This year marks the 30th anniversary of the World Bank’s Inspection Panel (WBIP or Panel), created as the result of grass-roots and international pressure on the Bank to address the well-documented negative impacts on marginalised communities of the Bank-financed Narmada dam and similar projects.
The establishment of the world’s first independent accountability mechanism (IAM) at the World Bank led to the creation of similar mechanisms at nearly all international financial institutions (IFIs), with the IMF an important exception. The establishment of the WBIP and other IAMs was a step-change in accountability, as previously IFIs were only accountable to shareholders and borrowers – as opposed to communities affected by their investments. That said, at the 75th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the establishment of the international human rights system, IAMs remain severely constrained in their ability to ensure IFIs ‘do no harm’ and contribute, rather than negatively impact the ability of citizens to avail themselves of their human rights.
Vieria, Luiz, "Ending 30 years of IMF Exceptionalism: A Call for an Accountability Mechanism at the International Monetary Fund" (2024). Perspectives. 21.