About the Inspection Panel
The Inspection Panel is an independent complaints mechanism for people and communities who believe that they have been, or are likely to be, adversely affected by a World Bank-funded project. The Board of Executive Directors created the Inspection Panel in 1993 to ensure that people have access to an independent body to which they can express their concerns and seek recourse.
The Panel is an impartial fact-finding body, independent from the World Bank management and staff, reporting directly to the Board. The Inspection Panel process aims to promote accountability at the World Bank, give affected people a greater voice in activities supported by the World Bank that affect their rights and interests, and foster redress when warranted.
In September 2020, the Board updated the resolution that created the Panel and added to the Panel functions. At the same time, the Board approved a resolution establishing the World Bank Accountability Mechanism (AM). The AM has been operational since 2021 and houses the Inspection Panel, which carries out compliance reviews, and a Dispute Resolution Service, which provides complainants with an additional option to have their concerns addressed.
The Inspection Panel members are independent of Bank Management and report directly to the Board. The Inspection Panel Members coordinate with, but are not subject to the supervision of the AM Secretary.
In response to complaints from project-affected people, we have a mandate to review projects funded by the World Bank through the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD) and International Development Association (IDA). The Panel assesses allegations of harm to people or the environment and reviews whether the Bank followed its operational policies and procedures including Bank’s environmental and social policies (Environmental and Social Safeguard Policies and the Environmental and Social Framework), and all other policies and procedures applicable to the design, appraisal and implementation of a Bank-financed project.
This often includes issues such as:
- Adverse effects on people and livelihoods as a consequence of displacement and resettlement related to infrastructure projects, such as dams, roads, pipelines, mines, and landfills;
- Risks to people and the environment related to dam safety, use of pesticides and other indirect effects of investments;
- Risks to indigenous peoples, their culture, traditions, lands tenure and development rights;
- Adverse effects on physical cultural heritage, including sacred places;
- Adverse effects on natural habitats, including protected areas such as wetlands, forests, and water bodies.
The Panel also provides advisory services through different reports and publications on lessons emerging from its cases.
The Panel is one of the oversight and accountability functions within the World Bank Group.
The Inspection Panel consists of three members appointed by the Board of Executive Directors for a five-year non-renewable term. Members are selected on the basis of their ability to deal thoroughly and fairly with the complaints brought to them, their integrity and independence from Bank management, and their exposure to developmental issues and living conditions in developing countries.
The Panel has a permanent Secretariat that provides operational and administrative support. For its fact-finding and investigations, the Panel also hires independent, internationally recognized experts to ensure objective and professional assessment of the issues under review.
Starting in early 2021, the Panel will be housed within the World Bank Accountability Mechanism after it becomes operational. Panel members will continue to be independent of Bank management and report directly to the Board. They will coordinate with but not be subject to the supervision of the AM Secretary.