Labour Safeguards of International Financial Institutions: Can They Help to Avoid Violations of ILO Core Labour Standards?

  • Franz Christian EbertEmail author
Part of the European Yearbook of International Economic Law book series (EUROYEAR, volume 10)


A number of International Financial Institutions (IFIs) at the global and regional level have adopted labour-related safeguard policies to avoid that projects financed by them contribute to labour standards violations. This chapter analyses the potential of these safeguards to contribute to the protection of the Core Labour Standard, as defined by the ILO. To this end, the chapter looks, first, at the safeguards’ legal design. It reviews the normative content of selected IFI labour safeguards and assesses their relation with relevant ILO instruments, highlighting a number of inconsistencies in this regard. Furthermore, the chapter scrutinizes the scope of relevant labour safeguards, revealing several loopholes that may provide borrowers with avenues to avoid many of the safeguards’ requirements by adjusting the project structure. Secondly, the chapter assesses the safeguards’ practical implications. To this end, it examines the mechanisms established by several IFIs to prevent and remedy violations of the safeguards’ requirements. In addition, the chapter reviews evidence on the safeguards’ application, highlighting positive outcomes in several cases despite an overall mixed picture. The concluding section points to some general caveats that may hamper the safeguards overall effectiveness and emphasises the need for more comprehensive mechanisms to protect workers with regard to IFI activities.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Max Planck Institute for Comparative Public Law and International LawHeidelbergGermany

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