The international team works to strengthen accountability measures in intergovernmental organizations and the regional development banks, which represent an important dimension of multilateral grants and loans. Because the Asian Development Bank, the Inter-American Development Bank, the African Development Bank, and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development all enjoy sovereign immunities in the countries where they operate, staff contractors and vendors need the same whistleblower protections that other, larger international institutions should provide.
All of these institutions, however, lack a meaningful forum for the adjudication of a complaint of retaliation. Thus far, none of them provide whistleblowers with access to an independent, external judicial forum or to external arbitration. Complaints are heard in an office or before a grievance panel that consists of employees of the same institution, people who can be, and often are, subject to intimidation or influence by management. A structural conflict of interest taints these proceedings. While the regional development banks, particularly the African Development Bank, allude to the possibility of alternative dispute resolution, in practice they have not gone beyond allowing mediation by a third party chosen from a roster of mediators that is, in turn, compiled by management.
Government Accountability Project continues to work with the regional development banks to improve and strengthen both their policies and their internal justice systems. Our goal is to provide whistleblowers with a safe channel for reporting corruption as well as a fair forum for seeking relief from retaliation.
The United Nations is the source of fundamental international law on universal human rights to freedom of expression and access to information. Government Accountability Project advocates on behalf of the conviction that whistleblowers have fundamental rights consistent with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and treaties adopted by the UN General Assembly. Government Accountability Project works to ensure that these rights are honored by the institution itself when employees from the UN system disclose misconduct.
Government Accountability Project has represented whistleblowers from the UN secretariat, UN Department of Safety and Security (UNDSS), UN Development Programme (UNDP), World Food Programme (WFP), UN Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat), and UN Police (UNPOL), among others. Because the institution operates beyond the reach of national laws, courts, and investigative bodies, Government Accountability Project has also advocated for reforms in its conflict resolution system and investigative units, so that those systems will be more effective. Government Accountability Project has also advised several staff associations within the UN system about whistleblower protections.