This article looks at emergent challenges to the sanctity of international borders. It first provides a brief discussion of international law on the issues of uti possidetis and territorial integrity. It then examines challenges to these ideas that have emerged in recent years through the notion of contingent sovereignty and its relation to earlier calls for humanitarian intervention and current discussions around reform of the United Nations. In contrast the other side of the coin is the notion of earned sovereignty, where new states can enjoy transitional paths to independence or secession. The former has enjoyed much more international support, but both ways of rethinking the notion of sovereignty have important territorial implications. The article concludes by raising questions about this relation and the question of borders more generally.