The World Bank Accountability Mechanism (AM) today issued Interim Operating Procedures for its new Dispute Resolution Service (DRS), setting out the process to be followed if requesters and borrowers choose that option to settle their differences.
The procedures can be found here.
The AM, which was established by the World Bank Board of Executive Directors in 2020 and began operations in July 2021, is an independent complaints mechanism for people and communities who believe that they have been, or are likely to be, harmed by a World Bank-funded project. It houses the Inspection Panel, which was established in 1993 and carries out independent compliance reviews, and the newly created DRS, which facilitates an independent dispute resolution option for requesters and borrowers in the context of Requests for Inspection to the Panel.
“These interim procedures provide transparency and certainty for parties during the operationalization of the Dispute Resolution Service,” said Rajesh Khullar, chair of the Board’s Committee on Development Effectiveness. “They are being issued as an interim measure to allow for eligible parties to exercise this option in the period before the final AM procedures are considered by the Board.”
Under the updated Inspection Panel resolution and the resolution creating the AM, the requesters and borrowers are offered the option of dispute resolution by the AM Secretary after the Board approves a Panel recommendation to investigate a World Bank-funded project in response to a Request for Inspection.
The DRS offers the parties a voluntary opportunity to reach agreement by:
- facilitating dialogue between them in a structured and neutral manner.
- utilizing a collaborative, flexible and situation-specific approach to assist them in finding mutually satisfactory solutions to issues raised.
- facilitating the conclusion of an agreement on any issues so resolved.
The Interim Operating Procedures cover a range of issues, including the scope of the dispute resolution process, the voluntary nature and independence of the process, different dispute resolution approaches, and the timeline for the process and how it may conclude.
“The DRS interim procedures were prepared based on the Board-approved resolutions and the best practices of other independent accountability mechanisms,” said AM Secretary Orsolya Székely. “They have benefited from the input of external dispute resolution experts, as well as the observations of Inspection Panel members, Bank Management and the Bank’s Legal Department. As we work on final procedures for the AM, we welcome any feedback and input from our stakeholders.”