Research

New book: Accountability in Global Governance (OUP 2020)


How can international organizations (IOs) like the United Nations (UN) and their implementing partners be held accountable if their actions and policies violate fundamental human rights? This book provides a new conceptual framework to study pluralist accountability, whereby third parties hold IOs and their implementing partners accountable for human rights violations. Based on a rich study of UN-mandated operations in Afghanistan, Bosnia and Kosovo, the EU Troika's austerity policy, and Global Public-Private Health Partnerships in India, this book analyzes how competition and human rights vulnerability shape the evolution of pluralist accountability in response to diverse human rights violations, such as human trafficking, the violation of the rights of detainees, economic rights, and the right to consent in clinical trials. While highlighting the importance of alternative accountability mechanisms for legitimacy of IOs, this book also argues that pluralist accountability should not be regarded as a panacea for IOs' legitimacy problems, as it is often less legalized and might cause multiple accountability disorder.  


International Organizations and the (re-)assertion of national sovereignty

In this project, funded by the Thyssen Foundation, I analyze international organizations' reactions to the recent crisis of multilateralism, exemplified by the United States’ decrease in their financial contributions to the UN, the UK’s decision to leave the EU, and the threat of African states to leave the International Criminal Court. These actions significantly threaten the legitimacy and the effectiveness of IOs.
How do IOs react to budgetary measures, membership withdrawals or systematic non-compliance with core values by member states? And what factors explain the different ways in which IOs respond to these sovereignty challenges? Innovatively combining theories of multilateralism with organization theory, this project investigates the conditions under which IOs may respond to sovereignty challenges by adopting one of three strategies: hunkering, i.e. keeping a low profile to continue their policies without changes, adaptation, i.e. policy changes to maintain the support of the challenging member state(s), or resilience, i.e. developing organizational capacities in order to limit the (re-)assertion of sovereignty by member states.
 

Music and Peace

In this project, funded by the Leiden University Fund and Gratama Foundation, I explore the role of music in peacebuilding. I’m particularly interested in the effects of multilateral (youth) orchestras on societies at war and their long-term impact on peace and reconciliation processes, for example regarding the Israeli-Palestinian conflict or the wars on the Balkans. For further information, click here.