Inspection Panel Comments on Recent Press Coverage Regarding World Bank's Resettlement Practices
April 23, 2015
Inspection Panel Comments on Recent Press Coverage Regarding World Bank’s Resettlement Practices
The Inspection Panel acknowledges the important set of issues raised by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalist (ICIJ) on the World Bank’s resettlement practices. The Panel notes, however, that thesearticles provide incomplete information about the investigative work of the Panel and contain inaccuracies regarding recent cases.
The Panel was established by the World Bank’s Board of Executive Directors in 1993 as an independent accountability and redress mechanism to investigate allegations of harm caused by actions or omissions by the World Bank as a result of non-compliance with its operational policies and procedures. The Panel adheres to the highest ethical standards when conducting its work and investigations, and is tightly regulated by adherence to clear policies and procedures that ensure transparency, independence, and impartiality. Over the last 22 years, its role and independence have never been questioned, and today the Inspection Panel is considered among the leading accountability mechanisms in the world and among its peers.
In the case of the evictions in Badia East in Nigeria, the press coverage states that a former Panel Chair attempted to pressure staff not to investigate the case. As already explained to journalists at the ICIJ, the Panel denies this allegation and stresses that all decisions were made carefully and in consensus by all three Panel members, with support from professional staff in the Panel’s Secretariat. The Panel also informed the World Bank’s Board of Directors of the areas in which the resettlement implementation fell short of the WB’s Involuntary Resettlement Policy. In the Panel’s view, the Badia Pilot approach proved to be both timely and effective in redressing the grievances of affected people and resulted in prompt compensation payment to over 9,000 evictees in a difficult socio-economic context.
In the case of the Ethiopia PBS-3 Project, the Panel carefully considered all information gathered in meetings and interviews in South Sudan, Kenya, and the Gambella region of Ethiopia in 2013 and 2014. The Panel duly documented the highly complex environment and difficult living situation of the Anuak people in Gambella, but did not investigate allegations of human right abuses by the government as this does not fall within its institutional mandate. The Investigation Report followed the highest professional standards and only included information that the Panel was able to gather and authenticate during the investigative research, in which it was assisted by expert consultants and staff during their field visits. In this context, the statements made by consultants to the ICIJ do not reflect the opinions of the Panel and depart from our findings.
For a complete set of documents on the case related to the Nigeria Lagos Metropolitan Development and Governance Project, please go to this link: http://www.inspectionpanel.org/panel-cases/second-education-quality-and-relevance-project-education-improvement-project.
For a complete set of documents on the case related to the Ethiopia PBS-3 project, please go to this link: http://www.inspectionpanel.org/panel-cases/mine-closure-environment-and-socio-economic-regeneration-project-not-registered