Departing from an objective understanding of time and space, this article investigates time and space together as daily individual and social experiences within the United Nations (UN) system. Focused on both staff members and civil society partners, it explores how experiences of time and space affect the way the UN functions. Based on two case studies, it first shows that time and space as they are experienced by individuals shape UN everyday practices pointing to a form of unlimited connectedness among individuals and overlapping and delocalized temporalities. It then demonstrates that time and space constitute socially constructed resources to maintain hierarchical relations: looking at temporal and spatial experiences gives insight into power dynamics over decision-making within the UN. Overall these findings show that time and space are relevant to capture overlooked dimensions in the study of the UN.
- Be mindful of different ways time and space can be experienced: temporal and spatial opportunities are relative and differ from one organization to another, influencing reform initiatives and decision-making.
- Increased collaboration can be fostered by considering different organizational working paces and spatial constraints which affect how UN entities work individually and together.
- Various organizational calendars must be taken seriously to facilitate participation.
- Growing familiarity over time and across spaces among UN staff, member state delegates and other partners could facilitate or hamper negotiations and their outcomes.