The Critical Contribution of Independent Accountability Mechanisms (IAMs) to the Global Governance Paradigm

Owen McIntyre


For several decades now, the environmental and social safeguard policies adopted by international financial institutions (IFIs), along with the related accountability frameworks provided by the independent accountability mechanisms (IAMs) established by each, have been at the very forefront of a global movement to extend good environmental and social governance values to the practice of international development finance. The complex of substantive and procedural standards of institutional conduct required under multilateral development bank (MDB) safeguard policies in respect of the assessment and implementation of bank-funded development projects or activities exemplifies the phenomenon of so-called “transnational” or “global” law - the rich and extensive variety of traditional and novel forms of transnational environmental and social regulatory activity which have proliferated in recent years. Such regulation comprises an almost endless assortment of codes, standards, and assessment and certification processes, many of which are non-State-led and essentially voluntary in nature, though they tend generally to reflect the values enshrined in more formal national and international legal frameworks.