IFI governance


World Bank Inspection Panel at 19: Some Lessons for Safeguard Policy

13 October 2012 | Minutes

Sponsor: Japan Center for a Sustainable Environment and Society (JACSES) & Bank Information Center

This panel discussion centered on the possible policy lessons for the Safeguard Review of learning from the emblematic or most frequently registered cases of non-compliance with Bank safeguard policies, particularly project supervision, environmental assessment, and involuntary resettlement.

Panelists: Alf Jerve, Chairperson, World Bank Inspection Panel, Matsuo Ichikawa, Professor, Center for African Area Studies, Kyoto

Facilitator: Mark Rentschler, Bank Information Center (BIC)


Alf Jerve, Inspection Panel

  • Lessons on safeguards policies as an accountability framework & lessons on application of framework
  • As an accountability framework – policies are a foundation for articulating rights (right to know, right to participate, right to redress and remedy, right to restoration of livelihood, right to share in benefits) and for avoiding (or at least mitigating) negative environmental impacts
  • Lessons for the review on framework:
    • Principles and standards are important for accountability
    • Complaints come from project implementation – they see the consequences
    • A Need for outcome-oriented principles – the review process must discuss these issues
  • Application of policies: determining the area of influence of the investment; what is meaningful consultation; land management may have a policy gap; problems with supervision when risks materialise
  • Area of influence – short, medium and long-term; associated facilities; indirect social and cultural effects; commulative impacts
  • Land management – involuntary resettlement does not apply unless there is direct taking of land, but there are guidelines for risk assessment; collective titles for indigenous groups is problematic
  • On consultation – inclusion, exclusion of traditional leaders, inadequate sharing of info especially on language, outcome of consultations poorly documented and not reported back
  • On supervision – lack of follow-up, inattention to warning signs, lack of resources for supervision, too few social specialists in supervision teams, lack of field presence
  • Lessons on application:
    • Procedures/guidelines need to spell out “how to”
    • But also need flexibility, and not focus too much on procedural details
    • Need principles/standards of “good management”

Mitsuo Ichikawa, Kyoto University

  • Experience of an inspection panel investigation in DRC forestry project, filed by a pygmy group – was a project to clean up system of forestry concessions, help with a moratorium, do capacity building, scrutinise concessions not yet annulled
  • The request to IP – commercial logging would damage indigenous people (pygmies), not reduce poverty, Forestry Code was not consulted on, violated safeguards on environment, IP, and poverty
  • Question about the project because it did not do any direct investment in forest projects/concessions themselves
  • The investigation was not sufficiently long (long distances for travel – and too little time with people) – still the investigation concluded many violations in the writing of the forestry code
  • Problems with overlapping customary rights (farmers and pygmies) and consultation only with farmers but not with pygmies; also failure to consider value of alternative use of the forests including environmental services
  • 20 months to submit the IP report, action plan only set more than 2 years after the request – during this time illegal logging continued, new logging rights distributed
  • Some potential improvements: more time for investigation and interviews with affected people, included taped interviews, more use of local languages


Peter, Bretton Woods Project – why are interview times are so short?

Masako Unikawa, Human Rights Watch Japan – which groups are not included in consultations? And why is this the case? Who helped the pygmies make the complaint?

Ichikawa – short interviews because budget but also infrastructure problems – lack of transport facilities; NGOs were supporting the request including UK based Rainforest Foundation, but some few pygmies working well internationally

Jerve – other experts also complained of short time in fact finding mission, the questions is how much needs to be done on harm identification and how much on compliance determination; on consultation ie PNG case – unable to cover full ethnic complexity of the area, and problem of who to engage (modern leaders or traditional authority)

Audience member – In Indian case there was a 3 month field investigation, what type of budget is given to this? Current staffing of the panel is it enough given 80 cases?

Rick Jacobsen, Global Witness – we spent 6 weeks in 65 villages in 22 logging concessions, process of consultations with communities being rushed through – just presentations, no participation in communities in doing environmental assessment; national indigenous peoples development plan has little buy-in; the WB has a new forest process now as well; What sort of follow-up on the action plan?

Ichikawa – I also asked for follow-up studies

Jerve – IP has no mandate to make its own independent follow-up, this is a weakness in our system; In India Narmada report you are referring to was before the IP was formed, this is more than we spend today; budget is generally sufficient, but we need to review field methodology – costs vary from case to case

Jessica Evans, HRW – gap in the policies around discrimination – ie non-indigenous ethnic minorities, or discrimination on political opinion; and what do you think of the view that safeguards are a hurdle, not a help to poverty alleviation?

Duncan Pruett, Oxfam – also concerned about the land management issues, do you have more detailed recommendations? Is there any progress on pre-project land risk assessment or best practice on WB projects? TA is also a concern, how to deal with this?

Jerve – indigenous peoples policy has a definition (not mirroring UN definition) that may capture some ethnic minorities; but the current language is not the most appropriate way to deal with social exclusion; there are now guidelines for staff on pre-project risk assessment; nothing to prevent the Panel from looking into TA, but what policies govern these things is the question; Risk assessment is a question

Stephen Lintner, World Bank – on ethnic minorities the Bank recognises this as an issue; indigenous people are not the same as being a “vulnerable party”; social development department is working on promoting inclusion – ie LGBT community in India; indigenous people are sensitive about inclusion of “vulnerable people” in the same policy framework

Mark – policy gaps – note that proposed IL Reform is deleting the requirement for the right skills mix and deleted reference to requirements for site visits under supervision

Vince McElhinny, BIC – given WB shift to outcome focus and problem solving during implementation; if you were to do the project again with this in mind, how would it be done differently? Do we know yet whether there was a poverty benefit? And if we don’t know – why?

Hana Heineken, Global Witness – what does it mean when we shift things from policy into guidance? Why is it the case that DPL impacts rarely come to the Panel – is it because the policies are too vague?

Jerve – as an issue more broadly – it is a profound challenge for the Bank to set out procedures for reporting results, and how these are verified; similarly on P4R – since it disperses on results how do you verify, is it transparent? Does it involve a third party? In the context of objectives not being achieved, not clear that this is a “harm” that can go to the IP; on new operations with indirect loans – very difficult for local people to know about Inspection Panel or even WB involvement – principled question of accountability when IFI is contributing only a portion of the finance – I have no simple answer, it needs honest discussion

Rentschler – CSOs are urging the application of safeguards to DPL and P4R not just IL; if safeguards had applied to Congo DPL would this have affected anything?

Ichikawa – in DRC TSERO was a DPL and management said safeguards do not apply; in my opinion safeguards are needed on DPLs

Serge Salwan, IP – one angle – the question is whether DPL is the proper instrument in some of these cases