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Licensed Unlicensed Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter July 15, 2015

The World Bank’s Sustainable Development Approach and the Need for a Unified Field of Law and Development Studies in Argentina

Stéphanie de Moerloose

Abstract

This paper argues that the World Bank’s adoption of the principle of sustainable development is an example of the persistence of the law and development approach. Indeed, the World Bank’s interpretation of the principle translates into its projects; through soft law and loan conditionality, it applies to the borrower and regulates behaviors at the country level. This potentially results in the legal transplantation of a cross-culturally valid principle. The paper will present a case study of the sustainable development principle’s application by the World Bank in Argentina: the “Riachuelo-Matanza Basin Sustainable Development Project”. Given the difficulties of implementing the project, the paper makes the case that, to bridge the gaps described by Trubek and Galanter, Argentina needs scholars specialized in law and development as a unified field in order to fine-tune the development approach of international development actors to national realities and thus create a real impact.

Acknowledgment

The author would like to thank: Néstor Cafferatta, Secretario judicial of Environmental Law, Argentine Supreme Court, and former Under-Secretary of State for Environment; Mariano Madiedo, Secretario and Guillermo Leguiza Casqueiro, Prosecretario of Judge Sergio Torres, Federal District Court No.12 of the City of Buenos Aires; Javier María García Elorrio, Responsible for Riachuelo Urban Hygiene, City of Buenos Aires; Elba Gaggero, Environmental Specialist, and María Catalina Rámirez, Water and Sanitation Specialist, World Bank, as well as Professor Makane Moïse Mbengue, University of Geneva, for their time and valuable input. This paper benefitted from discussions at the 2015 Law and Development Conference in New Orleans, where an early version was presented. The author is grateful to Professor Colin Crawford, Executive Director of Tulane University Payson Center for International Development, and to Professor Y.-S. Lee, Director of the Law and Development Institute, for their constructive comments. Yet the views expressed herein, as well as any errors or omissions, should be attributed solely to the author.

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Published Online: 2015-7-15
Published in Print: 2015-12-1

©2015 Law and Development Review