IFTI Watch

  • 13 June 2014

    Netherlands Takes Initiative to Monitor NATO Spending

      The Netherlands Court of Audit (NCA)— the official auditing body of the Dutch government— on June 10 created a new website to draw attention to the lack of financial transparency by the North Atlantic Treaty Alliance (NATO). “It is not clear what NATO entities achieve or whether they give value for money,” according to […]

  • 6 June 2014

    ICSID Secretary General Plans to Propose Transparency Changes

    By Toby McIntosh Meg Kinnear, the Secretary General of the World Bank’s international arbitration body, intends to make proposals to address the level of transparency for arbitrations, she told FreedomInfo.org on June 4. Also in the works is a new website that will include more information and improved search capabilities, she said, hoping for an […]

  • 6 June 2014

    EIB Plans Consultation on Transparency Policy

    The European Investment Bank has announced plans to hold a public consultation as part of the review of its Transparency Policy. The process is expected to be finalized at the end of 2014, according to a timetable contained in the press release. The EIB Transparency Policy was adopted in 2010 with a provision mandating a […]

  • 2 June 2014

    World Bank Posts First Group of Access Request Digests

    The World Bank has posted for the first time short summaries of some of the information requests it has received. The 32 listed requests were received in April and were recently put on the Bank’s website. Under the Bank’s new policy a summary of a request is only disclosed if the requester agrees. No names are provided […]

  • 30 May 2014

    Groups Ask EC to Open Transatlantic Trade Talks

    About 250 groups on May 19 sent a letter to EU Trade Commissioner Karel De Gucht calling for more transparency in the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) negotiations. “We are calling on you to open the negotiation process to the public, by releasing the negotiating mandate, documents submitted by the EU, and negotiating texts,” […]

  • 19 May 2014

    World Bank Arbitration Body Sets Limits on Transparency

    By Toby McIntosh If it’s a race to the top, it’s a very slow marathon. Until recently, the Work Bank body that handles international arbitrations may have been, as its secretary general said, the most transparent of all the arbitration regimes. But that claim is open to question now that the United Nations’ arbitration organization […]

  • 16 May 2014

    EBRD Slightly Modifies Public Information Policy

    The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development May 7 approved modest changes to its Public Information Policy. The new policy as only slightly different than the previous policy, which was criticized as too restrictive by nongovernmental organizations, and is still “antiquated,” one critic told FreedomInfo.org. David Banisar, senor legal counsel for the London-based Article 19, […]

  • 24 April 2014

    World Bank to Summarize Request Letters; Permit Veto

    The World Bank in May will begin publishing summaries of requests made in April under its access to information policy, unless a requester objects, according to Bank officials. Requesters in April saw a new message: To further transparency, the World Bank (“Bank”) intends to disclose information regarding access to information requests submitted to the Bank as […]

  • 4 April 2014

    FreedomInfo.org Appeals World Bank Denial

    FreedomInfo.org has appealed a World Bank decision not to release a month’s worth of the requests under the Access to Information policy, stressing that redaction could solve the Bank’s concern over disclosing personal information. The Bank declined to redact information that might be covered by exemptions to the AI policy, saying redaction is not mandatory under […]

  • 4 April 2014

    Book Review: Transparency in International Law

    “Transparency in International Law,” edited by Andrea Bianchi and Anne Peters. Published 2013, Cambridge University Press The 20 chapters of this book, edited by two Swiss academics, provide a sweeping survey of transparency at dozens of international organizations, in theory and practice. The editors purposefully did not prescribe a definition of “transparency,” while admitting that […]

  • 25 March 2014

    UNEP Delays Producing Access to Information Policy

    The United Nations Environment Programme has still not produced an access to information policy requested by the Governing Council a year ago. Instead, an “interim” access policy will begin in April, Executive Director Achim Steiner told the UNEP Committee of Permanent Representatives March 24. He said it will be evaluated after a year. A final […]

  • 21 March 2014

    World Bank Declines to Use Redaction Procedures

    By Toby McIntosh The World Bank’s vaunted “presumption of disclosure” comes with a caveat – all or nothing. Unlike most national and international right to information regimes, the Bank appears unwilling to redact (black out) portions of a document and release the rest. The Bank’s restrictive redaction practice – seemingly at odds with its stated […]

  • 17 March 2014

    EBRD Making No Progress on Transparency, Groups Say

    The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development is proposing to make “no progress” on institutional transparency, according to a statement by watchdog groups. “There are very limited amendments proposed in the Public Information Policy, which has remained largely unchanged for many years,” according to the nongovernmental organizations: Accountability Counsel, Amnesty International, ARTICLE 19, CEE Bankwatch […]

  • 11 February 2014

    New Zealand Resists Pressure to Release TPP Text

    New Zealand’s government on Feb. 11 blocked a Labour Party move in Parliament to force the release of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) free trade agreement before it is approved by the Cabinet. Labour leader David Cunliffe was quoted as saying he was “disappointed, but not surprised,” according to a New Zealand media report. Trade Minister […]

  • 22 January 2014

    EBRD Proposes Revision of Public Information Policy

    The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development has issued a draft revised Public Information Policy (PIP) for public comment. The draft policy would amend the 2011 PIP. French and Russian versions are in the works Comments are due by March 6, They should be sent to Publicinformationpolicy@ebrd.com. The draft revisions appears to be light. In […]

  • 17 January 2014

    IFC Violated Disclosure Policy, Watchdog Says

    The World Bank’s private sector lending arm, the International Finance Corporation (IFC), violated IFC disclosure policies in connection with a controversial loan in Honduras, according to the IFC’s investigative branch. The report by the Compliance Adviser/Ombudsman (CAO) concerned the IFC’s investment in Corporación Dinant in Honduras, a palm oil and food company “which has been […]

  • 17 January 2014

    WikiLeaks Again Discloses Trade Talk Documents

    WikiLeaks on Jan. 15 for the second in several months released secret documents on the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) talks, this time concerning the environment. Disclosed were the draft text for the entire Environment Chapter and the corresponding Chairs’ Report. The text dates from the Chief Negotiators’ summit in Salt Lake City, Utah, on Nov. 12-24, […]

  • 8 January 2014

    Leaks Supplement Official Sources at Unusual ITU

    By Toby McIntosh The existence of a special website for leaked documents from an international standard-setting body would appear to suggest major transparency problems. The reality is more complex. The leaks come with a wink. It’s an open secret that the hundreds of documents on WCITLeaks.org come directly from the website of the International Telecommunication Union. […]

  • 7 January 2014

    WIPO Transparency Wins Praise, Gaps Remain

    By Toby McIntosh WIPO, the World Intellectual Property Organization, has been lauded for the openness of a recent, successful treaty negotiation, but the Secretariat has annoyed some members by denying them access to specific reports. When it comes to transparency about negotiations, observers said the Geneva-based WIPO has few peers among international intergovernmental organizations. Documents […]

  • 7 January 2014

    Trade Dispute Body Adopts Limited Transparency Rules

    By Toby McIntosh New transparency rules will go into effect April 1 for the world’s second largest arbiter of international investment treaty disputes, but their impact will be minimal. The rules will apply only to the disputes under future treaties, not the 3,000 existing treaties. This situation could change if an overarching treaty on transparency is […]


In this column, Washington, D.C.-based journalist Toby J. McIntosh reports on the latest developments in information disclosure in International Financial and Trade Institutions (IFTI).
Contact: freeinfo@gwu.edu or
1-(703) 276-7748