WASHINGTON, August 11, 2016 – The World Bank Group issued the following statement from World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim regarding the World Bank’s Inspection Panel report of its investigation on the Uganda Transport Sector Development Project:
“The Inspection Panel has delivered to the World Bank Board its investigation report on the Uganda Transport Sector Development Project. The failures in this project have prompted us to assess all similar projects to ensure that we are upholding the principle of doing no harm. Last December, we took the highly unusual step to cancel the project before the Inspection Panel investigation was completed. We made this decision because of the seriousness of the allegations, especially concerning sexual misconduct that involved contractors hired by the Ugandan government. We informed the Board, and since then we have taken concrete actions to support the affected communities, prevent retaliation against those who raised concerns about the project, and assist the government of Uganda’s efforts to address deeply rooted social problems.
As is customary following Inspection Panel reports, the World Bank management now will prepare a thorough response to this investigation, which we will present to the Board this fall. And according to our normal procedure, both the report and response will be publicly disclosed following the Board meeting. But it has become clear to me and my senior leadership team that we must immediately take additional steps.
We are aware that the Uganda transportation project contained multiple failures. As I have promised in the past, every time we discover a failure in our implementation, oversight and monitoring responsibilities, we will do everything in our power to prevent similar failures from happening again. As an immediate step, we are in the process of creating a Global Gender-Based Violence Task Force to advise the institution on best practices for reducing risks to community safety in connection with our development projects.
The new Task Force, which will include outside experts on gender-based violence and World Bank staff, will build on existing World Bank work to tackle violence against women and girls, specifically focusing on: strengthened approaches to identifying threats and applying lessons in World Bank projects; more robust gender assessments; and improved approaches to both raising awareness and taking action to prevent gender-based violence.
We have zero tolerance for gender-based violence and the kinds of abuses that occurred in this project. Just last week, the World Bank Board passed a new Environmental and Social Framework to protect people and our environment. The timing of the conclusion of this Inspection Panel investigation, coming so close to the passage of our new safeguards, could not be more poignant for me. Our safeguards are critical and indispensable to ensure that our system works to protect the poor and the vulnerable. That is precisely why I have announced that we will significantly increase resources devoted to implementing the new framework, and why I am putting in place this new Global Gender-Based Violence Task Force.”