The Problem of Secrecy and the Opportunity for Openness in International Institutions
Working Paper #24
This paper provides a brief and admittedly selective history of the struggle for openness in the international institutions, summary descriptions of a few of the more important battles and campaigns in that struggle, an analysis of current transparency policies and institutional structures within the international institutions, an overview of current issues and debates, and a synopsis of lessons learned from the struggle so far. One major limitation of this paper derives from the limitations of the available scholarly and popular literature on transparency in the international institutions, that is, the preponderance of focus on the World Bank, rather than on the regional development banks, the IMF, the WTO, and NATO. While the latter do feature in a number of significant studies, and this paper will draw on that material for illustrative purposes, it is the World Bank that has occupied the central place in the protest movements of the past 25 years as well as in the international openness reforms of the past decade.
About the Author
Thomas S. Blanton
Director of the National Security Archive
George Washington University