Sustainability and Participation in the Law of Multilateral Development Banks

Birgit Peters/Eva Lohse (eds), Sustainability through Participation, Springer 2022

15 Pages Posted: 11 Oct 2022

Date Written: January 27, 2022

Abstract

The current law of multilateral development finance contains relatively specific legal norms on sustainability and participation. These norms have developed incrementally since the 1990s in the internal administrative law of the multilateral development banks (MDBs), especially in environmental and social safeguard standards enforced by quasi-judicial accountability mechanisms. This legal regime has long been informed by a functionalist and managerial logic, in which participation is functionalized for, and ultimately subordinated, to a technically determined concept of sustainability that does not acknowledge the political trade-offs it implies. To realize its emancipatory and legitimatory potential, MDBs need to harness their expertise to enable inclusive, informed and context-sensitive decision-making in multi-level procedures. This argument is developed in three main steps: The first two analyze the legal evolution of sustainability (2.) and participation (3.), respectively, distinguishing different stages of development and conceptions. The third step then turns to the interrelationship of sustainability and participation (4.), discussing conflicts between the two and the ways in which MDBs seek to reach convergence. The chapter concludes with some critical thoughts on the potential and future development of SPS in the law of MDBs (5.). The focus will largely be on the World Bank Group, whose system of social and environmental safeguards represents the current state of the art and a global model emulated by many other MDBs.

Keywords: multilateral development banks; global administrative law; international institutional law; environmental and social safeguards; sustainability; participation; human rights

Suggested Citation

Riegner, Michael, Sustainability and Participation in the Law of Multilateral Development Banks (January 27, 2022). Birgit Peters/Eva Lohse (eds), Sustainability through Participation, Springer 2022 , Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=4219240. or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.4219240

Michael Riegner (Contact Author)

Erfurt University

Nordhäuser Str. 63
Erfurt
Germany

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