From September 25–26, the World Bank Accountability Mechanism’s Dispute Resolution Service hosted a two-day workshop for civil society organizations (CSOs) in Washington, DC. The workshop included 7 in-person participants while 13 joined online from Latin America, Africa and Asia.
This two-day engagement was a pilot in series of events and workshops designed to build stronger cooperation between the World Bank Accountability Mechanism and a wide range of CSOs, with the ultimate goal of informing project-affected communities of avenues in which to seek redress if they believe they have been, or are likely to be, harmed by a World Bank-funded project.
This particular workshop focused on facilitating an exchange of knowledge and experience related to tools and good practices of CSOs supporting local communities in the context of dispute resolution. Participants discussed case studies and participated in role-play simulations during which they shared past challenges, as well as suggestions, on how greater awareness can be created on the use of dispute resolution among project-affected communities. The workshop was facilitated by two mediation experts and practitioners, Wolf von Kumberg and Aparna Mukerjee, who shared their experience and led discussions on the fundamentals of mediation and, in particular, the potential roles of CSOs in dispute resolution processes.
One of the highlights of the workshop was the engaging roundtable discussion on good practices of independent accountability mechanisms and CSOs. The session featured speakers who offered a variety of perspectives on dispute resolution: Gastón Aín, Dispute Resolution Coordinator at the Inter-American Development Bank Group’s Compliance Review Office (MICI), Nokukhanya Ntuli, Principal Dispute Resolution Specialist at Office of the Compliance Advisor Ombudsman (CAO) Dispute Function, and Orsolya Szekely, Secretary of the World Bank Accountability Mechanism. Senior Dispute Resolution Officer Scott Adams of the World Bank Accountability Mechanism facilitated the session.
Nokukhanya Ntuli, Principal Dispute Resolution Specialist at CAO, discussed the benefits of CSO involvement in the dispute resolution process.
“CSOs play a crucial role in helping communities understand and engage in the process of dispute resolution. Findings of a review conducted by Concentric Alliance on CAO’s Dispute Resolution process, indicated that 77% of cases which were settled in CAO’s dispute resolution processes, were cases where complainants— whether community members, or workers—were supported by a civil society organization or a trade union. Conversely, cases where complainants had no CSO or trade union support were approximately three times more likely to be transferred to Compliance when no agreement, or only partial agreement, could be reached.”
Gastón Aín, Dispute Resolution Coordinator at MICI, emphasized the importance of confidentiality.
“Confidentiality is key in the dispute resolution process for the parties to build trust. Although it is challenging to make the work of dispute resolution known to people without disclosing case-related information, MICI makes maximum efforts to make the process and outcomes available to the public.”
Participants posed several questions on better ways for CSOs and International Accountability Mechanisms to i) create greater awareness of the different avenues to seek redress, ii) collaborate to better support project-affected communities and iii) prevent harm such as instances of threats and reprisals.
The World Bank Accountability Mechanism plans to hold additional workshops focused on dispute resolution and other topics. If you are interested in partnering on future workshops, please email us at email@example.com.
Learn more about the Dispute Resolution Service: here
Meet the Dispute Resolution Service team: here