March 15, 2024

Parties in Vietnam Coastal Cities Project Agree to Pursue Dispute Resolution

On March 12, 2024, Orsolya Székely, the Accountability Mechanism Secretary, informed the World Bank Executive Directors that parties involved in the Vietnam Coastal Cities Sustainable Environmental Project had voluntarily agreed to engage in a dispute resolution process to try to find a mutually acceptable solution to the issues raised in their complaint.

The complaint was filed by thirty one individuals from a community in Nha Trang, Vietnam, alleging that the World Bank-financed project had not adhered to several World Bank policies and procedures. The complainants raised five interrelated allegations concerning the resettlement process: i) restrictions placed since 2016 on the properties of affected households in the Ngoc Hiep Resettlement Site had rendered owners unable to apply for new land certificates, or build, repair, or rent their structures; ii) consultations were undertaken and resettlement policies were applied inconsistently resulting in unfair treatment of some affected households; iii) the valuation methodology used for Project-related resettlement was inadequate and resulted in unfairly low compensation packages, iv) there was intimidation during the resettlement process, and v) there was the alleged exclusion of households from the resettlement process for having complained about aspects of the Project.

The World Bank Board of Executive Directors on February 5, 2024, approved an Inspection Panel recommendation to investigate the project. In accordance with the Accountability Mechanism process, the Inspection Panel eligibility recommendation (“Report and Recommendation”) identified eligible issues for both compliance and dispute resolution options. As per the Resolutions, the AM Secretary offered the complainants and the Borrower the option of dispute resolution and was to report their decision to the board within 30 business days after the Board had authorized the compliance investigation. During a mission from 1-5 March, 2024, the AM Secretary met with parties and primary stakeholders, providing detailed information on the AM process and dispute resolution option, after which parties shared their interest in pursuing dispute resolution in writing.

Given that both parties have agreed to engage in dispute resolution, as per paragraph 32 of the Inspection Panel Resolution, the Panel will hold its investigation in abeyance until the process is concluded. If, at the end of the dispute resolution process, the parties reach an agreement on all eligible issues, the Panel will issue a memorandum closing the case and take no further action. However, if the parties do not reach an agreement, the Panel will commence its investigation.

The maximum length of the dispute resolution process is one year from when the Accountability Mechanism Secretary reports on the parties’ willingness to pursue dispute resolution. If both parties agree, the process may be extended for up to an additional six months.


Case No. 23/03 DRS

NOTICE – AGREEMENT TO PURSUE DISPUTE RESOLUTION Viet Nam: Coastal Cities Sustainable Environment Project (P156143)


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