Final version published in Global Governance Volume 5, Number 1 (Jan-March 1999)
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Since the early 1990s many international institutions have been urging governments to conform to standards of `good governance '. Yet the same institutions have been rather slow in applying equivalent standards to their own structures and decision-making processes. In this paper I examine what this would mean. I argue that principles of participation, accountability, and fairness can be applied broadly to global civil society, but that they ought equally be applied to relations among states within international organizations. Using illustrations drawn from the experience of a number of institutions (the
Inter-American and African Development Banks, the UN Security Council, the GATT/WTO, the
International Fund for Agricultural Development, the Global Environment Facility, and the European
Union), I explore the tensions and trade-offs which arise in trying to ensure full participation and accountability. I conclude that neither formal structures of representation nor consensus decision-making necessarily enhance good governance. Rather, institutions need to focus on adequately representing different categories of stake-holders, and implementing voting and decision-making rules which better ensure transparency and accountability.
GOOD GOVERNANCE IN INTERNATIONAL ORGANIZATIONS
Good governance moved onto the agenda of many international organizations at the end of the Cold War when calls for democracy and better government became louder and as expectations were heightened as to what international organizations might do to further this aim. Many multilateral agencies took up the summons - from the United Nations, to multilateral development banks - and are now part of a chorus of voices urging governments across the world to heed higher standards of democratic representation,
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