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Protecting access to land for indigenous and non-indigenous communities: A new page for the World Bank?

  • Margherita Brunori (a1)

Abstract

The World Bank has reviewed its environmental and social policies at a moment of intense production of international instruments dealing with land tenure, all of which take the form of soft law. This endeavour is motivated by the progressive acknowledgement of the importance of secure and equitable access to land for the realization of human rights and food security. The latest contribution of the World Bank to this debate is of great significance. This article aims to unveil the effects that the new Environmental and Social Framework is likely to generate in this context. It analyses the protection of access to land and security of tenure contained in the World Bank’s Environmental and Social Standards in light of the developments occurring at the international level. To this end, the article reviews the changes to the standards in the context of the social impacts when a lending project affects land holders or users directly or indirectly; addresses the mechanisms for protecting, compensating and improving livelihood opportunities for those affected by the projects; and comments on the safeguarding of indigenous peoples’ lands. The article finds that the World Bank, by incorporating some of these emerging standards, has confirmed the relevance of emerging principles and guidelines on land, even if they are contained in non-binding instruments. On a critical note, the article recognizes the refusal of the World Bank to adopt the underlying discourse and fully embrace human rights achievements in the context of land issues.

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Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Department of International, Legal, Historical and Political Studies, University of Milan. I would like to sincerely thank Dr. Giedre Jokubauskaite for organizing the Symposium ‘The World Bank Environmental and Social Framework (ESF) in a wider realm of public international law’, and the Durham Law School and Global Policy Institute for hosting it. I am grateful to the participants in the Symposium and the anonymous reviewers for their insightful comments. Any errors remain my own.

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References

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1 These initiatives have occurred in reaction to growing tensions on land governance due to conflicting drivers for land use, climate change, and the need to guarantee food security for an increasing world population. See on this point S. Borras and J. Franco, ‘Global Land Grabbing and Trajectories of Agrarian Change: A Preliminary Analysis’, (2012) 12 Journal of Agrarian Change 34; S. Borras et al., ‘The Challenge of Global Governance of Land Grabbing: Changing International Agricultural Context and Competing Political Views and Strategies’, (2013) 10 Globalizations 161.

2 For a review of the academic debate on soft law see A. T. Guzman and T. Meyer, ‘Soft Law’, in E. Kontorovich and F. Parisi (eds.), The Research Handbook on the Economics of Public International Law (2014), 123; S. Lagoutte, T. Gammeltoft-Hansen and J. Cerone (eds.), Tracing the Roles of Soft Law in Human Rights (2016).

3 References to case law related to land are found in J. Gilbert, Indigenous Peoples’ Land Rights Under International Law: From Victims to Actors (2016); G. Malhotra, ‘Human Rights & Environment in Investment Arbitration: A Tale of Two Wars and Two Battles (Aguas v. Argentina; Glamis Gold v. USA)’, 31 October 2017, SSRN, available at ssrn.com/abstract=3061638.

4 Bradlow, D. and Chapman, M., ‘Public Participation and the Private Sector: The Role of Multilateral Development Banks in the Evolution of International Legal Standards’, (2011) 4 Erasmus Law Review 91; S. de Moerloose, ‘Sustainable Development and the Use of Borrowing State Frameworks in the New World Bank Safeguards’, (2018) 51(1) Law and Politics in Asia, Africa and Latin America 53.

5 For a synthesis of the several theories see D. D. Bradlow and A. N. Fourie, ‘The Operational Policies of the World Bank and the International Finance Corporation’, (2013) 10 International Organizations Law Review 3. See also G. Jokubauskaite, ‘The Legal Nature of the World Bank Safeguards’, (2018) 51(1) Law and Politics in Asia, Africa and Latin America 78. In this volume see P. Dann and M. Rieger, ‘The World Bank’s Environmental and Social Safeguards and the evolution of global order’ (doi:10.1017/S0922156519000293); R. Houghton, ‘Looking at the World Bank’s Safeguard Reform through the lens of deliberative democracy’ (doi:10.1017/S0922156519000281).

6 Kingsbury, B., Krisch, N. and Stewart, R., ‘The Emergence of Global Administrative Law’, (2005) 68(3) Law and Contemporary Problems 15 .

7 von Bogdandy, A. et al. (eds.), The Exercise of Public Authority by International Institutions: Advancing International Institutional Law (2010).

8 Klabbers, J., Peters, A. and Ulfstein, G. (eds.), The Constitutionalization of International Law (2009).

9 Irving, B., ‘The United Nations’ Role in Land Reform’, (1965) 10 International and Comparative Law Bulletin 37; Plant, R., ‘The Right to Food and Agrarian Systems: Law and Practice in Latin America’, in Alston, P. and Tomasevski, K. (eds.), The Right to Food (1984).

10 World Bank, Land reform (English). Sector policy paper. Washington DC; World Bank, 1975, available at documents.worldbank.org/curated/en/911161468153545471/Land-reform, at 34; K. Deininger and H. Binswanger, ‘The Evolution of World Bank’s Land Policy: Principles Experience, and Future Challenges’, (1999) 14 The World Bank Research Observer 247, 258. For a comprehensive survey on national land reforms and relative emerging lessons see H. P. Binswanger-Mkhize, C. Bourguignon and R. van den Brink (eds.), Agricultural Land Redistribution: Toward Greater Consensus (2009).

11 S. Skogly, Human Rights Obligations of the World Bank and the IMF (2001), 20; Structural Adjustment Participatory Review Initiative (SAPRI), ‘The Policy Roots of Economic Crisis and Poverty-A Multi-Country Participatory Assessment of Structural Adjustment’ (2002), at 111, available at www.saprin.org/SAPRIN_Findings.pdf.

12 Deininger, K. and Binswanger, H., ‘The Evolution of the World Bank’s Land Policy’, in de Janvry, A. et al. (eds.), Access to Land, Rural Poverty and Public Action (2001), 412 .

13 G. Feder and K. Deininger, ‘Land Institutions and Land Markets’, 2014 World Bank Policy Research Working Paper, available at papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=636211, at 248. In those policy recommendations concerning land titling, the influence of De Soto is clear. At the time, he wrote a very influential theory of security of tenure in developing countries: H. De Soto, The Mystery of Capital: Why Capitalism Triumphs in the West and Fails Everywhere Else (2000).

14 Byamugisha, F. (ed.), Agricultural Land Redistribution and Land Administration in Sub-Saharan Africa: Case Studies of Recent Reforms, Directions in Development (2014), at 1 et seq.

15 Borras, S. et al., ‘Anti-Poverty or Anti-Poor? The World Bank’s Market-Led Agrarian Reform Experiment in the Philippines’, (2007) 28 Third World Quarterly 1557; Collins, A. and Mitchell, M. I., ‘Revisiting the World Bank’s Land Law Reform Agenda in Africa: The Promise and Perils of Customary Practices’, (2017) 18 Journal of Agrarian Change 112; D. Sampson, E. Holt-Gimenez and I. Bailey, ‘Fair to the Last Drop: The Corporate Challenges to Fair Trade Coffee’, 2007, Food First Development Report No. 17, available at foodfirst.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/12/DR17-Fair-to-the-Last-Drop.pdf.

17 See I. Shihata, The World Bank Inspection Panel (2000); H. White, Impact Evaluation: The Experience of the Independent Evaluation Group of the World Bank (2006); D. D. Bradlow, ‘The Reform of the Governance of the IFIs: A Critical Assessment’, 2011 (October) The World Bank Legal Review 37, 41–2.

18 IEG, Safeguards and Sustainability Policies in a Changing World: An Independent Evaluation of World Bank Group Experience (2010), 72.

19 See generally Inspection Panel, Involuntary Resettlement (2016).

20 Ibid.

21 See generally Inspection Panel, Indigenous Peoples (2016).

22 World Bank, ‘The World Bank Safeguard Policies Proposed Review and Update Approach Paper’ (2012), at 4, paras. 14, 15, available at consultations.worldbank.org/consultation/review-and-update-world-bank-safeguard-policies.

23 World Bank, ‘Safeguard Policies Review and Update: Consultation Phase 1 Feedback Summary Meetings, Expert Focus Groups, Paper Submissions, Consultations with Project Affected Communities, and Dialogue with Indigenous Peoples’ (2014), available on the Consultations webpage, ibid., at 19.

24 The World Bank Safeguard Policies: Proposed Review and Update Approach Paper, October 2012, World Bank Consultation webpage, supra note 22, paras. 41–4.

25 Hunter, D., ‘International Law and Public Participation in Policy-Making at the International Financial Institutions’, in Bradlow, D. and Hunter, D. (eds.), International Financial Institutions and International Law (2010); World Bank Consultations webpage, supra note 22.

26 Borras and Franco, supra note 1.

27 A detailed study on this aspect can be found in L. Cotula, Human Rights, Natural Resource, and Investment Law in a Globalised World (2012).

28 There is a vast literature on this topic. See, among others, C. Häberli and F. Smith, ‘Food Security and Agri-Foreign Direct Investment in Weak States: Finding the Governance Gap to Avoid “Land Grab”’, (2014) 77 The Modern Law Review 189; L. Cotula, ‘Land: Land in International Law’, in E. Morgera and K. Kulovesi (eds.), Research Handbook on International Law and Natural Resources (2016).

29 FAO CFS, Voluntary Guidelines on the Responsible Governance of Tenure of Land, Fisheries and Forests in the Context of National Food Security (2012) (FAO CFS VGGTs), para. 3B.

30 Ibid., para. 3A.

31 FAO CFS Principles for Responsible Investment in Agriculture and Food Systems (CFS RAI Principles) (2014).

32 See on this point P. Stephens, ‘The Principles of Responsible Agricultural Investment’, (2013) 10 Globalizations 187.

33 CFS Responsible Agricultural Investments: The Way Forward (CFS 2012/39/6), para. 3.

34 Secretariat of the Civil Society Mechanism for relations with the UN Committee on World Food Security, ‘Civil Society at CFS’ (2014), available at www.csm4cfs.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/04/ingleseweb.pdf, at 15.

35 CFS RAI Principles, supra note 31.

36 OECD/FAO, OECD-FAO Guidance for Responsible Agricultural Supply Chains (2016), at 28–9, 33–6.

37 Cotula, L., ‘International Soft-law Instruments and Global Resource Governance: Reflections on the Voluntary Guidelines on the Responsible Governance of Tenure’, (2017) 13/2 LEAD Journal 115, at 124 .

38 On the legal significance of non-binding instruments produced by subsidiary bodies of the UN see S. Droubi, ‘The Role of the United Nations in the Formation of Customary International Law in the Field of Human Rights’, (2017) 19 International Community Law Review 68.

39 On the role of the Committee see B. Mason Meier and Y. Kim, ‘Human Rights Accountability through Treaty Bodies: Examining Human Rights Treaty Monitoring for Water and Sanitation’, (2015) 26 Duke Journal of Comparative & International Law 139, 146.

40 On the legal relevance of their activities see S. Subedi et al., ‘The Role of the Special Rapporteurs of the United Nations Human Rights Council in the Development and Promotion of International Human Rights Norms’, (2011) 15 International Journal of Human Rights 155.

41 See generally on this point D. Shelton, ‘Compliance with International Human Rights Soft Law’, (1997) 29 Studies in Transnational Legal Policy 119; P. Alston, ‘The General Comments of the UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights’, (2010) 104 ASIL Proceedings, 4–7; M. Bódig, ‘Soft Law, Doctrinal Development and the General Comments of the UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights’, in Lagoutte, Gammeltoft-Hansen and Cerone, supra note 2, at 69.

42 UNGA, United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Peasants and Other People Working in Rural Areas, UN Doc. A/RES/73/165 (17 December 2018).

43 Brunori, M., ‘Access to Land and Security of Tenure in the Resolutions of the United Nations General Assembly’, in Alabrese, M. et al. (eds.), Agricultural Law: Current Issues from a Global Perspective (2017), 255, at 277–9.

44 IIED, Land Tenure Lexicon: A Glossary of Terms from English and French Speaking West Africa (2000), 10.

45 Brunori, supra note 43, at 278.

46 UN CESCR, General Comment No. 4: The Right to Adequate Housing (Art. 11(1) of the Covenant), UN Doc. E/1992/23 (1991); UN CESCR, General Comment No. 7: The Right to Adequate Housing (Art. 11.1): Forced Evictions, UN Doc. E/1998/22 (1997).

47 HRC, Report of the Special Rapporteur on Adequate Housing as a Component of the Right to an Adequate Standard of Living, Miloon Kothari, UN Doc. A/HRC/4/18, Ann. I (2007).

48 1966 International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, 993 UNTS 3.

49 UN CESCR, General Comment No. 12: The Right to Adequate Food (Art. 11 of the Covenant), UN Doc. E/C.12/1999/5 (1999).

50 HRC, Large-Scale Acquisitions and Leases: A Set of Core Principles and Measures to Address the Human Rights Challenge, UN Doc. A/HRC/13/33/Add.2 (2009).

51 This categorization, fruit of a broader study of soft law instruments on access to land and security of tenure, aims at showing how the structure of standards on land mirrors that of several economic, social and cultural rights, such as, for instance, the right to food.

52 See 1979 Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women, 1249 UNTS 1; CEDAW, General Recommendation No. 34 on the Rights of Rural Women, CEDAW/C/GC/34 (2016).

53 General Comment No. 12, supra note 49, para. 15; Large-Scale Acquisitions and Leases, supra note 50, para. 30; HRC Res. 21/11, Guiding Principles on Extreme Poverty and Human Rights, UN Doc. A/HRC/RES/21/11 (2012), para. 76 (e); Report of the Special Rapporteur on Adequate Housing, supra note 47, paras. 28–32.

54 UN CESCR, General Comment No. 24 on State Obligations under the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights in the Context of Business Activities, UN Doc. E/C.12/GC/24 (2017), at 3–5; General Comment No. 12, supra note 49, para. 26; UN CESCR, General Comment No. 15: The Right to Water (Arts. 11 and 12 of the Covenant), UN Doc. E/C.12/2002/11 (2003), para. 7.

55 See, on the connection between land and human rights, O. De Schutter, ‘The Emerging Human Right to Land’, (2010) 12 International Community Law Review 303; and for the expanding content of the right to participation in cultural life, A. F. Jacobsen, ‘Soft Law Within Participation Rights: Tools in Development’, in Lagoutte, Gammeltoft-Hansen and Cerone, supra note 2, at 273.

56 UNGA, UN Declaration on the Rights of Peasants and Other People Working in Rural Areas, UN Doc. A/RES/73/165 (2018), Art. 17.

57 1957 ILO Convention (No.107) Concerning the Protection and Integration of Indigenous and Other Tribal and Semi-tribal Populations in Independent Countries, 328 UNTS 247; 1989 ILO Convention (No.169) Concerning Indigenous and Tribal Peoples in Independent Countries, 1650 UNTS 383. See F. MacKay, A Guide to Indigenous Peoples’ Rights in the International Labour Organization (2003).

58 J. S. Anaya and R. A. Williams Jr., ‘The Protection of Indigenous Peoples’ Rights over Lands and Natural Resources Under the Inter-American Human Rights System’, (2001) 14 Harvard Human Rights Journal 33, at 84 et seq; OHCHR, Land and Human Rights: Annotated Compilation of Case Law, UN Doc. HR/PUB/15/5 (2015).

59 For a historical and legal analysis of the UNDRIP see M. Barelli, ‘The Role of Soft Law in the International Legal System: The Case of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples’, (2009) 58 International and Comparative Law Quarterly 957; for an analysis of the UDRIP under the lens of soft law see L. Villeneuve, ‘Could the Progressive “Hardening” of Human Rights Soft Law Impair Its Further Expansion? Insights from the UN Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples’, in Lagoutte, Gammeltoft-Hansen and Cerone, supra note 2, at 213.

60 HRC, Normative Sources and Rationale Underlying the Draft Declaration on the Rights of Peasants and Other People Working in Rural Areas, UN Doc. A/HRC/WG.15/4/3 (2017), at 33.

61 For an accurate analysis on indigenous peoples’ rights and how they interact with international biodiversity law see E. Morgera, ‘Under the Radar: Fair and Equitable Benefit-Sharing and the Human Rights of Indigenous Peoples and Local Communities Related to Natural Resources’, 2017 BENELEX Working Paper No. 10, at 8.

62 For an analysis of the progressive development of international law see A. Boyle and C. Chinkin, The Making of International Law (2007), Ch. 4.

63 World Bank, World Bank Environmental and Social Framework (2016), Environmental and Social Standard 1, para. 28(b)(ii) and (iii).

64 Ibid., para. 28(b)(iv).

65 Ibid., para. 28(b)(v).

66 Ibid., fn. 75.

67 World Bank, Safeguard Policies Review and Update Summary of Phase 2 Consultations and Bank Management Responses (2015), available on the Consultations webpage, supra note 22, at 37–8.

68 FAO CFS VGGTs, para. 12.4.

69 A contribution in this sense is given also by the Voluntary Guidelines to support the progressive realization of the right to adequate food in the context of national food security. FAO, Report of the 30th Session of the Committee on World Food Security (CFS) Rome, CL 127/10-Sup.1 (2004).

70 World Bank Environmental and Social Framework, supra note 63, Standard 5, para. 4.

71 Ibid., para. 6.

72 Voluntary Transactions, ibid., para. 6; Land titling, ibid., para. 7; Gender, ibid., paras. 11, 18, 26, 33.

73 FAO CFS VGGTs, para. 12.3.

74 World Bank Environmental and Social Framework, supra note 63, Standard 5, para. 7.

75 Ibid., paras. 15, 22.

76 Ibid., para. 10.

77 IEG, supra note 18, para. 76.

78 FAO CFS VGGTs, para. 10.1

79 World Bank Environmental and Social Framework, supra note 63, Standard 5, para. 12. See also paras. 12–16, 33–5.

80 Ibid., Ann. I, para. 35.

81 FAO CFS VGGTs, para. 16.9; General Comment No. 7, supra note 46, para. 16; Large-Scale Acquisitions and Leases, supra note 50, Para. 2; Report of the Special Rapporteur on Adequate Housing, supra note 47, para. 60.

82 Report of the Special Rapporteur on Adequate Housing, ibid., Ann. I, para. 60; World Bank Environmental and Social Framework, supra note 63, Standard 5, para. 35(a).

83 World Bank Environmental and Social Framework, ibid., Standard 5, para. 14.

84 M. M. Cernea, ‘Compensation and Benefit Sharing: Why Resettlement Policies and Practices Must Be Reformed’, (2008) 1Water Science and Engineering 89; E. Tsioumani, ‘The Emergence and Evolution of Benefit-Sharing in the Governance of Land, Food and Agriculture: Preliminary Exploration and Research Agenda’, 2014 Benelex Working Paper No. 4, Edinburgh School of Law Research Paper, available at ssrn.com/abstract=2524337, at 44.

85 ‘Investment agreement revenues should be used for the benefit of the local population. Investment contracts should prioritize the development needs of the local population and seek to achieve solutions which represent an adequate balance between the interests of all parties’, Large-Scale Acquisitions and Leases, supra note 50, para. 4.

86 World Bank Environmental and Social Framework, supra note 63, Standard 5, Ann. I.

87 FAO CFS VGGTs, sec. 12.

88 ‘[t]he World Bank’s activities support the realization of human rights expressed in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights’. World Bank Environmental and Social Framework, supra note 63, at 1–2, para. 3. In this volume see on this aspect R. Mares, ‘Securing human rights through risk-management methods: Breakthrough or misalignment?’ (doi:10.1017/S0922156519000244); F. Ebert and M. V. Cabrera Ormaza, ‘The World Bank, human rights, and organizational legitimacy strategies: The case of the 2016 Environmental and Social Framework’ (doi:10.1017/S0922156519000268).

89 As it has been remarked on in Section 5.1 of this article.

90 A similar reflection is made, on the International Finance Corporation’s Performance Standards, by L. van der Ploeg and F. Vanclay, ‘A Human Rights-Based Approach to Project Induced Displacement and Resettlement’, (2017) 35 Impact Assessment and Project Appraisal 34.

91 World Bank Inspection Panel, ‘Indigenous Peoples’, October 2016, Emerging Lessons Series No. 2.

92 See ibid., at 6, about the Kenya Electricity Expansion Project.

93 On this aspect see G. Sarfaty, ‘The World Bank and the Internalization of Indigenous Rights Norms’, (2005) 114 Yale Law Journal 1791.

94 World Bank Inspection Panel, supra note 91, at 11.

95 Ibid., at 8.

96 ‘Indigenous Peoples may be referred to in different countries by such terms as “indigenous ethnic minorities”, “aboriginals”, “hill tribes”, “minority nationalities”, “scheduled tribes”, or “tribal groups”.’ IBRD, Operational Manual, Operational Policy 4.10, para. 4.

97 World Bank, Summary of Phase 3 - Consultations and Bank Management Responses (2016), available on the Consultations webpage, supra note 22, at 31, para. 32.

98 Ibid.

99 Ibid. This is, in effect, proved by the Kenya Natural resource management case. See World Bank Inspection Panel, supra note 91, at 29–30.

100 World Bank Environmental and Social Framework, supra note 63, Standard 7, para. 9.

101 Centre for Minority Rights Development (Kenya) and Minority Rights Group International on behalf of Endorois Welfare Council v. Kenya, 276/2003, African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights (4 February 2010).

102 World Bank Environmental and Social Framework, supra note 63, Standard 7, para. 9. See World Bank Inspection Panel, supra note 91, at 6 and fn. 2.

103 A. Bessa, Traditional Local Communities in International Law (EUI PhD Thesis, 2013), at 149–84 in A. Bessa ‘Traditional Local Communities: What Lessons Can Be Learnt at the International Level from the Experiences of Brazil and Scotland?’, (2015) 24(3) RECIEL, at 332.

104 World Bank Environmental and Social Framework, supra note 63, Standard 7, para. 12.

105 Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity, Akwé: Kon Voluntary Guidelines for the Conduct of Cultural, Environmental and Social Impact Assessment regarding Developments Proposed to Take Place on, or which are Likely to Impact on, Sacred Sites and on Lands and Waters Traditionally Occupied or Used by Indigenous and Local Communities (Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity 2004).

106 1992 Convention on Biological Diversity, 1760 UNTS 69, Art. 8(j).

107 Saramaka People v. Suriname, Interpretation of the judgment on preliminary objections, merits, reparations and costs, IACHR Series C No 185, IHRL 3058 (IACHR 2008), 12 August 2008, IACtHR, para. 41. For a more detailed analysis on the point see Morgera, supra note 61, at 8.

108 Kichwa Indigenous Community of Sarayaku v. Ecuador, Inter-American Court of Human Rights (Merits and reparations, Judgment of 27 June 2012).

109 World Bank Environmental and Social Framework, supra note 63, Standard 7, para. 24.

110 ‘Such projects should be based on an effective and meaningful consultation with indigenous peoples, through their own representative institutions in order to obtain their free, prior and informed consent under the United Nations Declaration of Rights of Indigenous Peoples and with due regard for particular positions and understandings of individual States.’ FAO CFS VGGTs, para. 9.9.

111 Convention on Biological Diversity Conference of the Parties, ‘Mo’otzkuxtal Voluntary Guidelines’ (17 December 2016) CBD/COP/DEC/XIII/18.

112 This reluctance to use FPIC by some states is reflected also in the Nagoya Protocol, Art. 6(2) and in the Bonn Guidelines. Morgera, supra note 61, at 37.

113 Mo’otzkuxtal Voluntary Guidelines, sec. II(A), para. 7(d).

114 World Bank Environmental and Social Framework, supra note 63, Standard 7, para. 27.

115 Morgera, supra note 61, at 40.

116 World Bank Environmental and Social Framework, supra note 63, Standard 7, para. 26.

117 Ibid., para. 27.

118 UNDRIP, Art. 3.

119 World Bank Environmental and Social Framework, supra note 63, Standard 7, para. 22.

120 On the potential of the concept see E. Morgera, ‘The Need for an International Legal Concept of Fair and Equitable Benefit-sharing’, (2016) 27 EJIL 353.

121 Boisson de Chazournes, L., ‘Policy Guidance and Compliance: The World Bank Operational Standards’, in Shelton, D. (ed.), Commitment and Compliance: The Role of Non-Binding Norms in the International Legal System (2000), 281, at 289 .

* Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Department of International, Legal, Historical and Political Studies, University of Milan. I would like to sincerely thank Dr. Giedre Jokubauskaite for organizing the Symposium ‘The World Bank Environmental and Social Framework (ESF) in a wider realm of public international law’, and the Durham Law School and Global Policy Institute for hosting it. I am grateful to the participants in the Symposium and the anonymous reviewers for their insightful comments. Any errors remain my own.

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