23 September 2019

Helping communities defend their rights

Why we invested: Accountability Counsel
We are excited to provide Accountability Counsel with a two-year, unrestricted grant of $500,000, Here’s why.

The news is littered with stories of massive infrastructure projects that displace communities, undermine the livelihoods of indigenous people, or lead to violent conflict. These projects are often bank-rolled by international financial institutions like development banks that are based thousands of miles away from the mines, dams, and energy plants that they finance. While many governments have judicial and administrative processes to handle complaints and compensation, those processes are often tainted by corruption or a lack of credibility. In a nutshell, affected communities often lack the knowledge or capacity to defend their own rights.

Accountability Counsel supports people harmed by these development projects with community-driven and policy-level strategies to ensure that financial flows do no harm, support local development, and do not undermine human rights. They have pioneered a route to accountability which empowers the affected communities to lodge complaints directly with international financial institutions’ accountability offices, avoiding expensive and often compromised litigation proceedings. This tactic also helps to fight corruption risks around governments’ decision-making regarding these projects, both in terms of personal enrichment (e.g. via preferential access for contractors) and power (e.g. gaining political wins at the expense of marginalised communities).

Read the full article here.