Secrecy in international development banks
Unaccountability of international aid institutions
The most fundamental factor undermining the success of foreign aid projects, and the reason why aid projects so often cause environmental damage, is the extraordinary level of secrecy under which most aid agencies operate. A complex of diplomatic conventions, legal roadblocks and bureaucratic liberties have allowed international aid institutions to operate beyond a level of public scrutiny essential for the proper and fair functioning of any other public institutions, and essential if environmental mistakes are to be discovered before it is too late. Aid institutions operate in isolation. They are laws unto themselves. They vigorously resist public scrutiny of their activities and lock out attempts by their funders and recipients to set guidelines for their operation. Increasingly the developing countries who are recipients of such aid are found to be opposed to it in the form in which it is given, namely that despite the best intentions of the donors, the effect of the aid is to finance developing country governments against their own people.