Panel Releases New Advisory Report, 
Hosts Discussion on Responding to Project-Related GBV Complaints

The Inspection Panel on December 9 hosted a virtual discussion on responding to gender-based violence (GBV) complaints through an independent accountability mechanism. Michelle Bachelet, the former president of Chile who is now UN high commissioner for human rights, provided opening remarks to the discussion, which was moderated by World Bank Executive Director Koen Davidse. Panelists included: Inspection Panel Chair Imrana Jalal; Maninder Gill, global director, Environmental and Social Framework, at the World Bank; Dubravka Simonovic, UN special rapporteur on violence against women, its causes and consequences; Moses Ntenga, founder and director of Joy for Children Uganda; and Elana Berger, executive director of the Bank Information Center. 

The discussion coincided with the publication of the sixth report in the Panel’s Emerging Lessons Series. The report – which was released during the “16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence” campaign and dedicated to the memory of U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg – provides insights based on two recent GBV-related investigations conducted by the Panel in Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo. To watch a video of the discussion, click here. The report can be accessed by clicking here.

Panel Bids Farewell to Executive Secretary Dilek Barlas

Inspection Panel Executive Secretary Dilek Barlas is retiring after nearly three decades with the World Bank. Ms. Barlas joined the Bank in 1992 and served as counsel and senior counsel in the World Bank Legal Vice Presidency for Europe and Central Asia. She came to the Panel in 2007 as deputy executive secretary and became executive secretary in 2014. 

She has participated in more than 100 Panel cases and been heavily involved in the updating of the Panel’s operating procedures in 2014, the adoption of its anti-reprisal guidelines in 2016, the launch of the Panel’s Emerging Lessons report series and, most recently, in the Board’s review of the Panel that led to additional tools for the Panel and the establishment of the World Bank Accountability Mechanism. At a January 14 virtual farewell, Panel Chair Imrana Jalal cited Ms. Barlas’ “big heart,” adding: “She leaves a gargantuan legacy at the Panel, as its strength and its respected profile is in no small part due to her.” More


BRAZIL: Teresina Enhancing Municipal Governance and Quality of Life Project Additional Financing – Board Considers Panel Investigation Report, Approves MAP

The World Bank Board of Executive Directors on December 1, 2020, considered the Inspection Panel’s Investigation Report related to the project and approved the Management Action Plan presented in the Management Report and Recommendation responding to the Panel’s findings. The key finding from the Panel’s investigation was the lack of a systematic and comprehensive application of the Bank’s Policy on Involuntary Resettlement. 

The Panel also recognized the steps taken by Bank management to rectify the weaknesses in the project following the receipt of the Request for Inspection, as well as during and after the Panel’s investigation. To read a press release about the Board discussion, click here. To read the Panel’s Investigation Report, click here and to read the Management Report and Recommendation, click here.

PERU: Cusco Transport Improvement Project – Board Approves Panel Recommendation Not to Investigate

The Board on January 12, 2021, approved a Panel recommendation not to investigate the project. The Request for Inspection was submitted in July 2020 by two individuals who stated their land was being taken without compensation to make way for the Via Expresa Avenue built under the project. In November 2020, the Panel received an additional signature from an individual who claimed to co-own part of the land, as well as the signatures of nine 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 Requesters alleged non-compliance with the Bank’s Involuntary Resettlement Policy and lack of consultation and disclosure of information. The Panel recommended against an investigation after determining, in part, that the land ownership claims in the Request are a matter for the Peruvian courts and outside the Panel’s purview. More

UGANDA: North-Eastern Road-corridor Asset Management Program – Board Approves Panel Request to Delay Recommendation on Whether to Investigate

The Board on January 15, 2021, approved a Panel request to postpone the deadline for its recommendation on whether to investigate the project. The deadline for the recommendation had been January 21, 2021. The Panel asked to extend it to February 26, 2021, citing presidential, parliamentary and local elections that were scheduled to take place in Uganda from January 14 until the end of the month, and the resulting unavailability of government officials to meet with the Panel team. 

The Panel on November 9, 2020, had registered the Request for Inspection of the project. The Request raises two sets of concerns. One relates to the valuation of Oruja Rock, which is located in the Requesters’ community and was to have been used as a stone quarry for the rehabilitation of the road. The second relates to the involuntary resettlement process. More

KAZAKHSTAN: South-West Roads: Western Europe-Western China International Transit Corridor Project – Panel Issues Notice of Receipt

The Panel on January 22, 2021, issued a Notice of Receipt of a Request for Inspection of the project. The Requesters, four community members from the project area, allege that the project failed to ensure the public safety and health of project-affected communities and that the construction of the road has impacted the community’s supply of natural spring water. The Requesters also raise issues related to stakeholder engagement, including consultation and disclosure of information. The Panel is currently reviewing the Request in accordance with its procedures to determine its admissibility. More

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

The Panel Investigation Report remains with the Board. The Panel submitted the report in January 2020 and shared it with Requesters in February 2020 so they could be involved in the development of the Management Action Plan. 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 Request for Inspection claims, 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

NEPAL: Nepal-India Regional Trade and Transport Project – Panel Investigation Recommendation Remains on Hold

A Panel recommendation on whether to investigate the project remains on hold. Last September, the Board approved the Panel’s request to postpone the deadline for its recommendation. In making the request, the Panel cited its inability conduct its eligibility visit to Nepal due to travel restrictions related to the COVID-19 pandemic and determined it could not make an informed decision without a field visit. 

The Panel had requested a postponement until four weeks from the date that Bank missions to Nepal are reauthorized and national travel restrictions that would inhibit the Panel team from visiting the project area have been lifted. In the meantime, the Panel has remained in touch with the Requesters, who claim to be adversely affected by the Chobhar dry port, one of the project’s subcomponents. More

Bank Management Update – Action Plan Implementation Report 
World Bank management in December 2020 issued its latest overview on the status of the implementation of its action plans. The action plans were developed in response to findings in Inspection Panel investigations, and have been approved by the Bank’s Board of Executive Directors. Management, as requested by the Committee on Development Effectiveness of the Board, began submitting these biannual implementation reports to the Board in 2016. In line with its Updated Operating Procedures and to promote transparency, the Panel publishes the management reports on its website. More

Panel Welcomes New Staff Members

The Panel recently welcomed two new staff members. Ayako Kubodera joined the Panel Secretariat in December 2020 as a Junior Professional Officer. Before joining, Ms. Kubodera had worked for UN Women’s South Africa Multi-Country Office and the Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific (Thailand), focusing on strategic planning, coordination, monitoring, reporting and evaluation. She earned a master’s degree focusing on human security and international political economy from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University and bachelor’s degree in economics from Wellesley College.

Nicolas Kotschoubey joined the staff January 2021 as a Senior Environmental Specialist. Most recently, Mr. Kotschoubey had been a senior environmental specialist for the World Bank based in Senegal. Prior to that, he consulted for the Bank’s Latin America and the Caribbean region as a senior environmental specialist. He has a master’s degree in aquatic resource management from King’s College, University of London, and a bachelor’s degree in agriculture systems from the University of Reading.

Panel Conducts Virtual Outreach in Nigeria

The Inspection Panel on November 12 explained its mandate and operations to several representatives of civil society and non-governmental organizations in Nigeria. Speaking virtually, Panel Member Ramanie Kunanayagam and Senior Operations Officer Serge Selwan discussed how communities can file a complaint to the Panel, how the Panel processes complaints, and the changes to the Panel’s toolkit recently approved by the Bank’s Board of Executive Directors. 

The discussion was the latest in a series of virtual outreach events the Panel has conducted since members and staff began working from home during COVID-19 pandemic. Email us at if you are interested in taking part in a workshop. More


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. Once the World Bank Accountability Mechanism becomes operational in 2021, it will house both the Panel to carry out compliance reviews and a new Dispute Resolution Service.