Mandate & Governance

The World Bank

What We Do

The World Bank Accountability Mechanism was created by the Board of Executive Directors on September 8, 2020. The Resolution sets forth the role and functions of the Accountability Mechanism, which comprises the Inspection Panel (created in 1993) and the Dispute Resolution Service. The Accountability Mechanism and the Dispute Resolution Service became operational in 2021.


In line with its mandate established at its founding, the Inspection Panel responds to complaints from people affected by World Bank (IBRD/IDA) projects. If such a Request for Inspection is found to be eligible, and the Panel recommends an investigation, and the Board approves, the Accountability Mechanism Secretary, within 30 business days after investigation approval, offers the Requesters and borrower the option of a voluntary and independent dispute resolution. If this offer is accepted, the Dispute Resolution Service will assist the Requesters and borrowers in coming to an agreement to find solutions to the issues raised in the Request.


If both Parties do not opt for dispute resolution or do not reach an agreement within the allotted time, the case transfers to the Inspection Panel. The Inspection Panel then carries out an investigation to determine whether the Bank is in compliance with its operational policies and procedures, and to make related findings of harm. Based on the Inspection Panel’s report, a management report will include a Management Action Plan to address any any findings of harm, potential for harm, and non-compliance.


Accountability Mechanism Brochure: English | Español | Français | Nepali | Vietnamese

Our Structure

The World Bank Accountability Mechanism (AM) is headed by AM Secretary who is appointed by the Board of Executive Directors for one five-year non-renewable term and reports directly to the Board. The Accountability Mechanism Secretary establishes and manages the AM’s work program, budget and staffing, and oversees all administrative matters regarding mechanism.

The AM Secretary also oversees the Dispute Resolution Service (DRS), which provides an independent and voluntary opportunity to complainants and borrowers to resolve disputes. The DRS maintains a pool of mediators who are qualified to deliver dispute resolution appropriate to the case. 

The Inspection Panel consists of three members who are appointed by and report directly to the Board for five-year non-renewable terms. Members are selected on the basis of their ability to deal thoroughly and fairly with the complaints brought to them, their integrity and independence from Bank management, and their exposure to developmental issues and living conditions in developing countries. 

For its fact-finding and investigations, the Panel also hires independent, internationally recognized experts to ensure objective and professional assessment of the issues under review.

The Accountability Mechanism is supported by a Secretariat. Staff working on compliance matters report to the AM Secretary on administrative matters but to Panel members on technical matters.

World Bank Accountability Mechanism Process

  • 1
    Receipt of Request and Decision on Registration
    • The Inspection Panel notifies the public that it has received a Request for Inspection through a Notice of Receipt.
    • Within 15 business days after receiving the Request, the Panel decides whether to issue a Notice of Registration or a Notice of Non-Registration. (A Notice of Non-Registration closes the case.)
  • 2
    Eligibility and Panel Recommendation
    • Bank Management responds within 21 business days after registration. 
    • Panel conducts a field visit if needed. 
    • Within 21 business days after receiving the Management Response,  the Panel recommends to the Board of Executive Directors whether to investigate. 
    • Board decision on Panel recommendation (usually within 10 business days). 
    • The case will close if the Board approves the Panel's recommendation not to investigate.
  • 3
    Referral to Dispute Resolution (DR)
    • If an investigation is approved, the World Bank Accountability Mechanism Secretary offers the option of dispute resolution facilitated by the Dispute Resolution Service to the Requesters and Borrower.
    • If the parties agree to DR, the Panel holds its investigation in abeyance. 
    • The maximum length of the DR process is one year (extendable by six months).
    • If the parties reach agreement through DR, the Panel does not investigate.
  • 4
    • If the parties do not choose DR or if DR is unsuccessful, the Panel commences its investigation. 
    • Panel conducts investigation visit. 
    • The Panel submits its Investigation Report to the Board of Executive Directors (aims to complete it within six months after posting its Investigation Plan).
  • 5
    • The Panel meets the Requesters in person to share the Panel's Investigation Report and its findings on confidential basis. 
    • Bank Management consults with the affected parties and prepares the Management Action Plan (MAP). 
    • Bank Management submits its Report and Recommendation, including the MAP, to the Board (within six weeks after the submission of the Investigation Report to the Board). 
    • Board meets to consider the Investigation Report and discuss and approve the MAP.


  • 6
    Verification of MAP Implementation
    • Based on risk-based proportionality criteria and modalities, the Panel, with input from Group Internal Audit (GIA), may recommend for Board approval verification of MAP implementation. 
    • With approval, the Panel verifies the implementation of Management actions that address Panel findings; GIA verifies Management actions addressing the Bank’s governance. 
    • The Panel submits a verification report to the Board.
    • Management submits its follow-up to the Board, indicating its views of the Panel’s findings.

Independent Oversight and Accountability Functions of the World Bank Group

World Bank Independent Oversight



CAO (Compliance Advisor Ombudsman) 

GIA (Group Internal Audit) 

IEG (Independent Evaluation Group)

INT (Integrity Vice Presidency) 

Zero Tolerance against Retaliation

The World Bank Accountability Mechanism does not tolerate threats/acts of retaliation against Requesters, or any other person or entity connected with a Request. We endorse the Inspection Panel Guidelines and other World Bank commitments as relevant, to reduce retaliation risks and respond to retaliation.