2012 – 2013 OPIC OA Policy Review Campaign

The OPIC Office of Accountability Agrees to Engage in a Transparent Policy Review

In early 2012, the director of the OA decided to undertake his own, private review of the OA’s procedures without public notice and comment and without a transparent timeline or any public information about the scope of the review. While a review of the OA’s procedures was needed, the review should have been independent, transparent and public — this one was not:

  • The director of the OA denied repeated requests for public participation in the policy review process. Instead, he convened an invitation-only workshop and failed to invite any direct users of the mechanism. Materials provided for that workshop indicated that his review would limit access to the mechanism in the director’s sole discretion and make other substantive changes that contradict the board resolution that established the OA.
  • Congress envisioned an accountability mechanism that followed best practices in the field, including those of the World Bank Inspection Panel. In contrast to the planned OA review, the current Inspection Panel review focuses only on its internal operating procedures, avoiding changes that would undermine its founding documents. The panel has conducted targeted discussions with internal and external stakeholders and plans to make a draft of new procedures available for public comment for 45-60 days.
  • The OA’s Director was leaving congress and the public out of the review even though proposed changes contradict the congressional directive and OPIC board resolution.

On 6 April, 2012, we submitted a letter joined by 18 civil society partners around the world requesting that the OPIC President and Board require that the current OA review be part of a public and transparent process. We worked in coalition with other interested civil society organizations and members of U.S. Congress to bring problems with the OPIC’s OA to the attention of OPIC’s leadership to ensure that the required review results in legitimate changes to the OA’s procedures.

In July 2012, the OA announced that it would undertake a public procedural review process. It also agreed to make the administrative order laying out its current procedures publicly available for the first time.

In late December 2012, the OPIC OA announced the review process publicly. We commend the OPIC OA for its positive response to the coalition’s work. We look forward to participating in the OA’s public procedural review process, and we will continue to work with the OA and civil society to make sure that the process is fair, independent and transparent.

However, with no further updates on the OA’s review as of June 25, 2013 despite several requests for a timeline, we and 12 other civil society groups sent a letter to the OPIC OA requesting an update.

In early August 2013, the OPIC OA announced a public comment period, with comments due 18 October, 2013.