Inspecting the Inspectors

15 January 1998

In February the World Bank Board will again review the functioning of the Bank’s Inspection Panel, subject of two new NGO reports.

The Bank’s Board will discuss proposals by the Bank’s General Counsel (senior lawyer). He argues that Bank Management, on receiving a Panel claim, should be able to challenge the eligibility of the claimants and determine whether the harm allegedly caused by a Bank-backed project is due to actions or omissions by the Bank or by the borrower government. NGOs are asking the Board to move in the other direction: to increase the Panel’s discretion and the access of claimants to the Panel process.

The discussions about extending the inspection panel to the operations of IFC/MIGA have made little progress lately: the IFC is waiting until the above board discussion before making a proposal.

A “Citizen’s Guide” to the Inspection Panel has been launched by the Center for International Environmental Law. It clarifies how to file a claim, and outlines relevant Bank policies.

Another publication, commissioned by the Bank Information Center, reviews the Panel’s first three years and proposes improvements.

For more information about the Bank’s inspection panel and the board deliberations, contact Dana Clark .

The Guide is free to people in the South, US$10 for others, from the Center for International Environmental Law, 1367 Connecticut Ave., NW, Suite 300, Washington, D.C. 20036, USA. Fax: + 1 202 785 8701,

The World Bank Inspection Panel: a Three Year Review (120 pp), is free to people in the South, US$10 for others from: BIC Publications, 2025 I St NW, Suite 400, Washington DC 20006, USA, Fax: +1 (202) 466-8189;

The Inspection Panel can be contacted directly on