5 February 2024

Charting the path of every single complaint

To understand how the system of independent accountability mechanisms is working for those who engage their services, we mapped out the path of every single complaint. Our analysis reveals huge barriers to entry, but also high likelihood of affirmation of the complaint if it reaches the compliance investigation or dispute resolution phase.

What is the most likely outcome for a complaint process?

What can communities and individuals harmed by Bank projects expect to happen when they approach an independent accountability mechanism (IAM)? As an organization that advises communities on how to use these mechanisms, we are interested in understanding the likely outcomes communities can expect from their engagement with these mechanisms. As part of a broader research effort at Accountability Counsel to understand outcomes from these IAM processes, we’ve mapped out the path that every single complaint has taken, from complaint filing down to whether agreements or compliance recommendations were fully implemented. The results are mixed.

In most cases, the most likely outcome for a complaint process is nothing. However, if the complaint reaches a substantive phase of the complaint process, i.e., compliance review or dispute resolution, then there is a very high likelihood that an investigation will lead to a finding of non-compliance or that a mediation will lead to a negotiated agreement.

Today we share an updated high level overview of the outcomes that can be expected from IAM processes. Our dataset contains 1,803 complaints across 18 IAMs dating from 1994 to 2023. Here, we focus on a subset of these complaints, those 1,644 complaints that exclude active complaints where we don’t yet know the outcome.

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