Panel Hosts Virtual Discussion on the Challenges of Implementing Biodiversity Offsets

The Inspection Panel on May 20, 2020, hosted a virtual discussion on the challenges of implementing biodiversity offsets in development. Panel Chair Imrana Jalal moderated the discussion with World Bank Executive Director Anne Kabagambe; International Rivers Policy Director Josh Klemm; George Ledec, who recently retired as lead ecologist at the World Bank; and registered natural scientist Susie Brownlie, who served as a consultant on a recent Panel investigation related to the Kalagala Offset Area in Uganda. More than 300 people from 17 countries watched the discussion live on YouTube and another 700-plus later viewed a video of it. 

The discussion coincided with the publication of the latest report in the Panel’s Emerging Lessons Series, the first such report since the Bank’s Board of Executive Directors formalized the Panel’s advisory role. The report provides insights into the use of biodiversity offsets based on Panel investigations related to the Kalagala offset. To watch a video of the discussion, click here. To read the report, click here.

Panel Takes Part in Steering Committee, Working Group to Operationalize Reforms

Inspection Panel Chair Imrana Jalal and Executive Secretary Dilek Barlas are working as members, respectively, of a steering committee and working group chaired by the World Bank’s Legal Vice Presidency to operationalize the Panel toolkit reforms approved by the Board of Executive Directors in March. The reforms included 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, and (ii) allow independent and proportionate risk-based verification, when approved by the Board, of the implementation of Management Action Plans developed in response to Panel Investigation Reports. Current plans are for the Board to consider the legal framework for the changes in September and for the changes to be operational thereafter. On July 30, the Chair and Vice Chair of the Board’s Committee on Development Effectiveness will lead a virtual technical workshop on the reforms for external stakeholders.


BRAZIL: Teresina Enhancing Municipal Governance and Quality of Life Project Additional Financing – Panel Submits Investigation Report

The Panel on July 22, 2020, submitted its Investigation Report to the World Bank Board of Executive Directors in response to a Request for Inspection of the project and is preparing for the sharing of the report with Requesters so they can meaningfully take part in the consultation on the Management Action Plan responding to the Panel’s findings. A Panel team had visited Brazil from March 7-17, 2020, and met with all relevant stakeholders. The Requesters express their support for the project but oppose their resettlement and claim alternate project designs would enable them to stay in their homes. They contend community members have been living in these locations for several decades and that, by displacing and dislocating their community, the project will cause cultural, social and economic harm. More

KENYA: Transport Sector Support Project and its Additional Financing – Board Approves Panel Recommendation Not to Investigate

The Board on June 23, 2020, approved a Panel recommendation not to investigate the project. On two previous occasions, in April and December 2019, the Board had approved Panel recommendations to defer a decision on whether to investigate. Both deferrals aimed to provide Bank management time to implement actions to respond to the Requesters’ concerns. The Panel submitted its third and final eligibility report to the Board on June 9, 2020. In recommending not to investigate the project, the Panel noted the opposing views of World Bank management and the Requesters but cited management’s concerted effort to address the outstanding harm – and the temporary impact of the harm, which has since dissipated. More

NEPAL: Nepal-India Regional Trade and Transport Project – Panel Preparing Eligibility Report

The Panel is preparing its eligibility report for the Board after registering a Request for Inspection of the project on May 27, 2020. The Request was submitted on April 25 by nine community members from the Kirtipur Municipality in southern Kathmandu; on May 21 the Panel received the signature of an additional Requester as well as a letter authorizing an individual to represent the Requesters during the Panel process. The Requesters claim to be harmed 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. More

INDIA: Rural Water Supply and Sanitation Project for Low Income States – Panel Investigation Report Remains with Board

The Panel’s Investigation Report remains with the Board. The Panel submitted the report on January 15, 2020, and it was shared with Requesters in February 2020 so they could be involved in the development of the Management Action Plan (MAP). Preparation of the MAP continues to be delayed because travel restrictions resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic have affected Bank management’s ability to finish consultations with the affected communities. The Requests for Inspection claim, among other things, that a water treatment plant and an elevated storage reservoir financed by the project were built on land that has religious and cultural significance to tribal communities and is causing harm to them.  More

Inspection Panel Hosts Summer 2020 Interns

The Inspection Panel hosted Menatalla Mohamed of Georgetown University and Jacob Reagan of the University of Colorado as its summer 2020 interns. With World Bank staff continuing to work from home during the COVID-19 pandemic, Mena and Jake interned remotely in June and July, assisting the Panel on case and advisory work. Mena graduated in May from Georgetown’s School of Foreign Service with a degree in Science, Technology and International Affairs and a certificate in Arab Studies. Jake graduated in May from the University of Colorado with degrees in Political Science and Spanish Language and Literature. Both Mena and Jake were selected as Truman Scholars. Jake was also selected as a Rhodes Scholar. More

Panel Participates in Virtual Workshops on its Mandate, Operations

While working from home during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Inspection Panel organized or participated in several virtual workshops in the spring and early summer to inform civil society and community representatives about the Panel’s mandate and operations. The Panel organized small-group virtual workshops in Southern and Western Africa and in the Middle East and North Africa. It also joined the Compliance Advisor Ombudsman and the independent accountability mechanism (IAM) of the Inter-American Development Bank in holding virtual workshops in Central America and teamed up with those two IAMs in four workshops organized as part of the Responsible Business Conduct in Latin America and the Caribbean program implemented by the International Labour Organization, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, and the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights. External stakeholders interested in organizing a single- or multi-group workshop should contact the Panel at


The Inspection Panel is an independent complaints mechanism for people and communities who believe that they have been, or are likely to be, adversely affected by a World Bank-funded project. The Board of Executive Directors created the Inspection Panel in 1993 to ensure that people have access to an independent body to which to express their concerns and seek recourse. The Panel is an impartial fact-finding body, independent from the World Bank management and staff, reporting directly to the Board. The Inspection Panel process aims to promote accountability at the World Bank, give affected people a greater voice in activities supported by the World Bank that affect their rights and interests, and foster redress when warranted.

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