The Request raised concerns about works on the Lubigi channel financed under KIIDP-2 and alleged that the affected community was excluded from the project’s resettlement under a 2017 Resettlement Action Plan (RAP), confronted with a forced eviction attempt in the same area as the project, and rushed through an inadequate, threatening and coercive resettlement process under a supplementary RAP. The Request further alleged cumulative impact from different interventions in the project area.
The Panel registered the Request on July 26, 2021, and Management submitted its Response to the Request on August 24, 2021.
The Management Response explained that Management had carefully reviewed the allegations raised in the Request, most of which it stated were already known and being addressed by the project implementation unit as part of regular project implementation. The Response concluded with a commitment to work with the Kampala Capital City Authority, the agency responsible for the project, to strengthen RAP implementation through certain actions that, according to Management, address the Request’s key concerns.
In its October 4, 2021, Report and Recommendation to the Board recommending an investigation, the Panel recognized that Bank Management is taking steps to address some of the alleged harm. However, the Panel noted the conflicting assertions between the complainants and Bank Management as to whether the project caused the alleged harm suffered or likely to be suffered and whether there is a violation by the Bank of its operational policies and procedures. The Panel stated that the facts related to these assertions and the Bank’s compliance or non-compliance with applicable policies and procedures could only be determined in the course of an investigation.
The Board approved the Panel’s recommendation on October 20, 2021.
Under the updated Inspection Panel resolution and the resolution creating the World Bank Accountability Mechanism (AM), following that Board approval the AM Secretary, acting as head of the Dispute Resolution Service (DRS), offered the option of dispute resolution to the complainants and borrower and reported to the Board, Panel and Bank management on December 2, 2021, that they parties had voluntarily agreed to engage in the process.
Now that they have agreed, the Panel will hold its compliance process in abeyance until the process is concluded. If, at the end of the process, the parties reach agreement, the Panel will issue a memorandum closing the case and take no further action. However, if the parties do not eventually reach a dispute resolution agreement, the Panel will commence its investigation. The maximum length of the DR process is one year from when the AM Secretary reports on the parties’ willingness to pursue dispute resolution. If both parties agree, the process may be extended for up to an additional six months. Like the Panel, the DRS, which facilitates the dispute resolution process, honors requests for confidentiality from the complainants.
This case marked the first time since the Board approved the resolutions in September 2020 that the complainants and borrower involved in a Request for Inspection to the Panel are being given the option of dispute resolution.