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Eimi Watanabe Farewell Note

​Dear friends,

As of Friday 31 October, I am stepping down as Chair of the Inspection Panel, after completing my five-year term. Gonzalo will be taking over to guide the Panel through the next round of challenges that no doubt lie ahead.

I would like to take the opportunity to thank the friends of the Panel for the very rewarding five years; I have learnt enormously from all of you, and I hope that I have been able to contribute towards a more effective and responsive Panel process.

My appreciation goes first and foremost to our many requesters who put their trust in the Panel by approaching us with their grievances. We are fully aware that this requires determination and courage, and often involves considerable risk to yourselves and your communities.

We hope that we have been able to contribute towards meaningful outcomes. We have attempted to do that through every step of the Panel process, even if the process enabled us only to highlight issues of harm that you were suffering.

I thank also the CSOs committed to supporting the requesters, and who have spent generously of their expertise and time to do so. I respect your commitment and passion.

I have also gained enormously from the interaction I have had with the larger CSO community over this period. I have learned a great deal from you. Even when you had critical comments about our performance, I have always taken it as an indication of your concern and wish to make the Inspection Panel a stronger, more effective mechanism.

I have had occasions to thank separately the entire Executive Board, who have demonstrated to us in our latest discussions that we are indeed their instrument, eyes and ears.

Our colleagues in Management have worked with us to ensure constructive outcomes for the communities and to promote institutional learning from the Panel process. We well understand that being the subject of a request for inspection is an intense, demanding, and often stressful process for staff and management.

I have also appreciated working with my colleagues in the Panel and Secretariat, past and present. We are a small and collegial group, and I have appreciated the give-and-take of our internal discussions which I believe contribute to the quality of our reports.

So thank you all for the privilege you have bestowed upon me to engage in a process which I have found so meaningful.

Eimi Watanabe, Inspection Panel Chair

October 28, 2014