
  • Burden on neighboring states
  • Humanitarian consequences
  • Increase in human rights violations
  • Increase in state enforcement capacity
  • Increase in international regulatory capacity