News & Visuals

World Bank Board Approves Enhancements to Inspection Panel Toolkit; Creates Accountability Mechanism Comprised of the Panel and a new Dispute Resolution Service

The World Bank Board of Executive Directors has approved enhancements to the Inspection Panel’s toolkit and the Bank’s accountability system, creating an independent accountability mechanism housing the Panel and a new Dispute Resolution Service.

The Board also approved measures to (i) extend for 15 months beyond project closure the time limit under which Requesters can submit a complaint to the Panel, and (ii) allow independent and proportionate risk-based verification, when approved by the Board, of the implementation of Management Action Plans (MAPs) developed in response to Panel Investigation Reports. All three changes will take effect in six months. The change in time eligibility for filing complaints is for new projects approved by the Board after the change is effective.

While under one umbrella, the new Dispute Resolution Service will be organizationally separate from the Inspection Panel to avoid conflicts of interest. Panel members will remain fully independent and continue to report directly to the Board on all compliance investigation matters.

The changes were announced in a March 9, 2020, World Bank press release.

The announcement about the three changes comes at the end of 2 ½-year review of the Panel’s toolkit by the Board. Earlier in review process, the Board  approved measures to (i) formally recognize the Panel’s advisory role in its mandate; (ii) have management issue clarifications on the use of Bank-Executed Trust Funds; (iii) formalize the Panel’s current practice of coordinating with accountability mechanisms of co-financers to process joint complaints in the most efficient and effective way possible, and (iv) update the procedures for sharing the Panel’s Investigation Report with Requesters before it is considered by the Board. The latter change, which the Panel has already utilized twice, is intended to allow Requesters to more meaningfully participate in consultations on the development of MAPs.

“These are positive developments for project-affected communities,” Inspection Panel Chair Imrana Jalal said. “They are provided more time to send a complaint to the Panel if they feel they have been harmed by a project, and the addition of the Dispute Resolution Service gives them another way to have their issues addressed. Additionally, the changes offer the Panel the opportunity to enhance accountability by verifying the implementation of Management Action Plans in some cases.”

To read the World Bank press release about the Board’s decisions, click here. To read a factsheet about the conclusion of the toolkit review, click here. To read the Board paper on the review, click here.