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Part IX Principles of Governance, Ch.54 Accountability

Mathias Koenig-Archibugi

From: The Oxford Handbook of International Organizations

Edited By: Jacob Katz Cogan, Ian Hurd, Ian Johnstone

From: Oxford Public International Law (http://opil.ouplaw.com). (c) Oxford University Press, 2022. All Rights Reserved.date: 04 October 2022

Membership of international organizations — International organizations, practice and procedure — Resolutions of international organizations

This chapter examines the issue of accountability in relation to international organizations (IOs). The research questions deserving most intense theoretical and empirical attention are, first, who should be accountable to whom and, second, to what extent they actually are. It outlines some approaches to answering these questions; highlights the most promising one; and sketches the contours of a possible solution to a major problem that plagues that approach. The chapter shows that the selection and design of IOs plays a special role in overall assessments of accountability. The most persuasive answer to the first question remains some version of the principle that everyone who is affected by a political decision should be able to influence that decision. Even under conditions of global interconnectedness, this does not mean that everyone should have a say on any decisions taken anywhere else: decision-makers should be accountable to specific constituencies in proportion to the power they wield over those constituencies.

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