Hamid Sharif

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The creation of the Inspection Panel at the World Bank has led to the emergence of a norm that international financial institutions (IFIs) must hold themselves accountable to project-affected people through independent accountability mechanisms (IAMs). AIIB as a 21st century bank reflects this normalization of IAMs. As a new MDB, AIIB’s charter mandates creation of an oversight body that includes the independent accountability mechanism or the Project-affected People’s mechanism (PPM). The PPM is aligned with many features of IFI’s IAMs while incorporating some innovations.

The central question asked by civil society and board members across IFIs is why there are so few complaints to IAMs? Woefully inadequate disclosure of information to project-affected people about the grievance redress mechanisms created under projects and the IFIs own IAMs goes a long way to explain why there may be so few complaints. IFI boards must pay much greater attention to such disclosure of information by requiring management of IFIs to report regularly on such disclosure and empower IAMs to verify proactively the management’s report with regular reporting to the boards. This will empower project-affected people in whose names the IAMs have been created.



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