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This essay finds justification for championing the continued existence, functioning and evolution of Independent Accountability Mechanisms (IAMs). An inside assessment of the thirty-year functioning of IAMs reveals that inadequate power and independence are severely hampering IAM efforts to hold actors accountable for harm. Simultaneously, IAMs can’t make progress without the underlying financial institutions reforming their incentive structures to reward harm prevention and remedy. Despite decades of systemic failure to deliver accountability, when exceptions happen, they are worth it and can be spectacular. With an influx of new climate-related funding expected at the financial institutions, exceptions need to become the rule. This essay argues for the use and improvement of IAM systems, as they remain one of the only avenues to support those harmed.



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