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Panel Explains Mandate and Operations in Video Conference with CSO Representatives in Portuguese-Speaking Countries in Africa

The Inspection Panel on December 13, 2017, held a video conference to explain its mandate and operations to about 60 civil society representatives in four Portuguese-speaking nations in Africa. Executive Secretary Dilek Barlas welcomed civil society representatives from Angola, Guinea-Bissau, Mozambique, and São Tomé and Príncipe. Operations Officer Tamara Milsztajn and Communications Consultant John Garrison then explained the Panel’s procedures and discussed the outcomes of some recent cases before taking questions on a range of topics including how World Bank and national safeguard policies interact, the Panel’s definition of ‘harms’, and how civil society can participate in the design and planning phase of Bank-financed projects. The civil society representatives who took part in the video conference represented a wide variety of types of organizations – community and faith-based groups, non-governmental organizations and foundations – and thematic areas such as rural development, gender, human rights and environmental sustainability. The video conference, organized with the help of local World Bank offices, was part of the Inspection Panel’s outgoing efforts to make stakeholders aware of its role within the Bank, and to listen to their perspectives and concerns.