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NGOs and CSOs have progressively enjoyed easy access to, and better possibilities to affect decision-making processes taking place within the Inter-American Development Bank (‘the Bank’ or the ‘IDB’), including also the most recent decisions of the IDB affecting the relationship between Spain and the Latin American and Caribbean (LAC) countries. Indeed, in particular the increasing intensity of NGO and CSO activities and their involvement in the performances and activities of the Bank and of its governing bodies at different levels and stages show that NGOs and CSOs over the last decade have become essential, though often under-recognized components of the operational structures of the internal governance of the IDB. CSOs may be, and often are, eligible to directly receive financings from the Bank. Starting from a brief introduction of the Bank followed by a set of normative arguments on the key accountability challenges facing the IDB Group, the paper will deal with the issue of NGO and CSO participation in relation to the decision-making process on the IDB Group’s financed operations, investment and programmatic lending operations. It will also consider the social and environmental accountability initiatives that derive from the Bank’s core aims of achieving poverty eradication and effective and sustainable development. In doing so, approaching the topic from an international legal perspective, the paper will first explore the broad and inclusive definition of what constitutes a ‘civil society organization’ for the IDB and its affiliated organizations. Secondly, and in more detail, it will consider the “Strategy for Promoting Citizen Participation in Bank Activities” as approved by the IDB Board of Directors in 2004 in order to expand, strengthen and systematize citizen and civil society participation in the Bank’s activities. Thirdly, the paper will focus on the Guidelines for the functioning of the Civil Society Advisory Councils (the ‘Guidelines’). Fourthly, it will describe how NGO and CSO participation is taken into account by the internal instruments of the Bank envisaging citizen and civil society participation in the IDB’s financial activities (including the most recent activities to enhance the trade and investment relationship between Spain and LAC countries). Therefore, the key features and characteristics of the Guidelines that are of special significance to NGO and CSO participation in the decision-making process on the IDB’s financed operations and in furthering the accountability of the Bank to its constituents – such as the criteria for the establishment and participation of CSOs and NGOs, the notification procedure, the meaning of ‘Civil Society Consulting Groups’, the methods for consultations at operational level, the possibilities for civil society groups and movements, including Spanish civil society groups and movements, to increase human rights and democratic accountability – will all be, in turn, the subject of specific analyses. Finally, the paper will conclude with some observations on the social and democratic accountability of the IDB to civil society and non-state actors, referring in particular to the experience of the internal accountability mechanism established by the IDB’s Board of Governors (the Bank’s highest authority) in 1994 – the Independent Investigation Mechanism of the Inter-American Development Bank (the ‘Independent Mechanism’) – that was established with the aim of “increasing the transparency, accountability, and effectiveness” of the Enhancing Democratic Accountability? 45 Bank and recently replaced by the created Independent Consultation and Investigation Mechanism (ICIM) effective on June 30, 2010.

In: Spanish Yearbook of International Law Online

This article argues that it is not possible to interpret or apply the International Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Rights and Dignity of Persons with Disabilities (Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities or CRPD) and its related Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities without drawing on the texts of other human rights treaties and the related jurisprudence of their judicial or quasi-judicial supervisory bodies. Conversely, it is not possible to supervise the implementation of other human rights treaties, where persons with disabilities are concerned, without drawing on the text of the CRPD and related interpretative conclusions of the Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD Committee).

In: International Human Rights Law Review

This article considers the Inter American Court of Human Rights (IACtHR)’s and Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (iachr)’s approach to interpreting and applying the American Convention on Human Rights (achr) provisions through the prism of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (crc) and ascertains the features of each convention that supports this approach. It concentrates on the IACtHR’s and iachr’s development and implementation of the principle of the best interest of the child, and on two specific areas of the IACtHR’s and iachr’s jurisprudence on children’s rights – children’s migration and trafficking of children – and concludes with some suggestions as to how this approach might be improved further in a manner that gives wider scope for the promotion of children’s rights and freedoms in the achr contracting states.

In: International Human Rights Law Review

Over the last few decades, the World Bank (‘WB’) has gained wide experience in post-conflict peacebuilding by experimenting new approaches to peace-and state-building in a wide range of difficult, fragile and conflict-affected countries such as Burundi, Liberia, and Nepal, all of which were undergoing significant political processes in the area of post-conflict reconstruction and democratic consolidation. The WB is the principal organization of the UN system providing low-interest loans for improvements in countries in difficulties. This paper explores the extent to which the WB can assert a role in the operational management of post-conflict reconstruction and argues that the WB’s increasing engagement with post-reconstruction issues is proper and permissible according both to its Establishing Agreement and its Relationship Agreement with the UN. But this is only provided it is balanced against a recognition of its intrinsic and operational limitations: namely and in particular the limitations that arise, respectively, from the UN Security Council’s competing competence in the same sector and the enduring existence of political prohibition clauses in the WB’s and IDA’s Establishing Agreements. If the WB’s post-conflict activities continue, it will turn out to be a player of great significance and actuality in developing and applying international post-conflict reconstruction norms and principles. Ultimately, given the inextricable link between development and conflict, the WB’s competence over post-conflict reconstruction issues is functional to its legitimacy. Support for the WB’s evolving role in post-conflict reconstruction scenarios will be highest if the WB enacts measures to promote its substantive and procedural legitimacy among member countries. This paper therefore collocates its analysis within the framework of democratic decision-making and argues for a clearer definition of responsibilities among the WB financial institutions and other organizations and organs belonging to the same UN family, such the UN Security Council, ECOSOC and the UN Peacebuilding Commission.

In: International Organizations Law Review
In: Natural Resources Grabbing: An International Law Perspective

The objective of this work is to assess how international law has been treated in the jurisprudence of the World Bank Administrative Tribunal (wbat). In so doing, the work will not deliver a thorough synopsis of the Tribunal’s jurisprudence, but rather a tour d’horizon of its most significant decisions related to the accomplishment of the above-named task. The notion of treatment indicates here the tools through which wbat judges have challenged international law. wbat judges have utilized both negative and positive references when considering international law; negative treatment has been utilized to differentiate wbat from other judicial bodies, while positive treatment has been employed to support the reasoning of the wbat. In this framework, the approach of the wbat will be examined in order to establish if it is prone to accepting international rules. The level of reception of external sources is considered to be an indicator of the wbat’s universalism or provincialism. Therefore, the work tries to demonstrate if the wbat is incorporated into the system of international courts and if the Tribunal might be alleged as an anti-fragmentation or a harmonizing body at the international level. Like the other international jurisdictions, the wbat is a tribunal with a restricted subject matter jurisdiction that does not have anti-fragmentation as a component of its mandate. Nevertheless, as an evolving court, the wbat should be fitted to the present fragmented normative scenario. Moreover, the wbat is a prominent tribunal; its jurisprudence might have an influence on the jurisprudence of numerous international jurisdictions. As such, it might theoretically diminish fragmentation at the international level.

In: The Law & Practice of International Courts and Tribunals

Sub-regional multilateral organizations are playing a rapidly increasing role in the suppliance of development finance to the countries of the Latin American (lac) region. However, though surprising, the wide and fast-growing role of sub-regional multilateral institutions in the international financial system has as yet received very little attention from an international legal perspective. The overall goal of this article is to fill this gap, and therefore to critically review the experience of lac countries with international sub-regional development and financial cooperation. In doing so, the article will stress in particular that the two most successful sub-regional financial institutions, namely the Andean Development Corporation (caf) and the Central American Bank for Economic Integration (cabei) have shown the capacity to supply services to member countries in a timely way, with counter-cyclical effects and on a wider scale relative to other types of multilateral financing.

In: The Korean Journal of International and Comparative Law
The growing demand for natural resources has triggered a “race” to their exploitation and possession, especially in developing countries. Most desired are water, land, forests, raw materials (oil, gas, mineral and precious stones), fisheries and genetic resources. Emerging economies, Western states, multinational corporations and international financial institutions have become the biggest “buyers” in a race that on one hand strengthens economies and creates investment opportunities and on the other threatens local communities and environmental protection.

Natural Resources Grabbing: An International Law Perspective aims at filling a gap in the legal literature by addressing the adverse effects that large-scale investments in natural resources may pose to fundamental human rights and the protection of the environment.


In: Natural Resources Grabbing: An International Law Perspective