Transparency is a foundational element of development—without it, the citizens of emerging economies cannot participate in keeping their governments and markets fair and accountable. Of course, governments and market participants are also entitled to a measure of privacy. The trick is in finding the balance, both in substantive law and in fact. In 2014-2015, LIDS Global is going to organize an international research effort to explore this balance.
LIDS Global, as was noted in this blog just a few weeks ago, is this organization’s effort to build partnerships with like-minded student groups all around the world. Our 2013-2014 pilot project was highly successful; LIDS Global coordinated teams from around the world as they explored the link between corruption and development. The finished work will be published later this month.
Building on this success, our 2014-2015 research will focus on the Freedom of Information and its role in development; specifically, how can citizens all around the world use Freedom of Information laws to deter corruption in government officials? In fact, our idea to explore this topic is partly a result of the 2013-2014 research: students from the Centre for the Study of Human Rights at the University of Colombo in Sri Lanka identified … Read More »
By: Kristin Beharry
Traditional justice is expensive and difficult to attain. The cost of litigation in time and money, judicial corruption, fear of retribution, and other barriers push the most marginalized out of the sphere of national courts. Among the most marginalized are those harmed by internationally financed projects. From herders in Mongolia to farmers in Liberia, communities affected by projects financed by international financial institutions have little judicial recourse for violations of their environmental and human rights by large corporations; however, that does not necessarily mean that they have no recourse.
International financial institutions (such as the World Bank, International Financial Corporation (IFC), and Asian Development Bank), and many export credit agencies and private corporations have their own accountability offices, mandated to hear complaints from affected communities. In the last 20 years, these accountability mechanisms have grown exponentially, from only the World Bank Inspection Panel in 1994 to 52 different accountability offices in 2014. Accountability offices provide communities with an outlet to voice their complaints through various pathways: (1) by entering a mediated problem-solving process with the project company, or (2) by initiating a compliance review where the financial institution’s investigators evaluate the environmental and social due diligence and impacts of … Read More »
This week South Sudan celebrated its three year independence anniversary after voting to secede from Sudan on July 9, 2011. Though 99 percent of the population voted for secession, South Sudan’s transition to independence has been far from smooth. Struggling with economic collapse, civil war, and famine, South Sudan has faced a slow development trajectory and, in fact, has topped Foreign Policy’s 2014 Fragile States Index (http://www.foreignpolicy.com/fragile-states-2014), passing long-time number one Somalia.
Before secession the region of South Sudan contained almost seventy-five percent of Sudan’s oil reserves and prior to independence South Sudan was producing 350,000 barrels of oil per day. Following independence oil was expected to comprise almost 98% of the country’s economy. However, South Sudan, which under Sudan had never developed significant infrastructure, did not have the requisite pipelines or refineries to independently produce and sell their oil. Sudan charged exorbitant fees for use of these facilities attempting to preserve the scheme, which occurred when the countries were united, under which the north and south equally split the profits from the oil. To combat this price gauging South Sudan halted oil production in January 2012. Though this eventually led to negotiations with Sudan, it also resulted in enormous inflation … Read More »