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Board Approves Panel Recommendation to Investigate Tanzania Resilient Natural Resource Management for Tourism and Growth Project

Tanzania Regrow

On November 15, 2023, the World Bank Board of Executive Directors approved a recommendation from the Inspection Panel to investigate the Tanzania Resilient Natural Resource Management for Tourism and Growth (REGROW) Project. This recommendation of the Panel is in response to a Request for Inspection that was submitted on June 20, 2023, by two individuals from Tanzania. These individuals requested to remain confidential and also requested the Oakland Institute to be their advisor in the Panel process.
The Requesters allege that the Bank-financed REGROW Project in Tanzania did not follow several World Bank policies and procedures including policies on Involuntary Resettlement and Indigenous Peoples. They claim that communities in five villages (with an approximate population of 21,000) adjacent to Ruaha National Park were notified that they will be evicted. The Requesters allege they face violence, actual and threats of retaliation, which has created a sense of constant fear among affected community members. The Requesters allege that over the past two years their cattle have been seized in large numbers to the detriment of pastoral livelihoods. They allege the seizure of cattle has impacted several Indigenous Peoples groups, including Maasai, Sukuma and Datoga pastoralists, who inhabit the project area. They claim that the Bank failed to trigger its policy on Indigenous Peoples, causing irreparable harm to the identity, culture, and rights of the indigenous communities in the project area.

The Panel registered the Request on July 20, 2023, and as required under Panel process, Management submitted its Response to the Request on August 13, 2023. A Panel team visited Tanzania from August 21 to September 2, 2023, to assess the eligibility of the Request. The Panel submitted its Report and Recommendation to the Board on September 19, 2023, in which it recommended carrying out an investigation into the Bank’s review and due diligence of the capacity and processes of one of the Project’s lead implementing agencies, i.e., Tanzania National Parks, and whether risks to communities were identified in project documents and appropriate mitigation measures put in place, and the Bank’s supervision of Tanzania National Parks. The investigation will review the related, possible non-compliance with the applicable World Bank policies, focusing on the Bank’s Policy on Environmental Assessment (OP/BP 4.01) and the Bank’s Investment Project Financing Policy. This investigation pertains to the Bank’s actions and omissions and would not consider other parties mentioned in the Request for Inspection.
Under the Inspection Panel resolution and the World Bank Accountability Mechanism (AM) resolution, after Board approval of the Panel’s investigation recommendation, the AM Secretary offers the complainants and the borrower the option of dispute resolution. The AM Secretary will inform the Board, the Panel and Bank Management within 30 business days whether the parties have voluntarily agreed to pursue dispute resolution. More.