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Good Governance and Modern International Financial Institutions

AIIB Yearbook of International Law 2018

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Edited by Peter Quayle and Xuan Gao

This first volume of the AIIB Yearbook of International Law (AYIL), edited by Peter Quayle and Xuan Gao, is based upon the inaugural 2017 AIIB Legal Conference, both titled, Good Governance and Modern International Financial Institutions (IFIs). Following a Preface by the General Counsel of the AIIB and General Editor of AYIL, Gerard Sanders, and an Introduction by the Editors, this volume of AYIL draws upon expertise from other IFIs, international law and governance practitioners, and eminent academics. It is divided into three parts to reflect a series of dimensions to the good governance of IFIs. Firstly, the role of the membership of IFIs as expressed through their executive governance organs. Second, the legal basis of governance of IFIs. And third, the interaction around governance between IFIs and external stakeholders.
This volume concludes with the text of the 2017 AIIB Law Lecture, delivered by the United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Legal Affairs and Legal Counsel, Miguel de Serpa Soares on the subject of ‘The Necessity of Cooperation between International Organizations’ and a summary report on the proceedings of the 2017 AIIB Legal Conference.
The first volume of AYIL was launched at the Annual Meeting of the Board of Governors of the AIIB in Mumbai, India, June 2018.

Series:

Edited by Peter Quayle and Xuan Gao

Series:

Stilpon Nestor

Abstract

Using comparative data from a peer group of international and private financial institutions, this chapter explores what drives effectiveness in International Financial Institution (ifi) boards. It starts by identifying their overarching constituency nature and the dual role of directors as representative of shareholder governments and “fiduciaries” of the institution. It also underlines their somewhat contradictory power structure, with a high concentration of decision-making at board level, performed by non-professionals, whose nomination as “executives” belies the absence of any personal executive responsibilities in the organization even when these directors are full-time “residents”—another particularity of ifi boards. The main argument of the chapter is that, while these particularities are important, ifi boards resemble all other boards, especially those of private financial institutions, when it comes to the key drivers of their performance. These consists of their size, composition, leadership, diversity; the competencies and tenure of their directors; the quality of the support they get from management and the tools they use to maintain their effectiveness over time. The chapter concludes with some preliminary ideas on improving ifi board effectiveness.

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Joan S. Powers

Abstract

Between the late 1940s and 1980, there were two principal international administrative tribunals in operation—the United Nations Administrative Tribunal and the Administrative Tribunal of the International Labor Organisation. Observers at the time noted that certain principles of international administrative law had become well-established in the jurisprudence of these tribunals, and that their judgments reflected a commonality in approach. However, since 1980, a number of new administrative tribunals have been established by various international organizations, including each of the multilateral development banks and other international financial institutions, and the UN has changed to a two-tier judicial system. Now, with over 15 administrative tribunals in operation, can it still be said that there is a general harmonization amongst the tribunals? Or have the tribunals gone in different directions in analyzing the legal framework for the employment relationship within an international organization? This presentation will examine these questions with respect to selected issues considered by administrative tribunals.

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Marie-Anne Birken and Gian Piero Cigna

Abstract

Good corporate decision-making requires the ability to consider and analyze issues from different perspectives. In the past, corporate governance literature has focused on ensuring that boards can draw on the diversity of their members’ expertise and professional experience. Over the past few years, attention has increasingly shifted to the impact that gender diversity can bring to the decision-making process. There is now evidence to support the idea that gender-balanced boards boost the performance of companies and that companies with greater female representation on their boards are less likely to be affected by governance scandals involving bribery, fraud and other negative factors likely to depress business confidence.

In Europe, the discussion about gender diversity on boards is well advanced and a number of countries are aiming for ambitious targets. In the United States (US) the trend seems to have stalled, while in Asia it has not yet taken off, with only a few countries actively promoting gender diversity on boards.

This chapter considers the legislation and data on gender diversity on the boards of companies in Europe, the US and Asia. It critically reviews some of the measures introduced by companies, governments and institutional investors to address the gender diversity gap. It concludes by proposing concrete measures that governments, companies and investors may consider adopting to address the gender gap on boards. These measures may be appropriate for international financial institutions to pursue.

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Natalie Lichtenstein

Abstract

The Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) was launched in 2016 with governance arrangements that build on the foundations of its progenitors, with adaptations and updates reflecting AIIB’s own focus and founders. AIIB follows multilateral development banks (mdbs) such as the World Bank, Asian Development Bank, European Bank for Reconstruction and Development and Inter-American Development Bank in its governance structure (Board of Governors, Board of Directors and President). AIIB includes expanded powers for the Board of Governors to add flexibility in areas such as new types of financing and assistance to non-members. AIIB’s Board of Directors serve on a part-time non-resident basis, with detailed powers for policy, oversight and delegation. AIIB’s President is limited to two terms. AIIB’s voting structure is tied to shareholding but less so than in many other mdbs, as basic votes for all members and Founding Member Votes for founders reduce the impact of shareholding to less than 90 percent of total voting power. The underlying comparisons with other mdbs are spelled out in detail in this chapter, summarizing AIIB’s heritage and innovation in governance.