Highlights of recent publications from independent accountability mechanisms, development finance banks, and institutions and civil society organizations working in the field of accountability
Reporting Accountability Jan 2024
Welcome to this issue’s selection of accountability reporting from around the world, posted to your inbox so you have a direct line to the latest perspectives on how development can reach communities in an accountable, transparent, and sustainable manner. There’s a lot going on: from essays on international financial institution accountability to a briefing note on promoting LGBTI inclusion in development, as well as reports on livelihoods, transition minerals, renewable energy, human rights, and dispute resolution. We’re also pleased to see that the update of the Good Policy Paper has just been published. But the bright spot in your day may well be the selection of podcasts curated by our team.
The Perspectives Project, hosted by Washington College of Law at American University, is a freely accessible online collection of essays on the promise, reality, and future of independent accountability mechanisms. The essays mark 30 years of accountability mechanisms at international financial institutions, and highlight their potential and the challenges they face in providing communities affected by development projects with effective remedies or in driving systemic change at their parent institutions.
The collection, which continues to be updated, features contributions from a diverse range of authors. Subjects covered include analyses of the Inspection Panel and the role of accountability mechanisms in countering reprisals and achieving remedy, including through dispute resolution.
Climate change has driven an extraordinary growth in renewable energy, which in turn has led to intensified mining of the transition minerals needed to support this expansion. This report from Recourse and Trend Asia explores the reality of the mining and supply chains of transition minerals and warns that the current approach will exacerbate social and environmental crises for countries in the Global South. It risks fueling “green extractivism” that does not benefit mineral-rich communities and countries and represents the very opposite of a just transition away from fossil fuels.
The report asks specifically how IFIs can ensure that human rights and environmental justice can be placed at the heart of the transition mineral supply chain, and learn lessons from their past experience of mining and processing operations. It highlights case studies with significant mining impacts from Indonesia, Guinea, Argentina, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, including Indigenous and human rights abuses, deforestation, and pollution. Suggested solutions to the dilemmas posed by transition minerals include minimizing demand, ensuring due diligence, respecting mineral sovereignty, and putting communities at the center of development.
The drive to net zero depends on massive clean energy investment, and solar and wind capacity is estimated to account for 85% of this increase. While this represents a huge opportunity, the required speed and scope of the transition risks real harm, including to the environment, livelihoods, land, indigenous peoples, and labour rights. The 2023 Renewable Energy & Human Rights Benchmark, produced by the Business & Human Rights Resource Centre, highlights the action needed to reverse this trend, including smart business regulation and incentives for responsible corporate behavior, and the active participation of workers and communities. Specifically, it surveys a critical element of the just transition—the human rights policies and practices of companies in the renewable energy value chain, from equipment manufacturers to developers—by assessing the 28 most powerful players in the sector across the world.
The latest advisory report from the World Bank’s Inspection Panel discusses some of the issues, challenges, and complexities based on recent cases associated with livelihood restoration resulting from the taking of land or restrictions of access to legally designated parks and protected areas, and livelihood restoration measures to address losses not directly related to involuntary resettlement.
The report draws on Requests for Inspection received by the Panel, particularly since 2017, and contains a description of the Bank’s policy requirements, along with data from Panel cases concerning livelihood impact and livelihood restoration; an examination of the challenges the Panel has observed relating to identifying impact on livelihoods and affected households, and planning livelihood improvement or restoration measures in the context of resettlement; an analysis of the preparation of livelihood restoration plans and what this entails in terms of designing targeted approaches and providing transitional support to new, sustainable sources of income; a discussion of the importance of measuring the effectiveness of livelihood restoration; and insights and conclusions from recent cases.
This note is part of a thematic series on gender policy that will help update the World Bank Gender Strategy (FY 2024–2030). It provides a global overview of the situation of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and intersex (LGBTI) people, and argues that addressing discrimination against these minorities is not only the right thing to do, it also makes good economic sense.
The note outlines the approaches to sexual orientation and gender identity (SOGI) inclusion at the World Bank Group. It highlights approaches to SOGI inclusion, including in data and knowledge generation; operations and investments; and the World Bank’s Environmental and Social Framework and the International Finance Corporation’s Performance Standards and Economic Inclusion Program. Good practices are illustrated through examples from Argentina, Chile, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Vietnam, and West Africa, covering both public and private sectors. SOGI inclusion is especially relevant to the updated World Bank Gender Strategy’s strategic objectives, namely ending gender-based violence and elevating human capital, expanding and enabling economic opportunities, and engaging women as leaders.
A key component of success for independent accountability mechanisms is their accessibility to communities that believe they are being harmed or risk harm by projects funded by their parent institutions. A report from Recourse, Accountability Counsel, and Inclusive Development International considers in this context the Project-affected People’s Mechanism (PPM) of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB). It focuses on what it terms an “accessibility crisis” at the PPM, concluding that the exclusion of co-financed cases from its mandate, an alleged shortfall in disclosure in financial intermediary investments, and eligibility policies have made it very difficult for project-affected communities to have their complaints accepted by the PPM.
In order to ensure that the AIIB addresses this “accessibility crisis” in light of the upcoming review of the PPM, the report recommends that all AIIB projects be made eligible for the PPM, that accountability gaps are closed, that disclosure and risk management around financial intermediary lending are improved, and that policies are aligned with those of peer international financial institutions.
A consortium of civil society organizations has released an update to a survey of best practices from independent accountability mechanisms. The Good Policy Paper, first produced in 2021, examines the rules of procedure to handle complaints of 25 such mechanisms, identifying 69 current provisions to guide the development of new mechanisms and the revision of existing policies.
As in the previous edition, the report highlights policies defining institutional mandates; functions and roles; structure and powers; information disclosure and outreach; the complaint process; compliance review; dispute resolution; and advisory. It then provides recommendations for both independent accountability mechanisms and international financial institutions. The updated edition includes policies from FinDev Canada and the International Climate Initiative (Germany), along with recommendations on improving disclosure of dispute resolution outcomes and permitting financial institutions to participate in the dispute resolution process.
A note from the Independent Consultation and Investigation Mechanism (MICI) of the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) addresses the issue of access to remedy from the perspective of the contributions that alternative conflict resolution can make. In particular, it analyzes to which extent the cases handled between 2017 and 2022 in MICI’s Consultation Phase have contributed to providing redress, both procedural and substantive, to communities that felt impacted by development projects financed by the IDB Group. The note examines four requests in which agreements have been implemented, from Ecuador, Costa Rica, Argentina, and Colombia.
The note describes key elements in relation to the procedural as well as substantive dimensions of redress, and identifies five elements that improve the chances of generating processes that deliver effective solutions. These include tangible and comprehensive solutions; enhancing the value of an impartial third party; flexibility and haste in case management; a human approach to conflict; and reducing asymmetries between stakeholders in a complaint. The note concludes by highlighting the need to manage expectations and align incentives to resolve disputes.
The Parliamentary Network on the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund provides a platform for parliamentarians from over 140 countries to advocate for increased accountability and transparency in development financing. It is chaired by British MP Liam Byrne, who also hosts an excellent podcast featuring discussions with development experts and parliamentarians from around the world. In the second episode of the Parliamentary Podcast Series: Partnering for Global Impact, Accountability Mechanism Secretary Orsolya Székely spoke about the (still relatively new) institution that she leads, and how catching concerns before they snowball into problems is key to ensuring accountability for communities while moving development forward.
Two podcasts, featuring the outgoing and incoming Chairs of the Accountability Mechanism’s Inspection Panel, explore the past, present, and future of accountability in World Bank-funded projects. Ramanie Kunanayagam, who remains a member of the Inspection Panel following the completion of her tenure as Chair in December 2023, speaks with Dan Banik on the podcast In Pursuit of Development. In this episode, Kunanayagam delves into the details of how the Panel operates, shedding light on processes from case initiation to implementation of recommendations. Mark Goldsmith, the new Panel Chair, converses with Gaurav Bindra and Belle Li on an episode of a podcast produced by the International Relations Students Association at the University of British Columbia, Canada. Among other topics, Mark talks about how the Panel anticipates that the complaints it receives may increasingly be linked to climate change and Just transition.
Development-themed podcasts cover accountability every once in a while, but the Accountabili-TEA podcast is just that—a series of chats on all things accountability, from climate justice to hacking corruption, from youth engagement to music activism. It’s run by Accountability Lab, “a global translocal network that makes governance work for people by supporting active citizens, responsible leaders and accountable institutions.” Hosted by Kibo Ngowi, each Global episode features several speakers, drawn from Accountability Lab’s 11 Network Labs and 3 Program Partners in Africa, Asia, and North America, so there’s rarely a dull moment. For those particularly interested in issues of citizenship and equity in Nepal and Zimbabwe, the podcast is running a series of more focused episodes. In short, for accountability practitioners, this is a goldmine. Get digging!
We keep our eyes and ears open for news in the field of accountability, but we need your help to make sure we don’t miss anything important. Please write to us about any forthcoming publications at email@example.com.