Being accountable

The reluctance of financial institutions to be made answerable will stymie progress on implementing the Earth Summit agreentents.

Published: Friday 15 January 1993

THE DREAM of environmentalists to mpnitor the world's natural resources was boosted with the establishment of the UN Commission for Sustainable Development (CSD), which will analyse the progress of agreements reached at the Earth Summit. CSD was meant to increase the accountability of governments concerning environmental policy. Some developing countries view the GSD with concern, believing that in practice its authority would be limited to relatively defenceless governments of the developing world.

To rope in rich countries, developing countries included review of transfer of -financial resources and technology as a major objective of CSD. In return, the Northern countries ensured CSD is open to NGO reports so that decisions are not made solely on the basis of reports filed by developing countries.

The NGO Task Force on Institutions, which met recently in The Hague, asserted that unless the World Bank, IMF and GATT are made accountable to the CSD, promoting sustainable development will be incomplete. However, OECD countries are reluctant to bring these major economic players under CSD purview as they have only been "invited" to report reaularly on their follow-up of Rio.

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