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LJD Week 2021 | Advancing Racial Equity with International Financial Institutions' Environmental and Social Standards

November 9, 2021

Virtual | Live Broadcast & Recorded



This event has now concluded.

Session Summary

International Financial Institutions’ environmental and social standards can play a crucial role in preventing discrimination and facilitating inclusion. Through the application of environmental and social standards and risk management approaches, IFIs can support racial equity in development activities financed by them. Through their environmental and social standards and risk management frameworks, IFIs can direct institutional aims to address environmental and social risks and impacts, with an awareness of how race and ethnicity factor into these issues; they can ensure the environmental and social soundness and sustainability of projects, with the aim of protecting vulnerable racial minorities; and they can support integration of environmental and social aspects of projects into the decision-making process by all parties to promote sustainability and equity.

Key takeaways:

  • There is increasing understanding and awareness among IFIs: (i) that equality of all humans should epitomize and drive development projects; and (ii) of the need to take deliberate and proactive steps towards addressing racial equity in development. This is reflected in the adoption by IFIs of environmental and social standards that include racial considerations, and protection of vulnerable, minority and indigenous peoples’ rights.
  • There are emerging themes and commonalities among IFI’s approach to tackling racism and promoting racial equity in development projects. These include maintaining proper and accurate data; establishing mechanisms to ensure environmental justice and soundness of projects; effective project level grievance redress mechanisms; entrenching proper diversity in leadership; accountability, appraisal and monitoring of projects; and indigenous people participation in project selection, design and implementation.
  • A recognition that there is still much more to be done by IFIs both internally and with clients, and that this requires humility, collaboration, and honest commitment.


  • Speakers


    Aradhana Kumar-Capoor

    Director and General Counsel, Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency

    Aradhana Kumar-Capoor is Director and General Counsel of the Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA), the political risk insurance and credit enhancement arm of the World Bank Group. Ms. Kumar-Capoor has overall responsibility for MIGA’s Legal Affairs and Claims Group, including eligibility and deal structure, contract negotiation and drafting, dispute resolution and claims management. Ms. Kumar-Capoor previously served as Chief Advisor to the Executive Vice President & CEO of MIGA and prior to that was Chief Counsel at MIGA. Ms. Kumar-Capoor has over 30 years of experience in complex infrastructure, finance, telecom and oil, gas and mining transactions.


    Alberto Ninio

    General Counsel, Asian Infrastructure and Investment Bank

    Alberto Ninio advises the President and governance bodies of AIIB and is responsible for the legal aspects of the Bank's work. Prior to his appointment as General Counsel in January 2021, he was Director General of the Operational Services Department and led AIIB's operational support team in the areas of environment, social, procurement and financial management. Prior to joining AIIB in March 2020, Ninio served in a variety of senior roles both at the World Bank where he left as its Deputy General Counsel for Operations, and, more recently, at Vale S.A., a major multinational mining and logistics corporation based in Brazil, where he served as its Global Sustainability Director. He has law degrees from the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro and the American University in Washington DC.


    Michael Strauss

    General Counsel, European Bank for Reconstruction and Development

    Michael Strauss was appointed General Counsel at EBRD effective January 2020. In that role, Mr Strauss serves on the Executive Committee and various other committees of the Bank. Mr Strauss joined EBRD from private practice as a Partner at the Washington-based law firm Harris, Wiltshire & Grannis LLP. Prior to this, he represented the United States on the Board of the Asian Development Bank and served as a Senior Advisor covering international finance at the US Treasury. He has worked as a legal counsel in both the World Bank Group and the International Monetary Fund. He began his legal career in capital markets, mergers & acquisitions, and privatizations in the London and Paris offices of the law firm Cleary, Gottlieb, Steen & Hamilton LLP. Mr Strauss is a US national. He has a JD from Stanford Law School, a Master’s from the Fletcher School of Law & Diplomacy (where he has also taught law as an adjunct professor), and a BA from Williams College. He is admitted to the Bar in New York and Washington, DC.


    Leslie Sturtevant

    Deputy General Counsel, International Financial Corporation

    Leslie Sturtevant is the Deputy General Counsel for the IFC where she oversees the legal department’s provision of legal service to the Corporation, advises on key legal issues and legal risks arising in connection with IFC’s business and ensures IFC’s activities are consistent with its Articles of Agreement. Leslie has over 20 years of legal experience advising on international transactions. She joined IFC in 2005 and became the Global Lead for sub-national business and for AMC matters. In 2011, she was appointed Special Assistant to the Vice President and General Counsel and in 2014, became the Assistant General Counsel for Legal Practices with oversight responsibility over cross-cutting areas, including equity, mobilization, funds, trust funds, blended and climate finance, AMC, and advisory services. She has been IFC’s Deputy General Counsel since 2019.


    Victor Mosoti

    Chief Counsel, World Bank

    Victor Mosoti is the Chief Counsel in the International and Environmental Law Unit within the Legal Vice Presidency of the World Bank. Prior to this, he worked at the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization in Rome, Italy and at the Appellate Body of the World Trade Organization in Geneva, Switzerland. In his current role, he manages a team that advises the Bank on a diverse set of issues touching on international, environmental, and natural resources law issues, as well as on the legal aspects of climate change, international waterways and projects in disputed areas.


    Julius Thaler (moderator)

    Chief Counsel, Asian Infrastructure and Investment Bank

    Julius Thaler is the Chief Counsel for sovereign operations at the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB). Prior to assuming his current role, he served as Head of the Project-affected People’s Mechanism Secretariat, AIIB’s independent accountability mechanism. Before joining AIIB in 2018, he worked for over ten years as an environmental and operational lawyer at the World Bank’s legal department. He covered a wide range of country assignments in Africa and Latin America. In his role as an environmental lawyer he provided legal advice on environmental and social policy aspects with a focus on land, forestry, indigenous peoples, and climate finance.


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