Susan Park, Professor of Global Governance at the University of Sydney, has just published a new book on the mechanisms by which multilateral development banks can be held accountable for their social and environmental impacts.
In ‘Environmental Recourse at the Multilateral Development Banks’, Professor Park outlines how international development financing has sometimes had “dramatic and irreversible effects” on local communities. In reaction to this, NGOs and environmental activists have called for ways of holding multilateral development banks accountable for these impacts. The book examines these so-called “international grievance mechanisms”, whether and how they are used, and what effects they have. Her results give a mixed picture:
While the book demonstrates how the processes work in a generally just manner, it also shows that the problem-solving function can only work if it is in the interests of claimants, the Bank, the government, and/or the project sponsor (for non-sovereign loans). This leads to a high rate of unsuccessful outcomes from communities attempting to engage directly with the Banks and project sponsors.Susan Park, Can We Uphold Environmental Rights in International Development?
For more detailed summary of this important publication on the transparency and accountability of actions in international development finance, please see Professor Park’s Blogpost on the subject. The book itself is freely accessible online until November 24th at Cambridge Elements.