Pluralist accountability

My current research interests focus on the legitimacy and accountability of international organizations. Due to the complex structure of contemporary global governance, traditional accountability mechanisms are often difficult to achieve. Instead, third parties play an increasingly important role in holding international organizations and their implementing partners accountable for human rights violations. In this research project, I analyze the conditions that lead to what I call pluralist accountability. I argue that the degree of competition among third parties and the vulnerability of the implementing actors or the mandating authority regarding specific norms contribute to the development of pluralist accountability. I demonstrate this empirically in a comparative case study, analyzing pluralist accountability for human rights violations in different issue areas of complex global governance, namely security policy, global health policy and economic policy. I further argue that – compared to traditional accountability – pluralist accountability can enhance the legitimacy of international organizations at least to some extent.


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.