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Shared Responsibility or Institutional Accountability? Continuing Conceptual and Enforcement Issues for Grievance Mechanisms of Public and Private International Finance Institutions

Ong, DM and Ong Khai Long, D (2021) Shared Responsibility or Institutional Accountability? Continuing Conceptual and Enforcement Issues for Grievance Mechanisms of Public and Private International Finance Institutions. In: Barnes, R and Long, R, (eds.) Frontiers in International Environmental Law: Oceans and Climate Challenges: Essays in Honour of David Freestone. Brill/Nijhoff, Leiden, The Netherlands, pp. 106-138. ISBN 978-90-04-37287-0

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This chapter explores the legal issues associated with attempts to exert accountability for public and private ifi s for violations of international law norms in respect of major infrastructure projects that they have either funded or otherwise assisted. Within this context, this chapter focuses on accountability mechanisms as one of the three basic types of international institutional mechanisms according to a typology described by Stewart.1 Section 2 will
first engage with the conceptual questions surrounding accountability and responsibility on the part of these non- State actors for violations of international norms, assessing the viability of ‘shared responsibility’ of international/
transnational non- State actors for these violations. Specifically, this discussion will juxtapose conceptual arguments in favour of the ‘shared responsibility’ of
these institutions for their role in any breaches of international law against the practical development of institutional mechanisms for asserting accountability over public and private ifi s for such violations.
In Section 3, I will assess different types of institutional grievance mechanisms established to exert accountability on the part of these international finance institutions for their compliance with international obligations. These attempts to ensure the institutional accountability of public and private international finance institutions will be examined as a normative alternative to the ‘shared responsibility’ paradigm examined in Section 2. The effectiveness ofthese grievance mechanisms will be examined in two case studies, highlighting the continuing deficiencies of these mechanisms when addressing violations of international law, especially in the human rights and environmentalfields. These deficiencies are both conceptual as well as practical in nature. They are laid bare by the increasing role played by international organizations (IOs) generally and international finance institutions specifically in major
infrastructure development projects. These two case studies involve, respectively, the Compliance Advisor Ombudsman (cao) office of the World Bank’s International Finance Corporation (ifc),2 and the ‘Equator Principles’.3 These
case studies will first assess the relationship between the implementation by these non- State actors of relevant international obligations for social resilience and environmental protection and the institutional mechanisms established to hold these non- State actors accountable for any deficiencies in the implementation of these international obligations. These case studies will then highlight continuing practical enforcement issues for these accountability mechanisms.
The chapter concludes by addressing continuing issues of enforcement of international social and environmental norms that the two case studies highlight within the ‘institutional accountability’ alternative, as opposed to
the ‘shared responsibility’ of these institutions. In doing so, this chapter will highlight the continuing structural issues inherent to public international law when it comes to addressing violations of international obligations caused by
the increasing roles played by io s generally, and international finance institutions specifically.

Item Type: Book Section
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labor
H Social Sciences > HG Finance
K Law > K Law (General)
Divisions: Law
Publisher: Brill/Nijhoff
SWORD Depositor: A Symplectic
Date Deposited: 22 Jan 2024 16:28
Last Modified: 22 Jan 2024 16:28
DOI or ID number: 10.1163/9789004372887
Editors: Barnes, R and Long, R
URI: https://researchonline.ljmu.ac.uk/id/eprint/22416
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