Compliance Advisor Ombudsman (CAO) and dispute resolution process

11 April 2014

Meg Taylor, CAO

  • We have recently reviewed our operational guidelines and wanted to introduce more how dispute resolution works

Gina Barbieri, CAO

  • Overview of the CAO’s processes including assessment process; our work must be on social/environmental harm; and linked to impacted people
  • Three roles: dispute resolution, compliance, advisor
  • Overview of the dispute resolution process, we let communities decide if the settlement is fair
  • Principles on dispute resolution: voluntary, neutral, equitable treatment, confidentiality AND transparency

Scott Adams, CAO

  • Role of NGO in the process – can help with many things
  • Positive context for dispute resolution: issues negotiable, time, relationships, capacity, etc
  • Need to think about the legal framework and legal proceedings
  • Challenges: agreement is just the beginning, implementation issues

Case study – New Forest Company, Uganda

  • Agreement reached on resettlement etc; large plot of land now purchased for a community cooperative society
  • Organic development of relationship between the company and the community
  • Government officials asked about lessons learned, and realised that they need to do things differently

Meg Taylor, CAO

  • We can be frustrated by a lack of heart at the institutions
  • The cases we are getting now are very complex, and land competition is very tough to work with – there are not places for resettlement
  • What is the role of the institution? Can the IFC have a fund for restitution? What about a fund for community development?


Q: issues of sequencing, why not start compliance sooner?

Q: anything done on an ICSID case?

Meg Taylor – we want to get results for the community so don’t want to do compliance at the beginning, learning lessons for IFC is secondary to community outcomes

Scott – nothing on ICSID yet

Q: the major problem is corruption; also are you using the evaluation department? Who nominates a panel for compliance?

Q: average timeframes of resolution?

Gina – usually at least 6 months, average 2 years

Q: mechanisms for funding community development?

Meg – we haven’t fully thought this through yet.

Gina – IFC has talked about getting clients to pay up front for this, but there are not mechanisms yet and IFC has expressed willingness