Defining Issues in International Environmental Law
Chapter 15: Vote-Buying
1. INTRODUCTION This chapter is the follow-on to the earlier discussions on transparency within the IWC. However, unlike the earlier chapter which focuses upon broad issues of NGOs, secrecy and the access of the press, this one focuses upon only one issue – that of so-called ‘vote-buying’. This topic is worthy of a separate chapter, and the manifestations in international law generally, of this alleged practice are vast. ‘Good governance’ is an objective to be achieved at both domestic and international levels. Within this goal, important steps such as democratic procedures, equality and freedom from corruption are paramount. Despite the axiomatic worth of such goals, the practice of certain states in the international community is the antithesis of such objectives as their practices may introduce corruption. This problem is most prominently displayed with the issue of votebuying. The best example of this within an international forum at the moment is with regard to the IWC. In this instance, the alleged buying of votes has been associated with linkages to Overseas Development Assistance (ODA or ‘aid’). The current attempts to confront this practice have come via three avenues. First, the international community is developing a body of law aiming at prevention of corruption or corrupt practices operating at a number of levels. Second, with regard to the specific instance of possible corruption being linked through ODA, the international community is moving to untie conditionality attached to aid to low- income countries for commercial reasons. Finally, the debate is being taken to the...
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