13 December 2019

The case for public reforms to the World Bank’s Inspection Panel

More than 25 years have passed since the World Bank Group’s board of directors created the first independent accountability mechanism, the Inspection Panel, to allow communities harmed by bank-funded public sector projects to be heard and seek redress. Now a committee of the bank’s board is moving to make significant changes to the panel’s mandate and structure and without any public input.

Without input from the very people the panel was designed to serve — communities impacted by the bank — the board risks making decisions in the dark that could lead to a weakened mechanism because it lacks the knowledge and insight gained by people who stand to both gain and lose the most from the reforms.

The panel was certainly an important innovation to refocus development finance on the global communities that the World Bank ostensibly serves, and since its creation, many other international financial institutions have followed suit by establishing independent accountability mechanisms. However, IAMs at other institutions have evolved since the panel was created and the panel needs to modernize to improve its effectiveness in addressing the concerns of communities.

Read the full opinion piece on Devex.