Standardizing sustainable development
There is a sense of urgency in emerging market and developing countries in general, and Latin America in particular, for international development banks to generate a pipeline of infrastructure projects in order to reboot lagging economies and to meet broader Sustainable Development Goals. In meeting those goals, it is important to also ensure that such efforts are socially inclusive and environmentally sustainable. In order to draw lessons for this new wave of development finance, this chapter conducts a comparative analysis of international development bank social and environmental safeguards. We find a significant divergence in safeguard policy across development banks operating in the region with Western-backed development banks requiring that borrowers harmonize to developed country standards, to others such as China and Brazil’s banks deferring to host country standards. Based on this research, we develop a framework that will allow analysts to better empirically examine the impact of different safeguard regimes on environment, social, and development outcomes.