Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) | Independent Consultation and Investigation Mechanism (MICI)
The Inter-American Development Bank Group (IDB Group) is a regional development bank providing loans, grants, technical assistance, and guarantees to fund public (through the IDB) and private sector projects in its 26 borrowing countries in Latin America and the Caribbean. In January 2016, the IDB Group consolidated its private sector operations in the Inter-American Investment Corporation (IIC), which is also known as IDB Invest.
Inter-American Development Bank (IDB)
Created In: 1959
Headquarters: Washington, D.C., United States
Member Countries: 48
Largest Shareholders: United States
Mission: Through financial and technical support for countries working to reduce poverty and inequality, help improve health and education, and advance infrastructure.
The Accountability Office: Independent Consultation and Investigation Mechanism (MICI)
Established in: 2010
Functions: Consultation (Dispute Resolution), Compliance Review
Projects funded by the IDB must follow the IDB’s general operational policies, sector policies, and procurement of goods and services policy, among others. The IDB also has an Access to Information Policy, which governs public access to information related to the IDB’s operations and IDB-funded projects.
The IDB Invest Environmental and Social Sustainability policy establishes the environmental and social commitment and requirements for IDB Invest operations. The policy is underpinned by the IFC Performance Standards. Additionally, the IDB Invest must abide by its Disclosure of Information policy.
The Accountability Office
The Independent Consultation and Investigation Mechanism (MICI in Spanish) is designed to address grievances from people who are or who might be negatively affected by IDB-financed operations. The accountability office is available for IDB and IDB Invest projects as well as projects financed under IDB Lab.
MICI offers two functions:
The Consultation Phase: in this phase, the parties are provided an opportunity to address issues related to harm caused by failures of an IDB-financed project in a flexible and consensual way.
The Compliance Review Phase: in this phase, a panel of experts investigates IDB’s compliance with its own policies. If the panel finds instances of noncompliance the IDB board of directors will decide how to respond, which may involve altering the project.
Submit a complaint to MICI if:
- You are two or more people, a group, organization, or their representative;
- You live in the country receiving IDB project support (unless the person submitting is a representative);
- You are or anticipate being affected by the IDB project;
- You have attempted to resolve your concerns about the project with IDB management; and
- It has been less than 24 months since the last disbursement to the project.
You can request both a consultation and a compliance review, but the consultation phase is conducted first. During the consultation phase, MICI will determine eligibility of the complaint and then proceed to consult with the parties. The consultation phase concludes with the filing of a report distributed to the stakeholders, board, and the public, and may include monitoring of any potential agreement reached.
If the consultation phase has been terminated without a solution (and the complainants initially requested both functions) or if the complainants only requested compliance review, MICI will determine eligibility for compliance review. If eligible, the panel will investigate whether the bank violated its own operational policies. A compliance report is issued, and the report is given to the parties and made public. The board will decide on any necessary action to address non-compliance, and upon request from the board, the Panel will monitor any implementation actions.
Accountability Counsel has advocated for the Inter-American Development Bank Group’s Independent Consultation and Investigation Mechanism (MICI in Spanish) to be an accessible and robust accountability office for communities in Latin America and the Caribbean to seek redress for harm caused by IDB projects. We have actively engaged in reviews of the office’s policies and other activities to ensure that the office and the larger IDB Group accountability framework are effective.
Advocating for Fairness and Impartiality in Consultation Phase Processes
MICI’s consultation phase facilitates a voluntary dispute resolution process for parties, including complainants, the IDB, and the client, to address community grievances about a project and reach a mutually agreeable solution. In March 2018, Accountability Counsel submitted comments on draft consultation phase guidelines, which were developed by MICI to standardize its approach to the consultation phase according to its policy requirements, and ensure ethical, transparent, and effective case management. Drawing from our extensive experience in dispute resolution processes around the world, we also provided input during an in-person civil society dialogue meeting on the draft guidelines with MICI. MICI released the final version of the guidelines in April 2018, and the document incorporated much of our input. For example, the guidelines now reflect that during a consultation phase process, parties should receive impartial and fair treatment as opposed to equal treatment. With the context of asymmetrical power relations between the parties, as is often the case for such processes, equal treatment may not guarantee a fair process.
Promoting the Independence of the External Consultative Group
In response to the recommendations in the publication, Glass Half Full? The State of Accountability in Development Finance, which we co-authored with 10 of our partners, MICI committed to creating an external consultative group (Grupo Consultivo Externo in Spanish or GCE) in 2016 to better reflect an understanding of the people impacted by the IDB in MICI in decision-making. In August 2016, we provided input on the GCE’s operating procedures. We successfully advocated for the removal of IDB staff as potential GCE members, contributing to the effectiveness and independence of the GCE and MICI. The list of the current GCE members can be found on MICI’s website.
Ensuring Robust Access to Information and Private-Sector Safeguards
Communities can only effectively engage in protecting their human and environmental rights when they have robust access to information on development activities that could affect them. We have worked to translate our community case experience in Colombia, where provisions of the IDB’s access to information policy limited the communities’ ability to fully understand MICI’s findings and what took place during the course of the project, into policy change during the access to information policy review process for IDB Invest, the private-sector arm of the IDB Group. Working with several partners, including International Accountability Project and FUNDEPS, we have contributed recommendations based on our case experience to two submissions of recommendations, one in 2017 on the current policy, and one in 2018 on the proposed draft. In addition, we participated in an in-person consultation on the draft policy in Washington, D.C. in September 2018. The draft policy reflects some of our recommendations, and we are urging the bank to narrow and more clearly delineate which information the bank can keep confidential. The board of directors approved the final policy in June 2019, and the policy is expected to go into effect in 2020.
Accountability Counsel also joined civil society partners in calling for stronger environmental and social safeguards for IDB Invest financing. In an October 2019 joint submission, we joined civil society organizations form around Latin America to call for robust safeguards in financial intermediary lending, a strong commitment to Free, Prior and Informed Consent, and additional standards for stakeholder engagement and gender equality, among other recommendations. The submission also called for IDB Invest to improve its environmental and social performance by continuously incorporating lessons learned from MICI’s caseload and work. The board of directors is expected to consider the final draft of the policy at the end of 2019.
We will continue to work with partners to ensure strong safeguards in private-sector financing and that communities have the information they need to raise their voices concerning IDB Invest projects.
- Past Advocacy
Additional IDB Policies: Available here.
Additional IDB Invest Policies: Available here.
Documents by Release Date
Mar 2019 – IDB Board of Directors approved the final Access to Information Policy of IDB Invest.
Apr 2018 – MICI released the final version of the Consultation Phase Guidelines, which incorporated much of Accountability Counsel’s input. This includes, but is not limited to, changes reflecting that during a consultation phase process, parties should receive impartial and fair treatment, as opposed to equal treatment.
Mar 2018 – Accountability Counsel and partners submitted comments on the draft Consultation Phase Guidelines developed by MICI to standardize its approach to the consultation phase according to its policy requirements, and ensure ethical, transparent, and effective case management.
Sep 2017 – Accountability Counsel and partners submitted joint recommendations on the Disclosure of Information Policy of IDB Invest, the private arm of the Inter-American Development Bank.
Dec 2014 – IDB released an updated MICI Policy. This new policy replaced the original MICI policy that had taken effect in February 2010.
Sep 2014 – Accountability Counsel and partners submitted joint comments on the IDB’s draft Revised Independent Consultation and Investigation Mechanism Policy (MICI Policy).
Jul 2014 – IDB President’s office responded to our letter, assuring that the President and Board shared our commitment to making MICI an effective mechanism for both the institution and affected communities.
Sep 2013 – Accountability Counsel and partners submitted joint comments on the IDB’s Independent Consultation and Investigation Mechanism Policy.
Dec 2012 – IDB’s Office of Evaluation and Oversight (OVE) released an Evaluation of the Independent Consultation and Investigation Mechanism.
Sep 2011 – Accountability Counsel sent a letter to the IDB President and Board of Directors, calling for action to address issues with MICI’s functioning and policies.
Aug 2011 – Accountability Counsel submitted a briefing paper, highlighting problems with implementation of the MICI policy, and requesting action to address the concerns.
Feb 2010 – IDB released its revised MICI policy, after adopting some recommendations from Accountability Counsel and other organizations.
Jun 2009 – Accountability Counsel submitted comments on the IDB’s proposed Independent Consultation and Investigation Mechanism draft policy.
Apr 2009 – IDB released a proposed independent consultation and investigation mechanism policy and invited comments on its draft policy.