Horizontal Accountability in Intergovernmental Organizations [Abstract]

Ethics & International Affairs, Volume 22.3 (Fall 2008)

Many intergovernmental organizations (IOs) have recently established offices of internal oversight. Yet scandals such as the one surrounding the Oil-for-Food Program in the United Nations have revealed serious flaws in the design of these institutions, especially their lack of independence from top administrators of the bureaucracies that they are supposed to oversee. This study argues that this is due, in great part, to the initial use of an imperfect domestic model. It shows that, in addition to using a flawed model as a starting point for negotiations, states and IO officials intentionally weakened oversight offices even more. The study argues that member-states need to quickly give such offices increased independence in order to make them more effective and to avoid the continued erosion of the legitimacy of IOs.

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