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World Bank Board Approves Panel Recommendation Not to Investigate Peru Transport Project

The World Bank Board of Executive Directors on January 12, 2021, approved a Panel recommendation not to investigate the Cusco Transport Improvement Project in Peru.
The project has the development objective of improving “mobility in the east-west corridor of Cusco Provincial Municipality” and has four components. The Request for Inspection related to the first component, the improvement of Cusco’s Via Expresa Avenue. 
The Request was submitted on July 16, 2020, by two individuals who stated their land was being taken without compensation to make way for the Via Expresa Avenue. The Panel registered the case on September 28, 2020, and on November 2, 2020, received an additional signature from an individual who also claimed to co-own part of the land, as well as nine signatures of brickmakers who explained that they have rented the land for several years and claimed that they were forcibly evicted without prior notification and compensation. The brickmakers authorized their landlord, who is one of the Requesters, to represent them during the Panel process. The Requesters alleged non-compliance with the Bank’s Policy on Involuntary Resettlement and lack of consultation and disclosure of information. 
World Bank management submitted its response to the Request on November 6, 2020. Due to COVID-19 and related travel restrictions, the Panel was not able to conduct a field visit during its eligibility assessment and adopted a virtual format to gather information for its recommendation on whether an investigation was warranted. 
The Panel on December 15, 2020, recommended the project not be investigated after determining i) the land ownership claims in the Request are a matter for the Peruvian courts and outside the Panel’s purview, ii) the ineligibility of the claims of the brickmakers due to a lack of prior knowledge of the matter by Management as required in the Panel process, and iii) Management’s commitment to ask the borrower to review the claims of the brickmakers to ascertain their possible eligibility, or lack thereof, to receive compensation or assistance under the project’s Resettlement Action Plan. More