29 Apr 2011
Books/ Book Chapters
Promoting Good Governance, Development and Accountability
Susan Brown-Shafii, Scientific Coordinator at the Swiss National Centre of Competence in Research on Trade Regulation at the World Trade Institute, University of Bern, Switzerland.
Can a WTO Agreement be used to promote good governance, development and accountability? Anchored in the text of the 1994 WTO Government Procurement Agreement and the liberal trading system, of which it is a part, Brown-Shafii looks for answers across a disparate institutional and intellectual terrain, taking interdisciplinary insights from law and development studies. She discovers that while the three concepts may be intertwined, the GPA and other regimes designed to promote transparency are principally about accountability. Taking into account nearly 30 years' worth of efforts to interest the developing countries in membership; she identifies additional relationships between transparency, the rule of law, popular sovereignty and accountability. Many of these alliances could be better safeguarded by national governments through membership in the GPA, albeit with a critical caveat. The author concludes that countries in the process of accession must be allowed to determine their timetables for coverage on the basis of their own social and developmental priorities. Moreover, to protect the potential developmental benefits of membership, consideration should also be given to the expansion of the rights of private actors affected by domestic administrative decisions.