International Governance and Development

One of the key challenges facing the world today is poor governance, which is associated with lost economic growth, corruption and waste, and a disenfranchised citizenry.

For Linklaters, governance denotes the systems and processes that ensure the overall direction, effectiveness, supervision, and accountability of an entity, whether a governmental or inter-governmental agency, a non-governmental organization, a private corporation, or a partnership among them. Whether in the developed or developing worlds, or the profit or not-for-profit sectors, the quality of governance often means the difference between a successful venture and a failed attempt.

Linklaters is a leader in governance and its particular challenges in emerging markets, having unique experience in navigating the relationships between public and private actors, and serving as fluent interpreters in complex environments. Each year we organize and co-host a preeminent gathering at Oxford University, bringing together senior government officials, members of the not-for-profit community, academics, foundations, social entrepreneurs and the private sector to discuss, and take steps toward solving, some of the greatest challenges facing the development sector.

Our International Governance and Development practices (IGDP) advise on all manner of governance issues. These include assessing, designing, implementing and monitoring client-centered governance models through to addressing challenges relating to fraud, corruption and economic sanctions regimes. We do this through education and training, enhanced compliance mechanisms, and investigations when necessary. We also help to develop innovative funding models for private enterprises, foundations and non-governmental organizations that facilitate scalability and enhance partnerships, and advise on the requirements of and compliance with international human rights frameworks. We currently have International Governance and Development matters in Asia, the Middle East, and Western and Southern Africa.

Linklaters’ International Governance and Development practices were awarded the 2014 FT Innovative Lawyers European Award in the newly created category for Social Responsibility. Notably, the practice was also ranked in the first tier of U.S. Legal 500 2016 in the newly established Corporate Governance category.

Linklaters was also named Southern Africa Law Firm of the Year at the Southern African Compliance Awards 2014, for the work of the International Governance and Development practices and the associated work of Linklaters’ Operational Intelligence Group.

We have worked with clients in the following areas:
Governance Models
  • undertaking a large-scale governance review to advise members states on principles-based governance reforms for the UN Development System
  • Linklaters’ major report, launched at the World Economic Forum’s Africa Meeting, Governance for the United Nations Development System: Adapting to Meet the Challenges of a Changing World
  • advising an international infrastructure and engineering consultancy on an internal investigation involving the World Bank
  • working with African Union's New Partnership for Africa’s Development, the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa, and others to develop governance frameworks to tackle illicit financial flows from African countries
  • designing a unified governance model and compliance system for an oil and gas company in Nigeria
  • conducting an in-depth review, analysis, and report on the governance model of a UK-based NGO operating in sub-Saharan Africa
  • developing governance models for clients that reduce the risk of international sanctions violations
  • representing an Asian NGO in connection with an investigation by USAID and related governance issues
Anti-bribery and Corruption
  • undertaking a review of a Colombia-based multinational’s approach to governance, and advising on international best practices related to ABC
  • leader and member of the review and report writing team for the Independent Commission for Aid Impact’s report on DFID’s Approach to Anti-Corruption and its Impact on the Poor
  • undertaking a detailed, holistic governance review of a multi-national mining company's international operations
  • advising a banking client on governance and ABC issues in connection with an acquisition from a sovereign wealth fund
  • providing toolkits and reporting regimes for ABC issues
  • conducting a review of the issuer’s governance and compliance documents in a capital markets transaction involving a UAE-based payment systems company
  • advising a foundation on the development of a sustainability bond to finance affordable housing in India
  • advising a social enterprise on financing of a community-based wind farm in Mexico
  • advising the African Development Bank, European Investment Bank, International Finance Corporation, and multiple European development banks on financing of a hydroelectric power project in Uganda
  • advising the European Investment Bank and the African Development Bank on a wind farm financing
  • advising clients on European Union transparency rules governing extractive industries assisting clients on developing human rights due diligence processes
  • serving on the steering committee of the Europe and other states regional meeting of the World
  • Humanitarian Summit (WHS); advising the WHS Secretariat on issues of governance in the humanitarian sector; and assisting in the preparation of the WHS Synthesis Report

In addition, we help clients develop a tailored approach to social development issues, governance structures, and sectoral standards and codes of practice.

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