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Panel Issues Notice of Registration in Nepal Trade and Transport Case

The Inspection Panel on May 27, 2020, issued a Notice of Registration for a Request for Inspection of the Nepal-India Regional Trade and Transport Project in Nepal.

The Request for Inspection of the project – whose objectives include improving select trade-related infrastructure – was submitted on April 25, 2020, by nine community members from the Kirtipur Municipality in southern Kathmandu. On May 21, 2020, the Panel received the signature of an additional Requester as well as a letter authorizing someone to represent the Requesters during the Panel process. The Requesters and their representative asked the Panel to keep their identities confidential.

The Requesters claim to be adversely affected by the Chobhar dry port, one of the project’s subcomponents. They allege non-compliance with the World Bank’s policies on Environmental Assessment, Indigenous Peoples, Physical Cultural Resources and Involuntary Resettlement. According to the Request, the dry port will have environmental and social impact on neighboring communities, including Newars, who the project did not identify as indigenous, thus infringing indigenous peoples’ rights in various ways. The Requesters argue the project will also damage Chobhar’s historical, religious and cultural heritage. Further, they allege a lack of effective consultation, disclosure of information and grievance redress. 

The Panel’s registration implies no judgment concerning the merits of the Request. Bank management must provide the Panel with a response to the issues raised in the Request by June 25, 2020. After receiving the response the Panel will conduct its eligibility assessment and make a recommendation to the Board of Executive Directors on whether the matter should be investigated.  More