Representatives of the IAMs congratulated civil society on the report, noting that it was an effort that needed to be undertaken. They recognized the importance of transparency and learning lessons in the accountability process. While they raised some questions around how data in the report was interpreted, overall they agreed with the report’s conclusions.
Although there are many critical aspects to meetings such as these, one of the most important is that they take place at all. If you spend enough time in international development conferences, you will often hear lip service paid to the need for civil society keep states and institutions in check, to articulate responsibilities, and to call attention to transgressions. At the same time, civil society is often marginalized, whether directly persecuted in certain countries or by more general efforts to limit participation. However, the meetings with the IAMs do provide an important opportunity to share information, discuss ways of collaborating, and call for overall improvements in the system. In light of the ambitious infrastructure and other development projects planned in the coming decades, and the increasingly complex methods for financing these projects, the collaboration between the IAMs and civil society will be critical for ensuring that communities’ human rights are truly integrated into sustainable development.