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jueves, 15 de diciembre de 2011

The World Bank Legal Review Volume 3 "International Financial Institutions and Legal Global Governance"



The global financial crisis encouraged a major rethinking of our global financial architecture, policies, and institutions. But it also reminded us that effective rule of law, including respect for property rights and access to justice, remains fundamental for inclusive and sustainable globalization. This was clearly demonstrated earlier this year: The frustration of a fruit vendor when his weighing scales were confiscated and he was mistreated by police—which led him to set himself on fire in public—ignited a fi restorm that engulfed Tunisia and the wider Middle East, and led to a demand for justice, rules, and laws that are fair, predictable, and transparent.

The rule of law is not just a set of rules and their judicial application. As the third volume of The World Bank Legal Review makes clear in its subtitle, International Financial Institutions and Global Legal Governance, the law is also about policy making, institutional frameworks, international politics, development, and—ultimately—freedom. The law broadens the scope of the questions that people ask, and so helps policy makers find solutions to complex, multifaceted problems. To do that effectively, however, legal research and legal practitioners must focus on how the law can support innovative and pragmatic responses to development challenges.

One such challenge is how we can link international norms with local laws and customs. For example, today fighting corruption is a key part of development projects and programs. We know that corruption is a drag on economies, taxes the poor, and strangles opportunity. But anticorruption legislation and conventions can be effective only if they are linked with the needs of developing economies and are seen as enabling rather than hampering.

 This linkage is particularly important for states affected by fragility and conflict, which struggle to break free from vicious cycles of violence. Effective justice and justice administration—both formal justice institutions and local legal institutions—are key factors in breaking that cycle. Legal research and legal practitioners need to focus on exploring and promoting the linkages between the formal justice institutions and local mechanisms.

The law also has a role to play at the microlevel of community-driven development. Ethiopia, for example, has used intellectual property tools to renegotiate the distribution and selling arrangements of its coffee production with multinational enterprises. The results have benefited both local farmers and traders.

Legal research and practice need to identify, and make full use of, the law’s potential to encourage innovation in the development process and empower otherwise marginalized groups so that they can play a key role in development interventions. We need to develop a global platform to facilitate this kind of knowledge exchange in the field of law.

I hope that legal practitioners will take up this challenge and invest in a more innovative use of law for the benefit of development. The World Bank Legal Review can be a useful guide.

Global Administrative Law in the Institutional Practice of Global Regulatory Governance 

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