Global South Empowerment or Business as Usual: The Challenges Presented by the New Development Bank’s and the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank’s Accountability Mechanisms
This Note discusses two new multilateral development banks (MDBs), the New Development Bank (NDB) and the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), which are rising to challenge the hegemony of the World Bank and other Western-led development finance institutions. Supporters have argued that these new banks will be sources of empowerment and reclamation, allowing the Global South to have a more powerful voice in the development projects that affect it most. I argue that this is only possible if the NDB and AIIB install strong accountability mechanisms and safeguard frameworks to relieve vulnerable Global South communities of further burdens and to ensure these communities have adequate systems of redress for their grievances and human rights concerns. I analyze the current landscape of MDB accountability mechanisms and the ongoing race to the bottom in multilateral financial institutions, looking particularly at the World Bank and its Inspection Panel. I also provide recommendations for both banks’ accountability offices based on implementing best practices and increasing community involvement in project consultation and in grievance mechanisms.