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Like all constituted bodies of government, international organizations change over time-sometimes in profound and unexpected ways. Besides developing through the obvious mechanism of formal amendment by the constituent member states, these governance bodies can and do undergo a more autonomous kind of constitutional development-what might be called informal constitutional change or transformation. This type of quiet evolution may occur on different levels-including the reordering of the organization's internal architecture in terms of the relative competences of its various organs, as well as the development of the powers of the organization as a whole vis-a­vis the states parties. Unlike formal amendment, which occurs through the express decision of the member states according to a certain procedure, informal transformation occurs more subtly, through the practice of the organization. Although the latter mode of change may attract less attention than the former, the degree of change involved can be just as dramatic.


Reproduced with permission.