Independent Accountability Mechanisms of the MDBs and International Standards of Accountability

Stream: Panel 92 - International Relations: Assessing Change in Multilateral and Bilateral Developing Financing
Date: Wednesday, 28 September 2016
Time: 1.30 pm – 3.00 pm


The Multilateral Development Banks (MDBs) have been scrutinized for their lending activities and operations for decades. Since the 1990s all of the large MDBs have established independent accountability mechanisms that serve to assess whether people and communities have been negatively affected by MDB financed projects and provide recourse if they have been. Over time these IAMs have identified common normative standards by which they hold themselves to account. In part this comes from having established a community of practice. Yet little examination has been done to investigate whether the mechanisms are accountable including any assessment of whether they comprise or meet international standards of accountability. This chapter seeks to identify whether the IAMs of the MDBs are accountable and why what metric. The article examines whether the IAMs meet definitions of accountability, whether they meet bureaucratic forms of accountability and normative prescriptions for accountability in international development lending. Doing so demonstrates the limitations and strengths of establishing independent accountability mechanisms for large intergovernmental organizations that remain tied to member state agreement.


Susan Park (Presenter), University of Sydney
Susan is an Associate Professor at the University of Sydney