World Bank Board Approves Panel Recommendation to Not Investigate Kenya Water Project Complaint
The World Bank Board of Directors on April 13, 2017, approved the Inspection Panel’s recommendation to not investigate a complaint about the Kenya Water and Sanitation Service Improvement Project and its additional financing. The Panel had received the complaint late last year from 47 residents of Murang’a County who claimed they could suffer harm as a result of the Bank’s failures to apply its policies during the planning and implementation of the project. The complainants, who requested confidentiality, alleged that water diverted from rivers as part of the project would have an irreversible environmental impact and cause water shortages, leading to food insecurity and domestic water scarcity. They also expressed concern about a lack of disclosure about the environmental and social impacts of the project, and questioned the impartiality of a panel of experts set up to study the project and recommend improvements. The Inspection Panel registered the case on January 12, 2017.
As part of its due diligence, an Inspection Panel team visited Kenya from February 23-28, 2017, and met with the complainants, Bank staff, government and project officials, and members of the panel of experts. Based on information gathered during that visit and documentary evidence, the Panel, in its eligibility report to the Board, recommended not to investigate this case. In making that recommendation, the Panel took into account the existing mitigation measures of the project and adjustments to its design, commitments made in a January 2016 agreement between the Murang’a County Government and the Athi Water Services Board (the project implementation unit) and the resulting additional mitigation measures, the continuing work of the panel of experts, and the relevant provisions of Kenya’s Water Allocation Law. The Panel notes that its recommendation does not preclude the possibility of a future complaint based on new evidence or circumstances not now known. Read more oncase page.