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​Latin American Regional CSO Outreach Workshop

The Inspection Panel joined other Independent Accountability Mechanisms (IAMs) and leading Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) to organize a regional outreach workshop in Lima, Peru on October 5, 2015. The “IAMs – CSOs Accountability Workshop” brought together some 100 civil society representatives, indigenous leaders, and accountability experts from over 15 Latin American countries to discuss compliance review and community redress policies and practices within the region. The IAMs were established over the past 20 years to address complaints from project-affected people regarding the environmental and social impacts of development projects supported by multilateral institutions. CSOs are often involved in supporting affected communities to register complaints and seek redress, and thus the IAMs frequently carry out outreach efforts in collaboration with CSOs to raise awareness of their services among affected communities.

The workshop was co-hosted with three other (IAMs) of IFC and MIGA (Compliance Advisor Ombudsman / CAO), Inter-American Development Bank / IDB (Independent Consultation and Investigation Mechanism /MICI), and the European Investment Bank/EIB (Complaints Mechanism). It was also organized in collaboration with five CSOs: Derecho, Ambiente y Recursos Naturales / DAR (Peru), Asociación Ambiente y Sociedad /AAS (Colombia), Centro de Analisis e Investigacion /FUNDAR (Mexico), and Fundacion para el Desarrollo de Politicas Sustentables /FUNDEPS (Argentina), Bank Information Center /BIC / (United States).

The three main objectives of the event were: i) enable the IAMs to broaden their contact with CSOs in Peru and the region; ii) allow CSOs to become better acquainted with the IAMs; and iii) provide the IAMs and CSOS with an opportunity to exchange views on past engagements and future accountability trends in the region. Participants from the Panel included Gonzalo Castro De La Mata (Chairperson), Dilek Barlas (Executive Secretary), John Garrison (Senior Civil Society Specialist), and Oriana Bolvaran (Senior Executive Assistant). The day concluded with a reception headlined by Peruvian Environment Minister, Manuel Pulgar-Vidal.

The day-long workshop consisted of panel discussions on: IAMs roles, policies, and practices (seePanel presentation); CSO experiences in engaging the IAMs; and innovative experiences and future trends in accountability in Latin America. There were also ‘mini-clinics’ on each of the IAMs using a small group discussion format. Issues which were discussed during the day included: how to encourage sub-regional and national development Banks such as CAF and BNDES to adopt clearer accountability policies; how to ensure that the Bank’s adopt the redress recommendations of their own IAMs; and how can IAMs and CSOs work together to increase outreach to affected communities in the region.