The Panel received a Complaint on September 8, 2015, relating to the Bank-financed Floods Emergency Recovery Project in Serbia. The Complaint raised concerns about the dewatering of a flooded coal mine and its alleged impacts to community members living nearby. The Complaint was submitted by the Center for Ecology and Sustainable Development (CEKOR), a Serbian NGO working on environment, energy and human rights and representing a family who lives in close proximity to the Tamnava West coal open pit mine in Radljevo village, Ub Municipality.
The Complaint describes “damage and harm” to people who have not been resettled and “remain under heavy negative environmental, health and property impacts.” The affected people live approximately 200 meters from the open pit mine and claim that they suffer from emissions, vibrations, noise, and a lack of drinking water. The Complaint claims that the World Bank, through the dewatering of the mine, is contributing to the suffering of the people by not properly addressing the issue of resettlement. The Complaint claims that OP 4.12 on involuntary resettlement should have been applied to the dewatering of the mine since resettlement and land acquisition are needed. The Complaint also alleges that Bank staff, despite an agreement to visit the area together with the NGO CEKOR, did not involve the NGO in its visit and later“delivered a misinformed opinion” as CEKOR was not given an opportunity to present its information.
In line with its Operating Procedures, the Panel sought to verify the admissibility criteria of the Complaint. The Panel not only carefully analyzed the evidence presented by the Complainants but also visited the Project area to gain a firm understanding of the geographic situation of the project and the nature of the alleged harms. Panel Member Jan Mattsson and Operations Analyst Birgit Kuba travelled to Serbia from October 11 to 13, 2015 to meet with the Complainants, CEKOR and Bank staff. Based on the evidence gathered and analyzed, the Panel decided not to register the Complaint as it confirmed that the alleged harms are not linked to a Bank-financed Project. For more information please see the Notice of Non-Registration.